Monday, April 22, 2019

Laser, Focused - 1993 Topps All-Star Rookie Third Baseman Mike Lansing

I learned something new today! Mike Lansing was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 9th Round of the 1989 draft, but opted to return to college at Wichita State for another year. Here comes the crazy part - in 1990, Lansing was drafted by the Miami Miracle in the 6th Round of the 1990 MLB draft. What? Was the Miami Miracle just a name being used by the Marlins before they started with their official MLB games? Nope. The Miracle were an independent Minor League team. Major league baseball's rules allowed minor league clubs to participate in the June amateur draft, for some reason. In 1990, it was the Erie Sailors of the NY-Penn League and the Miracle, both Class-A teams making selections out from under the noses of the MLB clubs. The Miracle actually made 16 selections in the 1990 Draft and signed 15 players- the best known was Mike Lansing.

In his 2nd season in Miami, Lansing stole 29 bases and hit close to .300. As the Miracle were winding down their operations (they later relocated to Ft. Myers and are the Twins' high A affiliate now) in 1991, they sold off as many of their players as they could. Lansing was the biggest prize, a slick fielding and speedy middle infield prospect with a little bit of pop in his bat. The Expos jumped at the chance to add Lansing, and he spent 1992 with AA Harrisburg.

Lansing would have a fantastic rookie campaign in 1993, hitting .287 and stealing 23 bases. He played all over the infield, Topps gave him the nod as the All-Star Rookie squad's 3rd Baseman. He had a slow first half in 1994, but starting in June of that year, Lansing tapped into his potential and started to spray the ball all over the field. Each season would bring a different milestone - career high in steals in 1995, career highs in runs scored (99) and hits (185) in '96. Then in his final season in Montreal, he put it all together.

Lansing smashed career highs of 45 doubles, 20 homers, and drove in 70 runs for the Expos, while hitting .281. Lansing was the right mold of player to help out in Colorado, and certainly the thought was that playing at altitude would only improve on those career numbers. The Rockies gave up Jake Westbrook and a pair of other minor league prospects to get him.

While he didn't hit 20 homers again in Colorado, he did have his share of highlights, including the very first Rockies hit at Coors Field.

A serious back injury in 1999 ended what was a promising start - he was hitting .310 after his first 35 games.

In 2000, Lansing would come back with a strong season, and even hit for the cycle:

He was traded again mid-season in 2000 to the Boston Red Sox, his name being the biggest of the seven player group with three Rockies heading to Beantown and two pairs of Sox coming back in the deal. He'd play a full season in Boston in 2001, a year with Cleveland's AAA team in 2002, and retire following another back injury. Originally from Casper, Wyoming, Lansing is still active in the Colorado area often providing interviews for the local Rockies coverage.

1 comment:

  1. First Rockies hit at Coors! That's a great tidbit I didn't know, thanks!