With a coaching staff and an infield in place, my All-Tee Pee Talks fantasy baseball team made up of Henry County High School players starting in 1985 is in need of catchers and outfielders.
I’ll remind everyone that I know that my team is probably leaving out some really great former Patriots. Baseball is a harder sport for me to pick because there is no record book or statistics from each season to look at. Working from memory and our archives, I have been able to put together a list of pretty good players to fill out my fantasy team.
I started with players from 1985 until present because that is the time that I have covered sports at The Post-Intelligencer.
Earlier, I announced Paul Putman as my fantasy baseball head coach with Brian Welp and Jeff Morris as assistants. My infield includes first basemen Kane Barrow and Brian Webb along with second baseman Matthew Harrison and John Raymond Hehn. The shorstops are Doug Barner and Shane Kemp with Richard “Soup” Raymer and Blair Gardner playing third base.
Speaking of Barner, yesterday’s photograph that I identified as being him from the early 1990s may have actually been another Patriot Chad Williams according to some readers. It was in an old folder with Barner’s name with no other information. There aren’t many archive things around but I found it in an old file cabinet. Must have been filed wrong at some point.
Now I’ll introduce my catchers and outfielders. There are no shortage of possibilities at these positions. There have been so many stellar center fielders that some of them are going to shift to corner spots for my team.
COLLEGES LOVE PATS CATCHERS
There have been some really great catchers for the Patriots through the years like Gatlin Primrose and Craig Barrow. Early on, Tas Gardner was catching for the Patriots before going to the University of Tennessee at Martin while Jamie Moseley came a little later and would go on to play at Union University.
My starter is going to be Josh Archer, who in 2001 was the District 10-AAA Most Valuable Player. A big player with a strong arm behind the plate and a true power bat when he hit, Archer went on to be drafted by the San Diego Padres but opted to play in college at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro.
I’m going to back him up with an early 1990s Patriot in John David Olive. Olive hit well and did everything you wanted a catcher to do behind the plate. He played in college at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville.
ATHLETICS SIGNED MCDONALD
My right fielder is going to be Dock McDonald. In the early 1990s, McDonald showed off a strong right arm whether pitching for the Patriots or playing in the outfield. He had great speed and some power that he took to Columbia State Community College before moving on to play in the minor leagues in the Oakland Athletics farm system.
I’m going to move Woody Winchester over from center field to back up McDonald. Winchester is another great athlete who can run the ball down and has a strong arm. He went on to play in college at Murray State University.
Among the other outfielders I considered for a spot here were Rob Nichols from the late 1980s and Nathaniel Hoffman who shared the district’s MVP award in 1998.
SMITH MADE COLLEGE WORLD SERIES
If Lance Smith was good enough to start in the outfield for the Tennessee Volunteers in the College World Series, then he is good enough to play center field for me. Smith had great speed and played with a lot of energy. He was a true leadoff-type hitter who loved to disrupt another team’s defense.
Terrence McClain is going to be my other center fielder. McClain was a smooth player who had all five tools in baseball — speed, power, hitting for average, fielding and arm strength. He played in college first at Lipscomb University and finished up at Trevecca Nazarene, both in Nashville.
As I said earlier, Winchester, Nichols and Hoffman all spent time in center field for the Patriots. Another player who could run it down in the middle of the outfield and hit the ball was Rob Markum in the early 1990s.
PLAYING LEFT FIELD ARE …
That leaves Jordan Beddies and Ron Harrison to be my left fielders. Both saw extensive action in center field when they played for the Patriots.
Beddies will get the starting nod with his strong bat and arm. He went on to play at MTSU and professionally in independent leagues after high school. He played on one independent team that won a World Series title.
Harrison joins his brother Matthew on this squad and another brother, Steven, was strongly considered. Ron Harrison had speed to burn and smacked line drives around the field well enough to earn playing time at UTM in college.
Another really good choice would have been slugger Shannon Bethune from the mid-1990s. In the early 2000s, Marquis Dumas could have been a pick as either a catcher or an outfielder. Another Patriot who could catch or play in the outfield was early 1990s standout Paul Hessing.
PITCHERS WILL COME UP NEXT
So my six outfielders are Dock McDonald, Woody Winchester, Lance Smith, Terrence McClain, Jordan Beddies and Ron Harrison. I listed my infielders earlier, so I’m going to have to put some time into picking a pitching staff for my next column.
That may be the hardest part — to whittle the list down to four or five starters and a couple of relievers. There are so many choices that I know pitching isn’t going to slow this team down.
Go Big Red!
TOMMY PRIDDY is a Paris native who has been sports editor at The Post-Intelligencer since 1985. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.