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Graham Cassel

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Graham Cassel also listed as Grahame

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 187 lb.

[edit] Biographical Information

Graham Cassel was a long-time presence on the Australian baseball stage.

Cassel played for New South Wales in the Claxton Shield in the 1980s. He was an infielder for the Australian national team in the 1980 Amateur World Series and 1985 Intercontinental Cup. By the time the Australian Baseball League was formed in 1989-1990, Graham was already 32 years old, but he still had many years of baseball left. He hit .289/.396/.333 for the Parramatta Patriots in the ABL's debut, stealing 9 bases in 10 tries, while going 0-1 with a 2.00 ERA in 5 games, playing mostly shortstop. He was 4th in the league with 26 walks. He hit .338/.427/.442 for the 1990-1991 Patriots and went 0-2 with a .441 opponent average and 12.23 ERA as a hurler.

In 1991-1992, Cassel produced at a .288/.352/.493 clip for the Sydney Blues while improving his record to 2-3, 3.32. He went 9 for 40 with a double, homer and two walks in 1992-1993; now primarily a pitcher, he went 3-2 with 5 saves, a 4.85 ERA and .345 opponent average. He tied for 4th in the league in saves. He rarely got to bat (5 AB from 1993-1994 through 1999-2000) again. Now 36 years old, he was a submarine relief pitcher. He went 4-2 with four saves, a .213 opponent average and 2.10 ERA in 1993-1994. He again tied for fourth in the ABL in saves while his 19 appearances ranked third behind Ross Jones and Kim Jessop.

Graham was 7-2 with 2 saves and a 4.33 ERA in 23 outings the next year. He tied Jones for 4th in the 1994-1995 ABL in games pitched and tied for 7th in wins. The Sydney right-hander went 2-2 with 7 saves and a 5.12 ERA in 1995-1996. He was second in the circuit in saves behind Shayne Bennett. He was named the second-team All-Star relief pitcher after Bennett. In the finals, he saved both games (for Brent Iddon and Mark Marino, respectively), tossing 4 1/3 shutout innings as Sydney won its first title, beating the Perth Heat.

Cassel was 3-2 with 5 saves and a 4.86 ERA in 19 games in 1996-1997. He tied Dan Ricabal and Paul Gibson for third in victories. He saw reduced action in 1997-1998 for the Sydney Storm (0-1, 3 Sv, 4.50 in 10 G). At age 41 in 1998-1999, he went 2-3 with 9 saves and a 3.08 ERA in 31 games. He easily led the league in pitching appearances, 7 ahead of Cam Cairncross and Shane Tonkin while tying Tonkin for the save lead. Had he qualified, he would have been 4th in ERA. He won Reliever of the Year honors. In the finals, though, he failed to duplicate his 1995-1996 stardom. Trying to protect a 7-6 lead in the bottom of the 9th of game 1, he served up a two-out, two-run homer to Paul Gorman for a dramatic ending. He ended his career with two unearned runs in 2 2/3 IP in the 1999-2000 International Baseball League of Australia.

Overall, he had hit .290 in the ABL and had gone 23-20 with 35 saves and a 4.44 ERA in 158 games. Even though the league was founded in the latter half of his career, he played in all 10 of its seasons. He finished among the league career leaders in ERA (20th), games pitched (2nd, 36 behind Bob Nilsson), wins (tied for 13th), losses (tied for 15th) and saves (3rd behind Nilsson and Jones).

He later was pitching coach for the Sydney Blue Sox in the revived ABL. In 2011, he was voted into the Baseball Australia Hall of Fame.

[edit] Sources

  • Old IBAF site
  • Australian Baseball Federation site
  • Flintoff & Dunn Australian Baseball Almanac
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