Dennis Wiseman is right on schedule.
Wiseman, the former Old Mill High star right-handed pitcher who went on to rewrite the record book at Florida International University, has made the St. Louis Cardinals' Class AA farm team, the Arkansas Travelers of the Texas League.
Last summer, the 23-year-old, 6-foot-4, 195-pound Wiseman pitchedhis second year of professional baseball in the Redbirds' organization at the Class A level. He started in Springfield, Ill. and finishedat St. Petersburg, Fla., with an overall record of 13-6, including a9-3 effort at the higher A affiliate with St. Pete of the tough Florida State League.
Wiseman's ERA was 2.63 at St. Pete, 11th best inthe Florida State League. Overall for his two stops, he posted an ERA of 2.66. He was hoping those numbers would earn him a spot with theCardinals' AA club this spring..
"I'm here," a joyful Wiseman said yesterday from Shreveport, La., where the Travelers were scheduled to play a five-game series before the rain hit.
"I was scheduled to pitch the third game today (Sunday), but my start has been moved back because we got rained out all this weekend. Now it looks like I will pitch later this week in Tulsa, Oklahoma."
Teams in the Texas League play five- to six-game series, so the stops last almost a week at somecities. Wiseman says that playing Texas style, the Travelers won't be home in Little Rock, Ark., until Monday, April 22.
"I had a good spring training at the minor league camp and made the AA club,as I had hoped," he said. "I gave up two runs my first three innings, but only one run in four innings of my second start, and the guy who coached me at St. Pete is now my manager with Arkansas. That alwayshelps."
It sure does when you're facing tough competition to climb the ladder to the big show. Class AA ball is two steps from the bigleagues, but it's not uncommon for major league clubs to pluck a guyright out of AA and bypass the AAA team.
Wiseman was just a 30th-round draft choice of the Cardinals out of Florida International in June 1989. But he's one of those guys who believes in himself and works harder than most. Usually, guys drafted that late don't last more than a year or two before being handed a pink slip and the words, 'Nice job kid. Good luck in the future.'
Not so with the Old Mill redhead who pitched rookie ball his first summer and was promoted to A ball last year.
His success has been somewhat of a surprise, but club officials have begun to notice him and now he faces his stiffest challenge at Arkansas.
"Four of the guys on the pitching staff with me are highly regarded because they were all high draft picks," Wiseman said. "But it helps that Joe (Pettini) is my manager. He knows howI pitch and how I will do over the course of a season."
Pettini played with the San Francisco Giants for four years and was in the minor league systems of both the Cardinals and Montreal Expos before retiring at age 33 after the 1986 season. He coached for a year at the Redbirds' AAA affiliate in Louisville, which Wiseman hopes will be hisnext stop.
But whether he makes it or not, Wiseman is a well-prepared young man with his head screwed on straight. During the off seasons in the last few years, he studied to get his law enforcement degree, and is ready for life after baseball.
Hopefully that life won't begin for a while as Wiseman stays on schedule to making it to the big show at Busch Stadium, St. Louis, home of the Cardinals.
Someone else with a bright future is Glen Burnie High's KimMyers, our 1990All-County Girls' Soccer goalie and the county's all-time leader with 464 career saves. Myers signed a letter of intent and received a scholarship to Rutgers University in New Brunswick, N.J.
Her mother,Barbara, said that Kim received a part soccer and part academic scholarship to Rutgers. Kim has a 3.90 grade-point average. Her academic portion of the scholarship is paid by the college's School of Engineering.
"They said she was the first soccer player at Rutgers to receive a scholarship from the school of Engineering," said Kim's proud mom.
Myers, who had 148 saves this past fall for the Gophers as a repeater on our All-County team, was a member of the Maryland State Olympic Development Region I team and ranked as one of the top eight goalies on the East Coast.
She led the Harford United Soccer team (Harford County) to State Cup championships in 1988, 1989 and 1990. "Soccer America" magazine ranked her No. 2 on the East Coast and No. 4 in the country in 1989.
Her Maryland State Olympic Development coach, Mike Curry, says Kim "always displays an inspirational, never-give-up attitude, and has the desire to set big goals and to meet them."
In addition to being a premier goalie, Kim also is president of the senior class, a member of the National Honor Society and ranked third in a class of 346 at Glen Burnie.