Saturday, May 17, 2008

A trip back to 1985...

Part 2:

Part 3

This is the actual play by play call of the end of the Stars' SL Championship victory over the Charlotte Orioles. Rick Davis was the announcer for WFIX Huntsville and WFMH Cullman.

1985 Huntsville Stars 78 - 66

Southern League baseball came to Huntsville in 1985 with the Stars winning the league championship in their first season. The team had several stars, the first of which was Southern League MVP Jose Canseco. "Jose Parkway" hit .318 with 25 homers and 80 RBI's in just 58 games before being called up to Tacoma and then Oakland. 1B Rob Nelson led the team with 32 homers, still a franchise single season record, and 98 RBI. Stan Javier stole 61 bases and scored 105 runs, Luis Polonia hit 18 triples and scored 82 runs, and Terry Steinbach hit .272 and had 72 RBI.

The pitching staff included Tim Belcher (led the team with 11 wins), Todd Burns, who only made 4 starts but was 3 - 1 with a 1.19 era, Wayne Giddings (49 games, 12 saves), Pete Kendrick (6-4 but with 5 complete games and 2.45 era), Eric Plunk (8-2), Greg Cadaret, and Bill Mooneyham (2-1, 1.98).

But it was Rocky Coyle (.282-5-25) who won the hearts of all Stars fans with his charisma and hustling style of play, and it was Rocky Coyle who hit a solo home run in the 9th inning of the 5th and deciding game of the Southern League championship series, giving the franchise it's first league title.



Team page on

I have been a Stars fan since their inception in 1985. My Dad and I hoped Huntsville would get a minor league team throughout my childhood years. When it finally happened, Dad bought us season tickets the first few summers.

The Stars have quite a history, all of which is documented on the excellent "Baseball Cube" website. Anything you want to know about the Stars' history can be found there.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Southbound, headed for a wreck

Recently as I drove north up the interstate I heard on the radio that there was a terrible wreck involving two trucks to my south. The announcer was advising southbound travelers that they should exit and detour to keep from being stuck in traffic. All southbound traffic was halted and being rerouted by law enforcement. As I continued northbound I saw numerous vehicles in the southbound lane. Most of them were unaware that they were just a few miles away from a traffic jam that would change the course of their day. Some of them would likely be stranded for hours. I saw 18-wheelers who were on a strict time schedule. There were probably people going to work, doctor appointments, visiting family, going to the beach, job interviews, classes, and many other things. Many of these people would be late, miss opportunities, lose money, and have disappointments due to the terrible accident that happened a few miles in front of them. That is to say nothing about the impact the accident had on the people involved in it directly.

One thing most, if not all of these folks had in common was that they were clueless. They had no idea that they were going down the “wrong” road. As I drove northward, part of me wanted to pull over and make a sign and hold it up to the people heading south to warn them of the impending problem so that they would turn around and find a better route. I felt so helpless not being able to do anything about it. Then I thought about this as a metaphor about life. As a Bible-believing Christian, I know from God’s Word that there is one any only one road that leads to heaven. That “road” is Jesus Christ. In John 14:6, He said, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The road of life is like an interstate. There are lanes going to heaven and lanes headed toward hell. There are not as many on the road to heaven. Those of us on that road are there by the grace of almighty God. We may get out of our lane, take an exit, or get temporarily stalled on the side of the road. But, fortunately, we are going the right way. Our destination is sure and it will be awesome beyond our wildest imagination.

On the other hand, as we are on the road to heaven, we see many more “cars” heading south. Most of these people do not know what a terrible outcome awaits them. Some know but do not care. Some refuse to believe. Many are good people that are just going the wrong direction. The thing is, those of us that know we are on the right road never should forget that we have a responsibility to inform as many people as we can about the road conditions and show them the right way to go. To me this is one of the most difficult parts of being a Christian.

In what is commonly known as “The Great Commission”, Jesus said to His Disciples in Matthew 28, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Those of us heading north are supposed to proclaim and teach others about how to head “north” on life’s highway. We see people whom we know do not believe in Christ. We are unsure about where many others we know may stand. But if we know they are on the road to hell, or even think that they might be, is it not our duty and obligation to find ways of letting them know so that they will have an opportunity to avoid such peril? Of course it is. Logic dictates that but even more importantly Christ commands it.

I must confess I often feel like a failure at doing my part to fulfill the Great Commission. I have a tendency to be shy. I have a tendency to keep some matters private. I don’t like to offend people by telling them they are headed down the wrong road. I like to avoid confrontation and I try not to be too quick to judge. I am not creative in the way I communicate. I am not always as “full of the Holy Spirit” as I should be nor am I motivated by compassion and concern for the lost as I should be. Having said that, I have on many occasions and in many ways shared the “Good News” of salvation through Christ with others. I have usually and mostly lived a life reflective of what God has done. I suppose the fact that I am concerned enough to write this post indicates that I struggle with this and would like everyone to know God’s Way. I often pray for people, but not as often as I should.

One thing I do fairly often is think back to how some special people in my life saw me going south about 22 years ago. They gave me their unsolicited, but desperately needed time, energy, and attention. They listened to my arguments. They were patient and gave me the time and space to make my own decision. They framed the question so well that I knew the choice that I faced; that we all face. They suggested the place to go for the answer; the Holy Bible. God did the rest! I am very thankful they allowed themselves to be used in that way for my eternal benefit.

There are many reasons we should show people how to head north. Compassion, gratefulness, and the fact that God commands it all come to mind. In Mark 8:36, Jesus asked, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Doesn’t that sum it all up? We do so many things and are involved in so many activities. We read, we watch TV, we entertain ourselves. We spend our lives working, playing, and even helping other people. None of these things are necessarily evil or bad. But how much time and energy do we spend trying to help people turn around and head north? I can only answer for myself. I confess that I do not do it nearly enough.