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Al Sontag

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Alan Sontag

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 6", Weight 210 lb.

Al Sontag was drafted twice by the Baltimore Orioles but did not sign. In 1984, he was taken in the first round of the January part of the draft by the Minnesota Twins and was assigned to the Kenosha Twins, where he went 7-7, 2.76. In 1985, Sontag returned to Kenosha and was one of the top hurlers in the Midwest League. He went 15-11 with a 2.33 ERA, third in the MWL behind Keith Silver and Dan Scarpetta. He led the MWL in complete games (15), shutouts (6), innings (220) and strikeouts (213). He made the league All-Star team. Baseball America picked him as the #4 prospect in the league, one spot behind Greg Maddux and ahead of Rafael Palmeiro by six slots. Al ran into trouble with the 1986 Orlando Twins, going 9-12, 4.84 with under half a strikeout per inning. In '87, Sontag was worse - 2-7, 6.53 for Orlando. He did not pitch the next three years.

In 1991, Sontag resurfaced in the California Angels system and went 5-4 in three stops between A and AAA. He was 1-1 with a 10.57 ERA in the only three games of his long career in AAA, with the Edmonton Trappers. In '92, Al was with the independent Salinas Spurs and went 6-11 with a 4.30 ERA. In Organized Baseball, he had gone 44-52.

With the establishment of the independent leagues in the mid-1990s, the right-hander got another shot. He went 9-3 with a 2.92 ERA for the 1995 Albany Diamond Dogs, helping them to a title. in '96, Al had a 3.24 ERA and no decisions with Albany. In 1997, the 33-year-old went 7-5 with a 3.95 ERA with the Saskatoon Stallions.

Alan then began a five-year run with the Bridgeport Bluefish. He was 5-5 with a 4.94 ERA in '98, then went 13-6 with one save and a 3.86 ERA in 1999. He made the Atlantic League All-Star team, perhaps his first All-Star selection since Kenosha in '85. Bridgeport won the title that year. In 2000, Sontag went 13-9, 2.70. At age 36, he led the league in ERA, was named to the All-Star team and was selected as the pitcher of the year. He also led the Atlantic League in wins and strikeouts (158). Baseball America named him to their independent leagues All-Star team. In '01, the veteran went 11-8, 4.33. He finished his pitching career in 2002 with a 3-5, 5.49 season at age 38. In the independent leagues, his record overall was 61-41.

Al managed the Macon Peaches for their first game in 2003 then resigned to join the Southeastern League front office.

Sources: 1986-2003 Baseball America Statistics Reports and Almanacs, The Big Book of Jewish Baseball by Peter Horvitz and Joachim Horvitz

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