Former Redbirds in the World Baseball Classic
The official World Baseball Classic rosters have been officially announced, and the Memphis Redbirds are well represented. Eight former Redbirds players will participate in the Classic, two as coaches and six as players. The United States and Italy both have two former Redbirds on their roster, while Canada, China, Mexico, and Puerto Rico will also have Memphis ties. Here are the eight former Memphis Redbirds who will represent their country in the World Baseball Classic beginning on March 1 in Taichung, Taiwan.
Stubby Clapp, Coach, Canada: Clapp played for the Redbirds from 1999-2002, batting .269 with 22 home runs and 167 RBIs over that span. He appeared in 26 games for the Cardinals in 2001. His #10 jersey is the first and only jersey retired by the Redbirds. Clapp is currently the hitting coach for the Dunedin Blue Jays, Single-A affiliate of Toronto.
Steve Ontiveros, Coach, China: Ontiveros made three starts for the Redbirds in 1998, the first year the team was in existence, and went 0-1 with an 8.38 ERA. He played in major league games for the Oakland A’s (1985-88), Philadelphia Phillies (1989-90), Seattle Mariners (1993) and Boston Red Sox (2010). Ontiveros was named an American League All-Star in 2005 while with Oakland and led the American League in ERA (2.65) and WHIP (1.03) at the end of the strike-shortened 1994 season. He pitched for the Chinese National team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Nick Punto, INF, Italy: Punto played five games for the Redbirds in 2011 and went 3-for-15 at the plate. He is currently on the Los Angeles Dodgers roster, and has appeared in the big leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies (2001-03), Minnesota Twins (2004-10), St. Louis Cardinals (2011), Boston Red Sox (2012), and the Dodgers (2012). Punto batted .219 with one home run and 10 RBIs in 87 games between the Red Sox and Dodgers in 2012.
Dan Serafini, LHP, Italy: Serafini pitched in three games (two starts) for the Redbirds in 2003, going 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA. He played in the MLB for the Minnesota Twins (1996-98), Chicago Cubs (1999), San Diego Padres (2000), Pittsburgh Pirates (2000), Cincinnatti Reds (2003), and Colorado Rockies (2007). In 2012, Serafini split time between Bridgeport of the Independent League, and Monterrey and Aquascalientes of the Mexican League. He went a combined 9-6 with a 5.46 ERA in 28 games (22 starts) in 2012.
Fernando Salas, RHP, Mexico: Salas made appearances in Memphis every year from 2009-12, combining to go 5-2 with a 3.88 ERA in 65 games in relief. He was named a Pacific Coast League Mid-Season All-Star in 2010. Salas also pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals from 2010-12 and was a member of the 2011 World Series Champion Cardinals. In 2012, Salas went 1-4 with a 4.30 ERA for the Cards. He also pitched in four games for the Redbirds, going 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA.
Yadier Molina, C, Puerto Rico: Molina played for the Redbirds in 2004, when he batted .302 with one home run and 14 RBIs in 37 games. He has been the catcher for the Cardinals ever since and was also a member of both the 2006 and 2011 World Series Champion teams. Molina is a five-time Gold Glove Award winner and four-time All-Star with the Cardinals. He played 138 games behind the dish for the Cards in 2012, batting .315 with 22 home runs and 76 RBIs.
Mitchell Boggs, RHP, United States: Boggs pitched for Memphis in 2008-09 and again in 2011, a total of 39 games started. He went 15-9 with a 3.87 ERA as a Redbird and was named a Triple-A All-Star by Baseball America in 2008. Boggs has played for the Cardinals since 2008, mostly coming out of the bullpen. In 214 games (15 starts) for the Cards, Boggs has gone 13-12 with a 3.80 ERA. He had his best major league season in 2012, when he went 4-1 with a 2.21 ERA in 78 games out of the bullpen.
Chris Perez, RHP, United States: (removed due to shoulder injury) Now the closer for the Cleveland Indians, Perez pitched for the Redbirds from 2007-2009. He went 2-2 with a 3.32 ERA and 21 saves while in Memphis. Perez pitched for the Cardinals during the 2008-09 seasons and has pitched in Cleveland ever since, being named to the American League All-Star team in 2011 and 2012. Last season, Perez went 0-4 with a 3.59 ERA and 39 saves in 61 games for the Indians.