Battery mates Matt Drews and Adam Melhuse may never be compared with such Hall-of-Famers as Nolan Ryan or Johnny Bench.
But then again . . .
Regardless of what their future holds, minor league all-stars Dan Held and Bubba Trammell share a bond with major league superstars Roger Clemens and Cal Ripken Jr. All of the aforementioned players _ and plenty more _ have dotted Florida State League rosters.
The list of greats who got their start in the 76-year-old Class A league includes Stan Musial, Rod Carew and Pete Rose, to name a few. Some former FSL players _ Tony La Russa, Felipe Alou and Jim Leyland _ went on to make their marks as managers. One FSL alumnus even had a ballpark named after him. The disbanded Tampa Tarpons played at Al Lopez Stadium, which was razed in 1988.
Today's stars, bidding to one day become major leaguers, will be showcased tonight in the 34th FSL All-Star game in Port Charlotte. Game time, which follows a series of hitting and throwing contests at 6,026-seat Charlotte County Stadium, is 7 p.m.
"It's a unique opportunity to see the major league players of tomorrow in one place at one time," Port Charlotte general manager Tim Murphy said.
Port Charlotte, the Texas Rangers' affiliate, which joined the Class A league in 1987, is hosting its first all-star game. Similarly, The Ballpark in Arlington, 2-year-old home of the major league Rangers, is hosting its first all-star game on July 11.
The Tampa Bay area will be well-represented in the FSL game with 16 players from the Tampa Yankees, first-half champions of the Western Division, Clearwater Phillies, Dunedin Blue Jays and St. Petersburg Cardinals.
Although all four teams play in the West, the Yankees and Blue Jays will be part of the FSL's American League contingent while the Phillies and Cardinals will represent the National League.
The Yankees' Jake Gibbs is the AL All-Star manager and Dave Trembley of Daytona will manage the NL All-Stars.
Below is a statistical look at ballplayers selected from local FSL teams:
Yankees: P Matt Drews, 8-4, 3.34 ERA, 75 Ks; P Marty Janzen, 9-2, 2.41 ERA, 84 Ks; P Mark Hubbard, 4-3, 1.97 ERA; P Dan Rios, 14 Saves; C Jaime Torres, .224, 3 HR, 25 RBI; 3rd Kurt Bierek, .265, 4 HR, 34 RBI, 31 Runs; OF Shane Spencer, .296, 8 HR, 48 RBI, 53 Runs, 81 Hits.
Phillies: C Robert Estalella, .248, 8 HR, 30 RBI, 37 Runs; 1st Dan Held, .263, 19 2B, 11 HR, 44 RBI; OF Wendell Magee, .343, 95 Hits, 29 RBI, 45 Runs.
Blue Jays: C Adam Melhuse, .227, 2 HR, 30 RBI; 2nd Jeff Patzke, .304, 20 2B, 7 HR, 40 RBI, 39 Runs; RF Ben Candeleria, .300, 5 Triples, 3 HR, 31 RBI, 76 Hits.
Cardinals: P Brian Carpenter, 5-3, 2.14 ERA, 51 Ks; P Jeff Matulevich, 12 Saves, 2-4, 2.59 ERA; C Elieser Marrero, .213, 9 HR, 39 RBI, 33 Runs.
REMAINING AL ROSTER
Charlotte: P Jeff Davis, P Bucky Buckles, P Eric Moody; C Kevin Brown. Fort Myers: P Shane Bowers. Lakeland: INF Sean Freeman, OF Bubba Trammell; DH David Roberts; Sarasotaz: P Brian Barkley; P Shayne Bennett, INF Gavin Jackson; INF Nathan Tebbs; OF Junior Braddy.
REMAINING NL ROSTER
Brevard: P Clemente Nunez, OF Glen Reeves; DH Brendan Kingman. Daytona: P Greg Twiggs; Jason Hart; INF Bobby Morris; INF Jason Maxwell; OF Scott Samuels; Kissimmee: P Paul O'Malley; INF Tim Forkner. St. Lucie: P Erik Hiljus; INF Sandy Pichardo. Vero Beach: P Joe Jacobsen; P Kevin Pincavitch; C Kyle Cooney; OF Chris Latham. West Palm Beach: P Jake Benz.