After 14 years, Sadler excited to be in Winnipeg


Ray Sadler has been around. In fact, in May of 2005, he played three games with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Even hit a home run off Giants reliever Noah Lowry.

For the past four seasons, he’s either been playing for the Kansas City T-Bones of the American Association or Caffe Danesi Nettuno of the Italian Baseball League.

There isn’t much about professional baseball that Ray Sadler doesn’t know or hasn’t experienced. In fact, back on May 8, 2005, when Pirates outfielder Craig Wilson injured his hand, Pittsburgh brass bought Sadler’s contract from the Altoona Curve as an emergency replacement.

It was such an emergency that Sadler didn’t have any chance to prepare. He arrived in Pittsburgh and was mistaken for a construction worker by Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon. After McClendon gave his head a shake, he inserted Sadler into the Pittsburgh lineup immediately. Three days later, he got his first major league hit – that homer off Lowry – and five days later he was sent back to the minors.

He never returned to The Show and the Winnipeg Goldeyes, after years of having Sadler rip the ball against them, finally have Ray Sadler in the lineup.

On Tuesday, Sadler was acquired from the T-Bones for a player to be named later. For Goldeyes manager Rick Forney, it was a great deal.

“He’s a good player,” said Forney. “He has the ability to make a difference in our lineup. I think a change of scenery will be really good for him. Hopefully, Ray can come in here and drive in some important runs for us.”

Sadler is 32 and has struggled a little with consistency this season. He hit only .218 in 41 games with Kansas City this season, but he also has 10 home runs, 22 RBI and eight stolen bases (in just nine attempts). He has hit 20 or more home runs in each of the last three seasons.

“I’m really happy to be here,” Sadler said. “Rick (Forney) is a great guy. He doesn’t put any expectations on you. There is no stress on anybody. I like that. I’m going to come in here and do everything I can to be an all-round good player.”

Sadler was originally selected in the 30th round (290th overall) of the 1999 Major League entry draft by the Chicago Cubs. From there, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound right fielder played just about everywhere – Lansing, Daytona, West Tennessee, Altoona, the Pirates, Indianapolis, Corpus Christi, Round Rock, Durham, Kansas City, Italy and now Canada.

The veteran from Clifton, Texas, was a sensational all-around athlete in high school. He not only played baseball, but also basketball and football.

“I wasn’t a great basketball player, but I was a pretty good football player,” he said with a smile. “With me, I’m going to beat you even if I’m not good at something. I like to play and I like to compete.”

He certainly made that clear when asked about his 14-year career on Tuesday. “Why do I keep playing?” Sadler responded rhetorically. “I keep playing because I want to win another ring. In Winnipeg, I just want to get out there and play and help this team win. I’m excited to be here.”