Neagle Proves His Gun Is Major-league Caliber

SIDELINES

Pitches Three Strong Innings In All-star Game

July 12, 1991|By Pat O'Malley

Within the last couple of days, I've learned a few things that surprised me.

While watching the Triple A Alliance All-Star baseball game on Home Team Sports Wednesday, I found out that Gambrills is in Prince George's County.

The next day I learned that Max Kisner is serious about getting back into the boxing business, when most of us thought he had been KO'd for good.

Let's look at the geography revelation first.

Former Arundel High star left-hander Denny Neagle, who has gone on to starat the University of Minnesota and in the Minnesota Twins farm system, started the Triple A Alliance All-Star game, which was telecast live from Louisville, Ky.

The play-by-play man said Neagle was from "Gambrills, Maryland, a suburb of Prince George's County."

I didn't realize that the Arundel High community had moved and been annexed by Prince George's.

But all kidding aside, when Neagle makes it tothe big show, and I believe he will, I'm sure people across the country will learn that Gambrills is in Anne Arundel County.

Neagle, who won 20 games combined at the AA and A level last year and is currently 31-8 overall in his pro career, started for the American League All-Stars Wednesday. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound left-hander was impressive in the three innings he worked.

The 22-year-old only gave up one run and four hits (three were doubles), didn't walk a batter, struck out three and left with his side winning, 3-1.

The top players in AAA baseball, which is just one step from the majors, from the International, American Association and the Pacific Coast leagues were selected for the game.

Taking the hill in Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, home of the St. Louis Cardinals' AAA club, Neagle got his firstman on a tapper to third, but then gave up a double and single.

After getting the next hitter to sky to short center with runners on second and third, Neagle bounced one in the dirt, but catcher Bob McIntosh pounced on it and tossed to Neagle, who tagged out the runner trying to score for the final out.

In the second inning after his team scored three runs, Neagle gave up a double, struck out a batter and then gave up the run on another two-bagger to right field. After striking out another batter, the inning ended with a runner thrown out at third attempting to steal.

Neagle's best inning was his last, as the classy southpaw was very sharp with all his pitches. He struck out the first batter on a nifty breaking pitch down and away. Retiring the side in order, Neagle got the next two guys on weak grounders and left with his team leading, 3-1.

Going into the game, Neagle had an 8-2 record with an ERA of 2.98 for the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League and was second in strikeouts with 79 in 87 2/3 innings and had only 28 walks.

Neagle, who was the Anne Arundel County Sun Player of the Year in 1986, was drafted and signed a lucrativecontract after his junior year at the University of Minnesota.

Ifyou had not seen him since his high school days at Arundel, or possibly with the Johnny's 20-and-under team a couple of years ago, and saw him Wednesday night on HTS, I'm sure you would say, "Wow!"

Neagle has gone from being a tall, lean string bean of a left-hander to a broad-shouldered 200-pounder. A weight program at the University of Minnesota has done wonders, and couple that with his natural ability and what he learned under Arundel coach Bernie Walter and in college, you can see why this young man is only a phone call from the majors.

After watching him pitch Wednesday night, I am convinced he can pitch in the big leagues and will before this current season is over. He can run his fastball up there in the high 80s, has an excellent breaking pitch and change and looks to be throwing a slider.

Who knows, before this season is over, Neagle may come up and help the Twins win the West Division.

*

One other baseball note before moving on to Kisner and boxing.

Apparently the shoulder injury suffered by Glen Burnie's David Tripp that resulted in his recent release by the Oakland A's is more serious than first thought.

Tripp, a former standout player at Mount St. Joseph High in Baltimore and at Clemson University (S.C.), signed last year with the A's and pitched very well. Reportedly, he started off this season throwing well but developeda shoulder problem in his right arm.

That led to extensive surgery, more intensified than first thought. Apparently, it was some sort of a buildup that led to the career-threatening injury.

Tripp, a free agent at age 22, will take off the rest of the summer and is optimistic he will be back somewhere next year.

Tripp will undergo an intense rehab program, which the A's are paying for.

*

Kisner, the former boxing promoter from Brooklyn Park, who started the dinnerand boxing shows at LaFontaine Bleu several years ago, is back in the ring.

Canceled shows because of out-of-town fighters who didn't show up led to total frustration and bankruptcy for Kisner.

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