Sunday, September 05, 2010

St. Pierre Scores Game Winner in Debut

Edit: St. Pierre did not actually score the winning run.  Brennan Boesch pinch ran for him and he scored the run.  

I’ve been to a lot of minor league parks over the years.  I have followed Tigers prospects in Lowell, MA, Manchester, NH, Pawtucket, RI, Oneonta, NY and Lakeland, FL among other places.  I’ve even attended some Arizona Fall League games.  I typically go specifically to watch the top prospects like Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, Curtis Granderson and Cameron Maybin.  I could not help but notice though that, for the longest time, I’ve been penciling Maxim St. Pierre’s name into box scores.   

There is a reason it seems that Max has been around forever.  He was drafted by the Tigers in the 26th round of the First Year Player draft in June, 1997.  The Montreal native has spent the last14 years in the minors – 13 in the Tigers system – without ever playing a game in the majors.  He has made stops with the Gulf Coast League Tigers, Oneonta, West Michigan, Lakeland, Erie, Toledo and Huntsville (one year with the Brewers).   How long is 14 years?  When he was drafted in 1997, Raul Casanova was the Tigers regular catcher that year.

Earlier in the week, St. Pierre finally realized his dream when the Tigers recalled him for the final month of the season.  With Laird battling a sore back, the Tigers felt they could use a third catcher  as rosters expanded.  The 30-year-old St. Pierre has had a good season batting a combined .274/.353/.479 for Erie and Toledo and is a strong defender.  Just as important, the out-of-contention Tigers are rewarding him for his many years of service.

Today, Max played in his first major league game.  The pitcher was Rick Porcello, who was eight years old when St. Pierre signed with the Tigers organization.  St. Pierre grounded out to shortstop in his first major league at bat.  He failed to hit in his first three at bats, but got one more chance in the eighth with the score tied at four.  The rookie catcher responded by poking a single to center field.  He eventually came around to score what proved to be the winning run in a 6-4 win over the Royals.

The Tigers have had a lot of rookies get their first major league hits this year – Austin Jackson, Brennan Boesch and Casper Wells to name a few.  But St. Pierre’s first hit was more special than any of them. 

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