The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on June 16, 1987 · Page 52
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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · Page 52

Cincinnati, Ohio
Issue Date:
Tuesday, June 16, 1987
Page 52
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EXTRA 12 THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRERTuesdav. June 16, 1987 SOOTHE Midland team's family ties breed success Philosophy of togetherness helps develop top players BY TERRY FLYNN The Cincinnati Enquirer Larry Redwine emphasizes the family approach to coaching baseball. He treats his players as though they were his sons, and he wants them to get along like brothers. According to the members of the Midland Cardinals, the team of 15 and 16 year olds Redwine has coached for three years, the system works. Pitcher Dave Burgin attends Western Hills High School, and he the only west sider on the Cardinals' roster. But he certainly doesn't feel out of place on a squad comprised mostly of kids from east of Vine Street. "Midland has the reputation," the 15-year-old Burgin said. "I saw it as a chance for a big change from Knothole baseball. Midland teams play a lot more games, and we play top teams from other parts of the country." As an example, Burgin mentioned a tournament in Nashville, Tenn., July 6-11. "We play 12 games, two games a day," he said. The Cardinals regularly play 70 or n'idre games a season. The Cardinals' record would seem to bear out Redwine's belief that togetherness makes a stronger team. Last year the Cardinals finished their season in the Mickey Mantle League with a 61-9 record, a regional title and a third-place league World Series finish. "Any team I coach, I try to build the family idea," said Redwine, who also coaches the Xavier University baseball team. "But these kids (Cardinals) make it easy." The Cardinals are part of the Midland baseball program which features four amateur teams with players ranging from 15 to 18. The Indians and Cardinals have 15- and 16-year-old players; the Braves are 17 years old; and the Redskins are primarily 18 years old. Midland is synonymous with successful amateur baseball teams in Greater Cincinnati. Sponsored by the Midland Company, the program's heart and soul is Midland board chairman Joe Hayden. "Joe Hayden gives a lot of money every year not just to the Midland teams, but to numerous inner city baseball programs and a great many soccer teams," Redwine said. "He (Hayden) just loves kids," Redwine continued. "He believes kids are our greatest resource and he tries to keep them active through athletics." Clint Patton, a 16-year-old sec-on"d basemanshortstop from Wyoming High School, said one of Mid land's major attractions for the area's top amateur baseball talent is the first-class treatment they receive. "We travel a lot, and we don't have to pay for everything," he said. Burgin mentioned that the Midland schedule did not interfere with high school baseball. "Even if you go to the state tournament, you can join (the Cardinals) after the high school season," he said. The Midland program is a seemingly bottomless well of baseball talent, both for professional and college baseball. "There are over 100 kids who have been drafted by professional baseball since the Midland teams started about 18 years ago," Redwine said. Current major leaguers who played for Midland teams are the Reds' Ron Oester, Houston's Bill Doran, Charlie Leibrandt of Kansas City and the White Sox' Rich Dotson. A member of last year's Redskins, who captured their third straight Mickey Mantle League World Series, was Ken Griffey Jr., just taken as the No. 1 pick in the pro draft by Seattle. "There are hundreds of Midland players who have gone on to play college baseball," Redwine said. "Hayden makes every effort to place all of the Midland kids in college. Of course, that doesn't always work, but a great many players do go to college." There are no tryouts for Midland teams. Coaches like Redwine and Hayden are familiar with all the top high school players in the area, and they are always checking out new prospects each year. "Certain areas are committed to Midland, and we know we'll get kids from those areas," Redwine said. "And people contact us about kids they think should play for Midland." Redwine gets plenty of help from his three assistant coaches Mark Hopkins, Mike Montgomery and Bill Grimes. All four are definitely favorites with the players. "We're relaxed," said Withrow High School student Stuart McMillan. "We're not worried about making a mistake, and we go for the big plays. It's not like when you're in Knothole or high school ball." "The coaches understand," chimed in Withrow teammate Mike Hill. "As long as you give 110, they'll work with you and not get all over you about a mistake." Naturally. It's just one big family. ffi' mm fw r - - . i 4 t: c v . X Jin s ' -c, v. - i4 V A ?$ Midland team member Dave Burgin warms up his pitching arm before a recent game. The only west sider player for the Cardinals, Burgin was attracted by the reputation of Midland and the large volume of games scheduled for the team. ! Vf. V (, :; &M Am..., . s.-v, f fe;-:i Coach Larry Redwine leads a pregame prayer as he is surrounded by I . . .'1L 44 n I I 4,!l . learn Tinisnea us season wiui aoi wwpa -mm .,....,,,.., if i " mm i wjp u ji ' m '5 V , ir n : ' s . ,. - a rccuru, a reyiondi uxie ana a mira-piace r-. The Cincinnati EnquirerJohn Samora his Midland players. Last vear the 1 . . . . . . league World Series finish. . N ...... .. I

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