Each summer I skim the various minor league Web sites to follow our local guys who are still in professional ball.
In recent years I have had plenty of players to follow. J.J. Johnson, Donnie Thomas, Todd Greene, James Shanks, Jordan Belcher, Tony Smith, Bradley Key, B.J. Hawes and Tydus Meadows were some of the players who were still trying to reach their boyhood dream of playing in the big leagues. This year, when I check the various minor league databases, no local players could be found except for former Greenbrier right fielder Rafael Parks, who is playing for the Greenville Astros in rookie ball.
Many found a home in professional baseball with independent clubs. One of the players to make the move to independent baseball was former Evans and Vanderbilt standout Tydus Meadows.
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound outfielder turns 30 in September, but he has not given up his big league dream. Meadows seemingly did everything in his power to make the big leagues in his nine-year Minor League stint.
Back in 1999, in his first full season of professional baseball, Meadows hit .301 with 17 home runs and 74 RBI in 126 games with the Lansing Lugnuts. That year he made the first of his six Minor League All-Star game appearances.
Meadows was a career .293 hitter and hit better than .300 five times. He also hit 10 or more home runs in all nine of his professional seasons, and drove in 547 runs in just more than 3,100 pro at-bats. Couple that with his athleticism, and it is hard to figure why he never got his chance in the "bigs."
After being released by the Dodgers, Meadows found a home in a town surprisingly rich in baseball tradition - Fargo, N.D.
Fargo was the first city to field a team in the independent Northern League way back in 1902, and it still has a franchise today.
The Fargo-Moorehead Redhawks is where Meadows surfaced, and once again he is performing well.
For the season Meadows has helped guide the Redhawks to first place by hitting .269 with nine home runs and 27 RBI. He also leads the team in walks (44) and on-base percentage (.412), and he is third with 44 runs scored.
I hope Meadows will sign a contract with a major league club soon.
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