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Carl Mark Michaels
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 185 lb.
Carl Michaels is a pitcher who spent two years in the minor leagues and has pitched for the South African national team. He has gone 1-8 in major competitions from 1999-2016 and was 3-4 in the minors.
Michaels was with South Africa when they won Gold in the 1999 All Africa Games; he started against Silver Medal-winning Nigeria and allowed five hits, two walks and one run in five innings, fanning eight. He was relieved by Glen Morris with a 16-1 lead and picked up the victory. He was still a teenager when he pitched for South Africa in the 2000 Olympics, getting the start against the powerful Cuban national team. He allowed 7 runs, 4 walks and 9 hits in 3 2/3 IP, striking out none, while taking the loss as expected.
In 2001, Michaels began his Organized Baseball career with the AZL Brewers; he was 2-1 with 2 saves and a 3.50 ERA. Opponents hit .333 against him. Surprisingly, he was not the only South African on the team as infielder Paul Bell was one of his teams. Nor were they the most exotic foreigners on the squad - teammate Michael Franke was the first German in the US minors in over four decades. He was hit hard in the 2001 Baseball World Cup, allowing 17 runs (11 earned), 19 hits and 5 walks in only 6 innings, posting a 16.50 ERA and taking one defeat.
Michaels split 2002 between the Ogden Raptors (1-0, 12 K in 7 IP, 1.43) and the Beloit Snappers (0-3, 5 Sv, 3.60, 9 BB:37 K in 40 IP), showing good ability at both stops; it would be his last season in the minors despite his success.
The Cape Town native went to Germany in 2005 to play for the Paderborn Untouchables, only appearing in one game in the regular season in the Bundesliga. He dominated in the 2005 European Cup though; on a 2-3 team, he was 1-0 with a save. In 17 IP, he allowed just 6 hits and one walk while fanning 21 and not giving up a run. He led the event in ERA (Rob Cordemans was second with 9 shutout innings) and strikeouts (3 ahead of former AAA hurler Ivan Montane). In the 2005 Baseball World Cup, he was South Africa's ace, going 0-2 with a 2.74 ERA, taking one-run losses to Brazil and South Korea. Michaels struck out 23 and walked 14 in 23 innings. He struck out 12 in the South Korea game, one shy of the high mark for the Baseball World Cup that year.
Michaels was 0-1 with a 20.77 ERA in the 2006 World Baseball Classic with two wildly varying performances. Against Team Canada, he allowed no runs in 2 2/3 IP, giving up one hit and two walks while striking out both Justin Morneau and Aaron Guiel. In his second WBC game, he faced a mismatch similar to his 2000 Olympics contest, squaring up against Roger Clemens and Team USA. He allowed 10 hits and 9 runs in 1 2/3 IP. He opened the game by retiring Johnny Damon on a grounder, but walked Derek Jeter and allowed a Ken Griffey Jr. single. Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run double but Michaels recovered to strike out Chipper Jones with three straight swing-and-misses. Derrek Lee clubbed a two-run homer before Chase Utley grounded out. In the 2nd, Michael Barrett grounded out, Randy Winn singled and Damon grounded out. The fireworks really began then. Jeter walked and Griffey followed with a three-run homer. A-Rod singled, Chipper Jones singled and Lee doubled both runners home before Barry Armitage was brought in in relief. Michaels wound up allowing the most runs in the first World Baseball Classic.
In the 2007 Baseball World Cup, Michaels was 0-2 with a 9.31 ERA. He struck out 10 in 9 2/3 innings but allowed 18 hits and 5 walks. He had more than twice as many strikeouts as any other South African pitcher in the Cup that year. Michaels did not pitch for South Africa again until the 2013 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, played in September 2012, when he allowed six hits and three runs (one earned) in three innings. He gave up a three-run double to Charlie Cutler to turn a 2-0 South Africa deficit to Israel to 5-0 in the 8th; those extra runs proved critical when South Africa got three runs in the 9th but still fell short.
By the 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers, played in February 2016, he was the team's oldest player, three years older than #2 Brett Willemburg. He started Game 2 against host Australia and allowed three runs on five hits in the 1st then pitched two hitless, scoreless innings before turning the ball over to Callan Pearce. In his other outing, he relieved Kyle Gaddin in the finale against Australia with a 1-1 tie in the 3rd. He pitched two shutout innings but then served up homers to Brad Harman and Allan de San Miguel in the 5th. After South Africa went up 4-3 in the top of the 6th, he allowed Australia to tie it up on doubles to Trent Oeltjen and Trent D'Antonio before Pearce relieved and got out of the jam. Pearce would allow the losing run in the 7th, though, as South Africa fell shy in its bid to return to the Classic.
- 2002-2003 Baseball Guides
- World Baseball Classic site
- Old IBAF website
- 1999 All Africa Games
- 2005 European Cup