Former Southern California College pitcher Jim Dedrick was among five players suspended and fined on Wednesday by the Class-A Midwest League for a prank they apparently hoped would cause the cancellation of a doubleheader Monday in South Bend, Ind.
The players--Dedrick, pitchers John Boothby and Kip Yaughn, catcher Jimmy Roso and shortstop Brad Hildreth--are all members of the Wausau (Wis.) Timbers, a Baltimore Orioles’ affiliate, and were suspended for the remainder of the season, which ends Aug. 29, and for 10 games of the 1991 season.
Midwest League President George Spelius also prohibited the five from playing in instructional leagues in the fall. The players’ fines were not disclosed.
The incident, which has been compared to a scene from the movie “Bull Durham,” occurred Sunday night in South Bend, the night before a scheduled doubleheader between the South Bend White Sox and the Timbers.
The players rolled back the infield tarpaulin during a rainstorm, apparently hoping the field would be too drenched for the teams to play Monday.
But the groundskeepers were able to prepare the field in time for the games, and the teams split the doubleheader in front of 4,200 at Coveleski Stadium.
Doug Melvin, the Orioles’ director of player personnel, said when he heard about the incident, he immediately suspended four of the players for the remainder of the season and released the other, Boothby. However, Melvin said the Orioles may appeal the 1991 portion of the suspension.
“I hope they have learned something from this incident,” Melvin said. “I think it’s something that a lot of people will have fun with, but from our position it’s a serious matter.”
Although he said he believed the players weren’t intending to be malicious, Spelius said the league took the incident seriously because it would have cost the White Sox $20,000-$25,000 if the doubleheader had been cancelled.
“Somewhere down the line, two or three years down the road, we’ll probably smile a bit,” Spelius said. “But now the smile comes harder when you think of what could have happened.”
Reached at his parents’ house in Huntington Beach, Dedrick declined to comment. Dedrick, a Huntington Beach High School graduate who also played at Orange Coast College, was picked in the 33rd round of the amateur draft in June. He went 9-4 with 2.03 earned-run average in his senior season at Southern California College.
Soon after his arrival at Wausau in June, Dedrick injured his elbow and underwent surgery. In 10 innings over three games, he had an 0-1 record with a 2.70 ERA. He had been on the disabled list since the surgery and was expected to remain there through the season’s end.