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Con Man Uses Phil Plantier’s Name in Scam

It had to happen sooner or later, right?

Former Poway High outfielder Phil Plantier was promoted from triple-A Pawtucket, R.I., to the Boston Red Sox last fall. He was a good-looking prospect . . . perhaps too good-looking.

Plantier, 22, soon became an innocent victim in a sleazy and bizarre case of deceit, deception and sex.

A slightly overweight and balding man, whose real identity is Kevin Winn, 25, is currently serving an 18-month prison sentence in Connecticut for larceny and forgery in a stolen-check scam. Those were the charges that stuck after Winn was additionally accused of impersonating at least a dozen professional athletes, including Plantier.

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For at least three years, until his arrest in November in Connecticut, Winn managed to convince hundreds of women that he was a certain professional athlete. Winn would then con the women into giving him sex and gifts, and he often stole money and personal items from them.

Winn usually posed as a hockey player, a backup baseball catcher or a rising star--someone whose face is normally behind a helmet or mask or someone who would not be easily recognized by a woman in a bar, where most of Winn’s escapades were initiated.

In an article in the July, 1991, issue of GQ magazine, Winn said he impersonated Seattle Mariner catcher Scott Bradley because, even in a sports-crazy town like Boston, “nobody knows who played for the Seattle Mariners.”

Enter Plantier, who was not yet a star in Boston and has since shuttled between Pawtucket and Boston three times this season.

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Though a victim, Plantier said on Tuesday that he was never questioned about the case.

“The first time I heard or saw anything about it was on “A Current Affair” (in December),” Plantier said. “I just happened to be watching, and the next thing I know, my mug’s on TV.”

Plantier said it upset him at first. He wondered whether someone was out to get him or whether some unknowing woman in Boston is still waiting to hear from him.

“More than anything,” Plantier said, “I was hoping (Winn) didn’t do or say something that would irreparably damage my name in New England.”

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Apparently, he didn’t. Plantier and his wife, Jennifer, were married in February.

You Can Look It Up: Pawtucket’s Rick Lancellotti, who spent the majority of his 32-game, major-league career with the Padres in 1982, is the active minor-league home run leader. Including 17 this season, he has 272.

Lancellotti might be the minors’ all-time leader as well, but such records are not available, according to Bill Wanless, Pawtucket’s public relations director.

“We believe he is,” Wanless said. “But we don’t really have the resources to check all the minor league books over the years. There could have been some guy in 1912 that played for 20 years and hit more. You never know.”

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Still, Lancellotti has made only three cameo appearances in the big leagues. If not for hitting back-to-back pinch homers for San Francisco in 1986, he would have zero big league homers.

During his 15 years in professional baseball, Lancellotti has played for 16 teams. Before being named the most valuable player for Pawtucket in 1989, Lancellotti played for two years in Japan and hit 58 home runs.

Timing seems to have been a life-long problem for Lancellotti, who turned 34 on July 5. But he is hoping to change that.

Due out next spring, Lancellotti is writing a book about life in the minor leagues. Its title: The Journeyman.

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Rough Year: Jeff Grotewald set a couple of dubious team records this season at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Philadelphia’s triple-A club in Pennsylvania.

Grotewald, a former catcher at the University of San Diego and the Phillies’ minor-league player of the year in 1990, has been suspended twice this season for fighting. His latest suspension was for five games.

In his defense, Grotewald, 6 feet and 220 pounds, said he was merely trying to protect his pitcher. Both incidents began when an opposing batter charged the mound while Grotewald was catching.

Perhaps Grotewald should be a little more cautious. He already has spent six weeks on the disabled list this season for injuries to both hamstrings.

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Here’s a Switch: In the same game last week, El Paso leadoff hitter Dave Jacas (University of San Diego) hit a tape-measure home run over the left-center field fence, and No. 3 hitter Jim Tatum (Santana High) had an inside-the-park homer.

In 123 games, Tatum has 19 home runs and 125 RBIs. With seven games left, he needs seven more RBIs to tie El Paso’s single-season record, held by Billy Jo Robidoux in 1985. However, teammate John Jaha has 127 RBIs.

Soaring Eagles: In his 15 years as baseball coach at Granite Hills High, Gordy Thompson says he’s had 20 or 21 players sign professional contracts. None of them have played in the major leagues, but he’s hoping that will change in the next couple of years. A number of former Eagles are having promising seasons in Class A this summer.

--Frank Carey is hitting .282 with 36 RBIs and 12 stolen bases for the San Jose Giants. At second base, Carey has been a big reason the team has the best overall record in the California League.

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“I’m sure he’s doing things for them that he always did for me,” Thompson said. “I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone as mentally tough as Frank was.”

--With a .318 average, Kinston Indian outfielder Brian Giles is second in the Carolina League. Giles also has 44 RBIs and 18 stolen bases.

--Outfielder Shane Spencer started the season in rookie ball. But after hitting .306 with 30 RBIs in 41 games at Tampa, Spencer was promoted earlier this month to Oneonta, N.Y., in the Yankees’ system. There, he is hitting .270.

--A former No. 2 draft choice, Don Carroll spent his first two years in the Dodgers’ chain as an outfielder. Since switching to pitcher last year, he has impressed Dodger coaches at Yakima, Wash., despite a 3-5 mark and a 4.10 ERA in 13 starts.

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--Pitcher Dan Nerat has gone 7-2 with two saves in his first pro season for Southern Oregon, an Oakland Class A affiliate.


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