Saturday, November 28, 2009
Billy Owens, 1993 Classic Minor League #85
If you actually remember Billy Owens - or the Albany Polecats - you deserve a hearty pat on the back. Owens was a first baseman, drafted in the 3rd round of the 1992 draft by the O's. He had a strong frame (6'1", 210 lbs.), but never hit for much power, peaking with 17 home runs and 27 doubles. His best season was his second as a pro, the 1993 campaign depicted on this card. He spent much of the year at Albany, GA, in the class A South Atlantic ("Sally") League. That year, Owens hit .297 for the Polecats (yes, their mascot was a skunk) while reaching base at a .365 clip. Two years later, he drove in 91 runs in 122 games at AA Bowie, but couldn't transfer that success to AAA Rochester and wound up being cut loose from the Baltimore organization at age 25. He bounced around the Astros farm system for two more years before hanging up his spikes. Billy actually appears in the narrative of Michael Lewis' book Moneyball as one of Athletics GM Billy Beane's scouts. He seems to have a laid-back, slightly bemused attitude, going along to get along. It seems like the right approach to take with a boss as mercurial and competitive as Beane.