Tag Archives: John Holdzkom

Indy Ball Artist – My Story

As some of my readers may know, I enjoy drawing as much as I enjoy writing.  I know I’m not a really great artist compared to a lot of people, but I do have some talent. In a way, it helps me relate better to independent ball players. They have talent, but they have to keep honing their skills to rise through the ranks of true professionals.

Baseball gives me a chance to escape from reality too.  It gives me an outlet for drawing and writing.  I can be as creative as I want while always working on getting better and enjoying things I love.

For the most part, I choose to draw players who play in indy ball or in the minor leagues. Even though major league players are appreciative when they see a drawing I’ve done, there is nothing like giving an independent or minor league player a drawing of themselves. Usually, it is the first time they’ve ever had someone do that for them. The look on their face is priceless.

I frame all of the original drawings after they are signed by the players and put them on my own “wall of fame.”  It’s grown over the last two years as has my skills as an artist. My first player drawing was done in the summer of 2012. The subject was then  AA Altoona Curve Pitcher, Vic Black who is now a member of the Major League NY Mets bullpen.

Take a look at my “wall of fame” and my drawings so far.

2014-11-29 11.19.22

Independent Players

EddieJustin Edwards, Washington Wild Things

DrewDrew Rossi, Washington Wild Things

stewStewart Ijames, Washington Wild Things (current DBacks prospect)

CJCJ Beatty, Washington Wild Things (Current White Sox prospect)

Q drawingQuincy Latimore, Washington Wild Things (Current Nationals Prospect)

zacZac Fuesser (Former Pirates prospect and Wild Thing) with his father.

samSam Montgomery, Washington Wild Things

pomaDanny Poma, Washington Wild Things

jimmyJim Vahilk, Washington Wild Things

jkJonathan Kountis, Washington Wild Things (Greek God of Saves)

perfect gameMatt Sergey and team, Perfect Game Washington Wild Things

richieRichie Serritella, Trinidad Triggers (Check out the Pecos League posts!)

tylerTyler Elrod, Washington Wild Things

Minor League Players

VicVic Black, Altoona Curve (current Met) My first drawing!

ryanRyan Hafner, Pirates prospect

NickNick Kingham, Pirates prospect

stetsonStetson Allie, Pirates Prospect

CoryCory Vaughn, Mets prospect

mattMatt Curry, former Pirates prospect (current FA)

Major League Players

pedroPedro Alvarez, Pirates

cutchAndrew McCutchen, Pirates

chapmanAlrodis Chapman, Reds

john axJohn Axford, Pirates (Current FA)

johnJohn Holdzkom, Pirates

lamboAndrew Lambo, Pirates

tonyTony Sanchez, Pirates

me and tonySelf Portrait with Tony Sanchez

Thank you to all of my wonderful drawing subjects so far!

Pirates Sign Chris Peacock from the American Association

The Pirates recently signed pitcher Chris Peacock from the American Association. This league just so happens to be the same one that John Holdzkom was found in during the season.  So… a pitcher from the independent American Association signed by the Pirates? Sounds like the beginnings of a familiar story, but that is where the similarities stop.

John Holdzkom was in the independent ranks to REVIVE his career after a few chances in affiliated ball. On the other hand, Chris Peacock was in the independent ranks to HAVE a career.  He has never been drafted or played in any level of affiliated ball.  That is what makes the signing of Peacock so interesting. It is a signing that may be surprising to most, but it is very low risk with high potential. This is exactly what teams are trying to accomplish when scouting independent leagues.

Chris Peacock’s baseball resume takes a trip through four different independent leagues with six different teams in a span of only three seasons. If this blog had a poster boy for Independent League travels, Chris would be it.
He started his college career at Faulkner State CC then transferred to the University of Mobile. After graduating from the University of Mobile in 2011, he started his professional baseball career in 2012 with the now defunct North American Baseball League. His first stop was with the Abilene Prairie Dogs. After only two appearances, he was traded to the San Angelo Colts. But after two shaky performances with the Colts, he was released.

After his short stint in the North American Baseball League, Chris turned to the Pecos League where he landed with the Las Cruces Vaqueros to finish out the 2012 season. He made 10 appearances (9 Starts including 1 Complete Game) for the Vaqueros while compiling a 4.31 ERA. Next season, he stayed in the Pecos league for the entire season, but this time with the White Sands Pupfish. He appeared in 19 games, 9 of them starts, with a record of 4-2 and a 7.65 ERA.

Chris started 2014 in the United League with the Rio Grande Valley White Wings. Here he turned his career around while working strictly out of the bullpen on his way to two championship rings. In 30 appearances, he compiled a 5-2 record and a 2.27 ERA for the ULB champions. This was enough to get him noticed by the American Association. Chris joined the Wichita Wingnuts at the height of their post season push in August. He finished out the regular season with 6 appearances in relief and a 2-0 record. In the post season, he pitched in four of the six playoff games with a 2.70 ERA for the AA Championship winning team.

On October 11th, Chris finally left Indy Ball Island when the Pittsburgh Pirates purchased his contract. He is the third pitcher that the Pirates have signed from the American Association this year. John Holdzkom (who finished the season with the big league team) and Matt Nevarez (who finished in AA Altoona) also had their contracts purchased.

Will Chris build off his 2014 season and make the most of his first shot at affiliated ball? Can he pitch well enough to stay off of Indy Ball Island? Only time will tell, but it should be an interesting story to follow!