The independent Golden League of Professional Baseball sure does seem like a lot of fun. It seems to be a haven for insane baseballers, be it something minor like illeist Rickey Henderson, or something a little more questionable, like Jose Canseco‘s pitching career.
I haven’t been to a game in this league yet, despite the fact that their teams are generously sprinkled around my new home, Los Angeles. The San Diego Surf Dawgs played at Tony Gwynn Stadium on the campus of San Diego State University – was less than two miles from my home in San Diego while Rickey Henderson played for them.
When Canseco was traded to the Long Beach Armada after just one game with the Surf Dawgs, his new home stadium was just 23.5 miles from my home in Culver City. Now, with the news that former Astros 20-game winner Jose Lima has signed with the Armada, I am determined to make the 41-minute drive from Sherman Oaks to Long Beach to see him pitch.
Lima may have been many things, one thing he definitely was is entertaining. When he was on the mound, you were always waiting for him to explode. Since 1999, when he went 21-10 for Houston, he has pitched 860 innings in 171 games for Houston, Detroit, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Kansas City (again), and the New York Mets.
He had a surprising 2004, which saw him go 13-5 for the Dodgers with a 4.07 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 93 K, and 34 BB in 170.1 IP, and then followed up with a five-hit shutout of the Cardinals in the in the NLDS, the Dodgers’ only postseason victory between 1998 and 2008.
Other than that, though, he has been far less than spectacular since his career season in 1999. He’s gone 43-62 with a 6.00 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 5.39 DICE, 458 K, and 258 BB.
In 2007, he pitched for Saraperos de Saltillo in the Mexican League, and for the Dominican Winter Baseball League Águilas Cibaeñas. He spent 2008 pitching for the Kia Tigers of the Korean Baseball League, but was eventually released, and took Lima Time to the Camden Riversharks of the independent Atlantic Baseball League.
This guy’s career may never end. Like Rickey Henderson, he just wants to play ball. Unfortunately, he’s not half as good at it as Rickey was, but the guy is exciting – if only in a schadenfreude, what’s-going-to-happen-next kind of way. Because Jose Lima, friends, is insane. And I can’t wait to see him toe the rubber against the Calgary Vipers, Orange County Flyers, Edmonton Cracker Cats, or any of the other ridiculously-named Golden League teams.
It’s Lima Time!