We recently learned that Cooperstown native and professional baseball player Phillip Pohl was promoted to the AAA farm team of the Oakland Athletics where he played for nearly a month. For those that don’t know, AAA is the highest minor league before reaching the major leagues.
Pohl, who graduated from Cooperstown High School in 2008, attended Clemson University after being named Gatorade’s New York State Player of the Year. After finishing his studies at Clemson in 2012 he has been pursuing his dream of playing in the major leagues.
Pohl is back at single A now, with the Beloit Snappers, but his promotion made me think of him while I was reading a book we have in the library called, “Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball,” by John Feinstein. Feinstein is such a talented writer he could write a book about the intricacies of lawn bowling and make it entertaining. His discussion of the drab and unglamorous life of the minor leagues is both fascinating and illuminating.
Feinstein writes about the 2012 season at the AAA level. He focuses on six players, two managers, and one umpire even though he mentions many other baseball and non-baseball personalities as he moves through the season. He talked at length with Jamie Farr, the actor who portrayed Max Klinger on M*A*S*H, and his devotion to his hometown minor league team, the Toledo Mudhens. Farr made the Mudhens famous by wearing their cap and uniform on the TV show.
None of the players Feinstein covers are up-and-comers but you may still have heard of some of them. They are former big leaguers who are back in the minors either because they are too injury prone or can’t hit major league pitching consistently. They are the ones looking for another opportunity to prove themselves.