Oklahoma Sports Milestones: Nine former OKC minor leaguers selected to Texas Rangers' 40th anniversary All-Time Team
Steve Buechele, Jeff Russell, Ruben Sierra, Juan Gonzalez, Rusty Greer, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, Nelson Cruz and Neftali Feliz headline team.
Recognizing the people with state ties that make game days special no matter what they do:
*NINE: Players who spent significant time cutting their baseball teeth in Oklahoma City were selected to the Texas Rangers' 40th anniversary All-Time Team. The Rangers, whose Triple-A prospects were stationed in Oklahoma City from 1983-2010, received nearly 65,000 online votes from fans in May. Former 89ers or RedHawks who made the anniversary team were third baseman Steve Buechele (1984, 1985); pitcher Jeff Russell (1986); outfielder Ruben Sierra (1986, 2000, 2001); outfielder Juan Gonzalez (1990); outfielder Rusty Greer (1993, 1994); infielder Michael Young (2001); second baseman Ian Kinsler (2005); outfielder Nelson Cruz (2007, 2008); and relief pitcher Neftali Feliz (2009). Hall of Fame pitcher Fergie Jenkins made the Rangers anniversary team. He was the 89ers' pitching coach for the 1988 and 1989 seasons. Go to www.texasrangers.com to see the Rangers' complete 40th anniversary team.
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38: Single-season home run record for an Oklahoma City baseball team at the Triple-A level. It might not be too early to wonder whether RedHawks slugger Mike Hessman can break the record, set in 1965 by Dave Roberts. Hessman has 19 going into Tuesday night's game at Nashville. Staff writer Ed Godfrey noticed after Hessman hit five homers over two games at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark that teammates taped a “Babe Ruth” tag over Hessman's nameplate in the clubhouse.
“I've learned so much as a coach. Pro is a completely different animal. In pro hockey, you go in and throw a newspaper on the locker-room floor and the older guys grab the financial section, the younger guys grab the comics and all the other guys grab the sports.” — Jon Cooper, head coach of the American Hockey League champion Norfolk Admirals. Cooper, who once coached in youth leagues, is a candidate for the vacant Edmonton Oilers position. The Oilers are the parent team of the AHL Oklahoma City Barons.
*Subscribers to NFL Magazine will receive prorated refund checks through the mail. The league announced it has stopped publication after launching the monthly magazine in December 2011. The April issue, which previewed the 2012 Draft, was the last published.
*The 60th annual Cherokee National Holiday Festival is Labor Day weekend in Tahlequah, and part of the festivities include men's and women's slowpitch softball tournaments from Aug. 31 through Sept. 2. The women's field will be made up of 26 teams; the men's field will be 36 teams. Players must be members of a federally recognized tribe with the exception of four players per team. Registration fee before Aug. 10 is $175 per team. The fee increases to $200 after Aug. 10. For more registration information, call Sherwin Johnson at (918) 696-5760, Crystal Bogle at (918) 316-1940 or go to www.cherokee.org. Prizes are awarded to the top-four teams.
*Football is around the corner. Registration for fantasy leagues has started on Yahoo and NFL.com.
*NEW: Home of the Langston University softball team will be at T.G. Green Park, which is located near the NAIA school's campus. Since Langston started its softball program in 2007, the Lions have played home games at Guthrie High School. The new NCAA regulation-sized field opened Saturday with a game featuring university employees against citizens of Langston.
*RETRACING: The footsteps of his Cherokee ancestors, TsaLiDi Sequoyah, a 6-foot-9, 230-pound center, who signed to play men's basketball at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah. Sequoyah, who is from Cherokee, N.C., chose Northeastern State to major in Cherokee Studies. Tahlequah is the capital of the Cherokee Nation. “After watching him play, it was quite evident he has a lot of talent,” said RiverHawks coach Larry Gipson. Sequoyah was a North Carolina All-State pick after averaging 21.0 points, 16.9 rebounds and 4.9 blocks as a senior.
*ESPN: Televises it, so it must be sport. And with that, congrats to Oklahoma City native Austin “Gabe” Scott, who won the World Series of Poker on Friday in Las Vegas. Scott, 23, quit school at OU to begin a career as a professional poker player. After 7½ hours at the “final table,” Scott won poker's coveted gold bracelet and $361,797. He wore an Oklahoma City Thunder shirt during the championship round. More about Scott can found at www.wsop.com.