Publish date:

Morman's Mission No one has ever chased his baseball dreams with more purity of purpose than Russ Morman of the Durham Bulls. But after 16 pro seasons, has his devotion been richly rewarded or cruelly punished?

Sometimes it feels like baseball dares you to love it. That's
the part they don't tell you about when they hand you that first
bonus check. They don't tell you that 15 years later you could
find yourself in Charlotte on a Saturday night, with a head full
of the hits you should have had and the image of Greg Maddux
taunting you from the TV in the visitors' clubhouse.

In the rightfield pavilion at Knights Stadium the Famous Chicken
is clowning around with a flock of screaming kids, and you're
down here with the Durham Bulls wondering if you have stripped
the gears in your swing. It is a minor league life in a world
that cares only for the majors, a life long on frustration and
short on rewards, and you have to love it deep in your soul to
stay at it this long. You have to love it the way Russ Morman

He has carried the torch for baseball from Glens Falls, N.Y., to
Hawaii, up to Edmonton and down to the Dominican, and now back
to an old tobacco town with the team that was immortalized in
Bull Durham. Kevin Costner played the movie's hero, Crash Davis,
a star-crossed wanderer whose past was strewn with home runs,
just the way Morman's is. When Morman arrived in Durham this
spring, imaginations didn't have to soar very high before the
Bulls' new slugger was christened Crash. All Morman asked for in
return was the uniform bearing his lucky number, 45. It seemed
an easy request to fill until he discovered that at 6'4" and 235
pounds, he would have split the jersey's seams. So he took
number 27 without complaint, and the kind hearts and gentle
people in Durham knew that this is a man built to pull a heavy

At first glance the burden doesn't seem to have worn on Morman.
For someone who has squinted in so much afternoon sunshine and
frowned at so many bad breaks, his countenance remains
remarkably free of crags and crow's feet. It's no exaggeration
to call him boyish looking, even at 36. But then there are his
eyes, looking for something he will never find in the Triple A
International League. His eyes are where the hard times show.

They are showing them now in Charlotte, and who would have
thought that could happen here? This is where he prospered the
last three seasons--never an average under .314, a personal-best
33 homers in '97, and Tommy John, the team's radio color man,
joking that the ballpark should be renamed the Morman
Tabernacle. But in his return, as Durham's designated hitter,
Morman has come up empty. So he stands in the clubhouse, a towel
around his waist and an 0-for-4 weight on his shoulders, and he
thinks of the two hits he might have had to help the Bulls win.
One was a line drive, the other a flare, and both wound up as
outs. "You needed those balls to sit down for you," a
sympathizer tells him.

A moment passes before Morman says, "I know"--and all the air
goes out of him. Then he stares across the room at the TV, where
it's still Atlanta at Houston and Maddux doing his old
soft-shoe. The sound is off, and the silence makes the big
leagues seem further away than they already are.

She was still Loretta Ragan when she flew into Buffalo to spend
that weekend with Russ. Their first stop was the ballpark, of
course, but the game and what he did in it have long since been
forgotten. The only thing they remember is how he bounded out of
the dugout afterward and motioned her down to the screen
separating the field from the box seats. "I got called up," he
said. "I'm going to the big leagues."

It was Aug. 2, 1986, and nothing like this had ever happened to
him before. The White Sox had lost first baseman Greg Walker
with a broken hand, and they needed Russ in their lineup the
next day at Comiskey Park. He wanted Loretta to be there with
him. Typical Russ. They were going to be married two days after
Thanksgiving, and the sentimental side of him said they should
have this memory to share for all their days together.

But they would have only one chance at it, the chance that was
beckoning now. So after she dropped him off at Buffalo
International at seven o'clock on Sunday morning, Loretta set
out for Chicago in his Chevy Blazer, racing the clock and
wondering what would happen when she got there. "I didn't have
any idea how to get to the ballpark," she says.

Somewhere in Indiana, she stopped hoping she could make it by
the first pitch and started twirling the radio dial. She found
the game on a Detroit station--the Tigers versus the White
Sox--and she heard what happened when righthander Randy O'Neal
threw Russ a 3-2 fastball in his first major league at bat:
single up the middle. Loretta screamed for joy and rapturously
pounded the steering wheel. The other drivers out there on I-90
could stare all they wanted. For the boy she had fallen in love
with back home in Independence, Mo., was making the big time.

It was even better where Russ was, watching the ball he had hit
get tossed into the White Sox dugout for safekeeping. The ball
he hit his next time up became a keepsake, too. It was a home
run off O'Neal that touched down in the leftfield stands. "As it
was leaving," Russ recalls, "I was thinking, Oh, please don't go
in the upper deck. If you hit it in the upper deck, the fans are
going to expect that every time." He got his lower-deck
wish--and in the same inning, he pounded another base hit.

Loretta heard it all on the Blazer's radio. Then she caught a
break of her own on this perfect afternoon as I-90 turned into
Chicago's Dan Ryan Expressway, and the Dan Ryan led her straight
through the South Side to Comiskey. She rushed into the ballpark
in the seventh inning, just in time to see Russ fly out in his
last at bat. But nobody in the crowd seemed to care. "I got a
standing ovation," he says, and he sounds as amazed and thrilled
by it today as he was back then.

The surprises didn't end there, though. In the clubhouse
afterward a media mob was waiting to anoint Russell Lee Morman
as a hero for a day. "I'd never seen more than one reporter at a
time in the minors," he says, "and now I had eight or 10 guys
around my locker." They came bearing the news that he had
claimed a piece of history: He was the first player since the
Yankees' Billy Martin in 1950 to get two hits in one inning in
his first big league game. "And I'm standing there going, 'Huh?
Are you sure?'"

There was so much to tell Loretta, and no time to do it. She and
Russ had barely embraced before he had to board a bus to the
airport with the rest of the White Sox. As she watched baseball
carry him off for the second time in less than 12 hours, all she
could think was, Wow, I guess this is what it's like.

When Russ got to his hotel room in Boston that night, the
message light was blinking: Al Michaels wanted to interview him
before the Monday Night Baseball telecast. Tomorrow he would be
facing Roger Clemens. Sleep hardly seemed necessary. He was
already in a dream.

The merciless future began unfolding in 1988. Three times that
year the White Sox called Russ up from Vancouver, and twice they
sent him back down. Loretta felt as if she spent the whole
summer driving through Montana, usually by herself, because her
husband had to fly to a game at whatever his next stop was. The
one time they got brave in Chicago, the one time they told
themselves he couldn't possibly get shipped out again, they
rented an apartment near some of the other Sox instead of
playing it safe in a hotel. After they spent their first night
there, the big club lowered the boom again.

It's a wonder that Russ and Loretta ever got out to a movie. But
they did, on an off day in Chicago, and what they saw was Bull
Durham, which is both a love letter to baseball, the minors in
particular, and a reminder that God doesn't always give with
both hands. Costner's Crash Davis loves the game with a passion
it doesn't come close to returning, and Tim Robbins's Nuke
LaLoosh treats the great gift of his right arm as if he found it
in a box of Cracker Jack. "I remember walking out of the theater
feeling sorry for Kevin Costner," Loretta says. "It was like,
gosh, he never really got a chance." All Russ knew was that he
would buy Bull Durham as soon as it came out on video. He wanted
to see it again because whoever did it got it right, the
laughter and the raunchiness, the toughness and the
vulnerability and, yes, the anger too.

There was a reason for that. Ron Shelton, who wrote and directed
the movie, had lived the life, working his way up through the
Baltimore Orioles' farm system for five seasons, getting as high
as Rochester in the International League, playing second base
alongside a shortstop named Bobby Grich. But when it was Grich
who got the call to take over at second in Baltimore, Shelton
knew that baseball was hustling him toward the exit.

He went reluctantly, and even now, 26 years removed from the
game and firmly dug in at the plate in Hollywood, he makes no
bones about which of his two callings has the greater claim on
his soul. "Someday I may win an Academy Award," he says, "but it
will never mean as much to me as some of the things I did in
baseball." One night in Reno--this would have been '68, the
California League--a pitcher who was too dumb to slide barreled
into second standing up and broke Shelton's hand. "But I wasn't
coming out until I got to hit against that son of a bitch," he
says. "And when I did, I almost undressed him with a line drive."

That was how he had been taught to approach the game, and that
is how Crash approaches it in the movie as he bounces from one
whistle-stop to another with his bat, his catcher's gear and his
memories of his 21 days in the Show. "No matter how the game
dumped on him," Shelton says, "he remained devoted to it and to
the joy of playing it right."

Shelton could just as easily be talking about Russ Morman,
though he has never met him and, truth be told, doesn't
recognize the name. The similarities between Russ and Crash can
be traced all the way to their home runs. The flesh-and-blood
slugger pulled into Durham this season with 194 of them, more
than any other active minor leaguer. In the movie it is left to
Susan Sarandon's beguiling Annie Savoy, a lover of both the game
and its most fortunate sons, to point out that Crash has 227
minor league homers when he joins the Bulls. Twenty more and
he'll set a record. (Actually, he wouldn't have come close to
Hector Espino's minor league standard of 484, but that's not the

"Two hundred and forty-seven home runs in the minor leagues
would be kind of a dubious honor," Crash tells Annie. The
sentiment is camouflage for his well-earned pride, but Crash is
too much of a hardnose to admit it. The man who created him
isn't. "There are triumphs in this age of celebrity and hype
that are completely unacknowledged," Shelton says. "I happen to
think that hitting more home runs in the minors than anybody
else means something." It's important to remember that, whether
the subject is Crash Davis or Russ Morman.

Amtrak number 79 rolls south through Durham late every
afternoon, its lonesome whistle and clacking wheels a perfect
complement to a three-year-young ballyard that was built to look
old. You can see the train if you look past the Blue Monster in
leftfield, although the eyes tend to stop at the large wooden
bull perched atop that 32-foot-high fence. Home run hitters win
a steak if they hit the bull, or a salad if they only reach the
patch of grass painted beneath it. Mercifully, Durham Bulls
Athletic Park has enough other nostalgic grace notes to earn
forgiveness for its salads and to forestall any yearning for its
rickety predecessor, which sits across town, consigned to ghosts
and a women's professional softball team. There are nooks and
crannies laced with red brick and mementos from the town's lusty
past in baseball's outer reaches. Nothing, however, is quite so
evocative as the sound of that train when the shadows are
growing long.

It harks back to a time before computers and research parks, a
time when the now-defunct Durham & Southern was hauling what men
grew in the rich North Carolina soil. It speaks, too, of the
game's essential restlessness, the ebb and flow of players and
their dreams. The season was barely into its second month when
the big club in Tampa reached out to the Bulls for a third
baseman with 10 quick homers and a basestealing outfielder with
wings on his heels. "That's what we're here for," Morman says.
"We're not playing to stay in the minors."

There was a time when Morman was the one summoned first, a time
when he had the clout of the $75,000 bonus that the White Sox
used to lure him out of Wichita State as a junior after drafting
him in the first round in 1983. In 1985, after 2 1/2 seasons as a
pro, he moved up to Triple A, where he bashed six homers for
Buffalo in his first week and started wondering if his goals
hadn't been too modest. "I had a timetable for five years," he
says. "If I wasn't a major league player by then, that would be
it." A rueful smile. "Needless to say, I didn't stick to the
timetable very well."

Things started to bog down less than a month after Morman
arrived in Chicago with such a clatter in '86. Soon he found
himself being platooned at first base. Only time would tell him
that his best shot at being a regular in the Show was already
history. "You always wonder what Russ would have done if he'd
ever had a manager give him 500 at bats in a season," says John
Boles, his manager at Buffalo and now the Florida Marlins'
director of player development. "Personally, I thought he could
be a .280, 25 home run guy."

The rub, as Morman points out, is this: "I don't know if I even
have 500 at bats for my whole career in the big leagues."

He doesn't. The exact number is 470, spread over bits and pieces
of nine seasons in Kansas City, Florida and, of course, Chicago.
All he had to show for those sporadic chances as a first baseman
and an outfielder are 10 homers, 43 RBIs and a .249 lifetime
batting average--hardly earthshaking statistics, but still more
pleasing to the eye than the rejection notices he began
receiving in 1989.

That was when the White Sox became the first team to give up on
him. He went out the door with but one homer all that season, a
brace on his sprained right knee and a new and unwelcome status
as a seven-year minor league free agent. For being a free agent
in the minors puts a player in the same boat as every
blue-collar worker who ever saw a factory go belly up and every
middle manager who ever got downsized. It turns him into a
supplicant who must do what Morman has done again and again
these past nine years: hope that another organization wants him
and accept however little it is willing to pay.

The Royals were the first to reach out to Morman, largely at the
urging of Boles, who had moved into their front office, and
third base coach Smokey Garrett, who had managed Morman when he
broke in at Glens Falls. "Russ was a great kid," says Garrett,
now in his fourth season as Charlotte's hitting coach. "He
became a great man." One the Royals could trust to take a
craftsman's diligence to their Omaha farm team, one who wouldn't
become just another burnout stuck in Triple A, one whose answer
to every problem was to keep plugging away.

Morman was much better than that. When the 1990 Triple A
playoffs rolled around, he put Omaha on his broad back and
carried it to a championship. "Every time we needed something,
he'd come up and hit a homer," says Sal Rende, his manager there
as well as at Appleton, Edmonton and Charlotte. And Morman was
still on a tear when he arrived at Kansas City's training camp
early the next spring. He came to take a whack at catching, an
experiment based on the theory that versatility adds to value.
He left as the Royals' fourth outfielder and wound up platooning
at first base after George Brett, their aging legend went on the
disabled list. "That was the only time I ever made a big league
team out of spring training," Morman says.

He and Loretta were fresh from buying their first home, in Blue
Springs, Mo., 15 minutes east of Royals Stadium, and their
daughter, Katelyn, had just turned one. For once, everything
seemed right with their world. Maybe that should have been a
warning. But they never saw trouble coming until Loretta looked
up at the stadium's message board less than a month into the
season and read that Kansas City had just traded for Carmelo
Martinez, a veteran power hitter and, alas, a first baseman. "It
made me sick," Loretta says. "I knew right then that Russ wasn't
going to get his chance."

The pain intensified when they learned that neither manager John
Wathan nor his coaches had lobbied for the trade. It was
strictly a front-office maneuver, a deal hatched by men who wear
suits instead of uniforms. "We were overruled," Garrett says,
"but that's baseball."

It only got worse after that. The Royals released Morman, and he
went to spring training in 1992 with Cincinnati, only to have
the Reds cut him before they headed north. At first it seemed a
blessing that he could be home for the birth of his son, Sam, a
thrill he had missed with Katie by half an hour. But after eight
weeks of silence, he feared that his career had reached its
expiration date. "I was ready to stop hitting and throwing and
running," he says. And then the Reds finally called back. They
needed his big bat on their Triple A team in Nashville. The
catch was, they would pay him only $5,000 a month instead of the
$8,000 his original contract called for.

Morman took what they offered. He always does. Without rancor or
spite, he signs the contracts that are the bane of the minor
league free agent and returns to the game that has a claim on
his life. "I've played for as low as $25,000 a year," he says.
"It was only a couple of years ago that I finally made
$100,000." But that was just once, when the Florida Marlins
summoned him as a fifth outfielder at midseason in '96. The rest
of the time his paycheck has been no more than half that for
doing something that might have paid him millions if only he had
caught a break or been born with the ability to hit his longest
balls 10 feet farther.

And still Morman has plugged away in the tradition of Joe Hauser
and Stout Steve Bilko and all the other storied minor league
sluggers who traveled this trail of tears before him. Since his
30th birthday, he has batted .310 at Nashville in '92, .320 in a
return engagement at Buffalo in '93 and .350 at Edmonton the
following year--and then came those three lustrous seasons at
Charlotte. "Guess I'm a late bloomer," he says.

It was that or be gone, and he has steeled himself against the
latter since his final days with the White Sox. He settled under
the wing of hitting coach Walt Hriniak and soaked up the wisdom
of another man whose playing career forever flirted with
extinction. "Walt always preached that you've got to keep
playing until they tear the uniform off you," he says. "As long
as you have a uniform on, you still have a chance." If Morman
didn't believe it, he wouldn't be in Durham.

There have been bad times that somehow gained a certain charm,
such as the summer of '87 in Hawaii when Russ hurt his ankle
trying to break up a beanball brawl. With only themselves to
entertain in those childfree days, he and Loretta wound up
visiting all the out-of-the-way beaches they had ever seen on
Magnum P.I.

And there have been times that didn't seem funny until they were
over, like the year Loretta and the kids arrived in Edmonton to
discover that Russ had unknowingly rented an apartment over a
karaoke bar. He had seen it only during the day, but the bar
didn't open until night.

And then there have been times that were pure magic, like the
day last season when, with Loretta and Katie videotaping
everything, Sam got to be Charlotte's batboy and Russ toasted
the occasion by hitting two home runs. "Sam was just this little
stick figure running around the park picking up bats," Russ
says. "He had his sweatbands on and an oversized helmet, and
when I crossed the plate after my homers, he was waiting to
high-five me."

But mostly it has been Russ by himself in another strange town
and Loretta back home in Blue Springs, holding things together
until school is out and she and the kids can leave for their
two-month summer sojourn with Daddy. This spring Russ missed
Katie's first communion and Sam's first T-ball game, and he
always misses Easter, Sam's and Katie's birthdays, and his own
birthday. "Every once in a while, Sam will just put his face in
his hands and cry," Loretta says. He is six, his sister is
eight, and only time will help them understand the nomadic life
into which they were born.

While the Morman kids are at it, they would do well to
appreciate the strength of a mother who, at 5'4", is a foot
shorter than their father. Loretta had to contend with Katie as
a two-year-old in the foreign environs of Nashville--"I never
saw the city, I was always tired"--and she had to drive from
Blue Springs to Edmonton with nobody for company but Sam at two
and Katie at four. Staying home with the kids for months after
Russ has left for his next port of call isn't that much easier
than a cross-country road trip, however. Then she must balance
raising them with her own job for the local school district's
Parents As Teachers Program. And every day there is a phone call
from Russ. "As soon as he says hi," Loretta says, "I can tell if
he had any hits."

His joy is hers. The same goes for his sadness. There is never
any talk about what lies beyond his life as a player, never any
discussion of his becoming a manager or a coach, or maybe just
going back and getting his degree. "I know that's not very
farsighted," Loretta confesses. But that's the way it has been
through 11 years of marriage, and that's the way it will remain
as long as Russ is chasing his dream. "She's the most loving,
supporting wife anybody could ever have," he says over lunch one
day in Durham, his voice thick with emotion. "I don't know what
I'd do if I didn't have her."

The depth of his feelings is equaled later that week as Loretta
sits in their dining room in Blue Springs, her legs pulled tight
against her and a cup of tea going cold on the table. She's
thinking about everything that baseball has put Russ through,
and she's struggling not to let the memories overwhelm her.

"It's hard to watch," she says, her words coming slowly. "I
don't know how else to describe it. I don't want people feeling
sorry for Russ. He's had a great career and he's playing the
game he loves. But he does so well and he tries so hard, and
sometimes he's not given a chance. It hurts him. He doesn't show
it, but it does. And I just...I just.... " Her voice trails
off, and then it's her turn to cry.

The ring came Federal Express. It was waiting in his hotel room
the day Durham opened the season in Norfolk, and when he took it
out of the box, he was surprised how much heft there was to it.
Must have been all the diamonds. But the diamonds didn't matter
as much to him as the sight of his name and number on the ring:
RUSS MORMAN 45. A lot of good men played this game for years,
played it with love and honor, and rode into the sunset without
a prize like the one the momentarily regal Florida Marlins gave
him. All he had done for the Marlins was come up at the end of
last year's pennant race, tip his cap after hitting a home run
in the first game he started for the Marlins and then head for
Blue Springs to watch them win the World Series on TV. But he
still got a ring, and when he talks about it now, he always
says, "I'm lucky to have one."

No sarcasm, no bitterness, nothing except sincere gratitude--and
there you have the essence of the man. Somehow he has endured
into his 16th season in baseball's hinterlands without
succumbing to the ugliness that we have come to take for granted
among athletes making seven-digit salaries. He is the kind of
ballplayer everybody in the stands always says they would be, a
ballplayer who thanks his Maker that this is how he can earn a

The proof lies in more than the gaudy numbers Morman has in
Triple A or even the workmanlike way he has gone about ringing
them up. There is the wise counsel he offers young teammates,
just as Carlton Fisk and Brett offered it to him when he was the
one with the bright future. And there is the simple courtesy he
shows the Famous Chicken by asking, "Hey, Teddy, are we doing
anything tonight?"--because he knows that Ted Giannoulas can't
make his routines as the Chicken fly without volunteers. There
are all those things done so frequently for so long that even
the flinty characters the game prides itself on breeding can't
help being moved by the man.

Rende, his manager for six seasons in four towns, will tell you
he loves Russ Morman like a brother--"and I'm not afraid to say
it." Neither are Boles and Garrett, who go all the way back to
the beginning with him. "Without a doubt, he is as good a guy as
I've ever been around in baseball," says Tampa Bay Devil Rays
manager Larry Rothschild. If Rothschild didn't feel that way
before this spring, he did after he handed Morman his ticket to

Morman never really had a chance to make the expansion Devil
Rays, who had Fred McGriff and Paul Sorrento, two established
thumpers, ahead of him at first base, and yet he had gone out
and hit .450 in the Grapefruit League this spring. He had earned
himself the right to gripe. But when he saw Rothschild walking
toward him during batting practice, Morman broke the tension by
cowering like the next victim in a slasher movie and shouting,
"Stay away!"

Then he grinned and asked if he could stick around while the
Devil Rays finished the spring by making their debut at
Tropicana Field. With his usual devotion to duty, Morman wanted
to get a feel for it in case Tampa Bay called him up. He got
more than he bargained for when he hit the Trop's first home
run. It didn't win him a reprieve, though, and because it came
in an exhibition game, it won't be remembered by anybody except
devotees of the most obscure trivia. But for the next 2 1/2
months, there must have been nights when Morman wondered if it
was the last homer he would ever hit.

It wasn't until June 12 that he finally clouted his first one
for the Durham Bulls. Number 2 came four days later, but it was
still a far cry from last year in Charlotte, when he had 25 by
July. This year, as he struggles to keep his batting average
above .250, he finds himself racked by frustration and its
cousin, confusion. "It's the hardest season I've had since I
broke into A ball," he says. "All I can do is try hitting myself
out of whatever is going on." So he has taken extra batting
practice and studied videotape, tinkered with his stance and
even changed his uniform number to lucky 45. He spent more time
on the phone with Loretta, too, until she and the kids arrived
in the middle of the month. "Well, yeah," he says, laughing
gently at himself. "She's my psychiatrist."

No self-pity, no complaints about lingering Crash Davis
comparisons, nothing except an honest desire to do right by
baseball--and that also is the essence of the man. It is an
unforgiving game he plays, and yet he has never let it rob him
of his dreams. But don't dismiss him as a dreamer and nothing
more. Why, there was a day when Russ Morman owned the whole
South Side of Chicago.

COLOR PHOTO: BILL FRAKES Morman's Mission No one has chased his baseball dreams with more purity of purpose than Russ Morman of the Durham Bulls [T of C]


TWO COLOR PHOTOS: PHOTOGRAPHS BY BILL FRAKES Watching and waiting Morman has hit more homers than any other active minor leaguer, but now he's struggling at the plate. [Russ Morman at bat taking a strike; Russ Morman sitting on dugout steps]

THREE COLOR PHOTOS: PHOTOGRAPHS BY BILL FRAKES Baseball mom With Russ away so much, Loretta must shoulder much of the parenting load, but she's still there to talk Russ through the nights when he goes hitless. [Loretta Morman tossing grounder to Sam Mormon with Katie Mormon in bleachers; Katie Mormon, Loretta Morman and Sam Mormon at home; Russ Mormon on telephone in diner]

COLOR PHOTO: RON VESELY [Russ Mormon playing for Chicago White Sox]

COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPHS BY BILL FRAKES Plugging away Morman stays in shape, ready for a call from the big club, but the reality is, his playing days are dwindling fast. [Russ Mormon jogging in ballpark]

Travelin' Man

When he's finally finished with baseball (and vice versa), Russ
Morman could probably teach a course on North American
geography. The man has been all over the map, including Chicago,
where he had five truncated stints with the White Sox (left, in
1986) in three seasons.


1983 Glens Falls (Eastern) 71 233 29 57 3 32 .245
1984 Appleton (Midwest) 122 424 68 111 7 80 .262
1985 Glens Falls (Eastern) 119 422 64 131 17 81 .310
Buffalo (Amer. Assoc.) 21 64 16 19 7 14 .297
1986 Buffalo (AA) 106 365 52 97 13 57 .266
Chicago (AL) 49 159 18 40 4 17 .252
1987 Hawaii (PCL) 89 294 52 79 9 53 .269
1988 Vancouver (PCL) 69 257 40 77 5 45 .300
Chicago (AL) 40 75 8 18 0 3 .240
1989 Vancouver (PCL) 61 216 18 60 1 23 .278
Chicago (AL) 37 58 5 13 0 8 .224
1990 Omaha (AA) 121 436 6 13 13 81 .298
Kansas City (AL) 12 37 5 10 1 3 .270
1991 Kansas City (AL) 12 23 1 6 0 1 .261
Omaha (AA) 88 316 46 83 7 50 .263
1992 Nashville (AA) 101 384 53 119 14 63 .310
1993 Buffalo (AA) 119 409 79 131 22 77 .320
1994 Edmonton (PCL) 114 406 69 142 19 82 .350
Florida (NL) 13 33 2 7 1 2 .212
1995 Charlotte (IL) 44 169 28 53 6 36 .314
Florida (NL) 34 72 9 20 3 7 .278
1996 Charlotte (IL) 80 289 59 96 18 77 .332
Florida (NL) 6 6 0 1 0 0 .167
1997 Charlotte (IL) 117 395 82 126 33 99 .319
Florida (NL) 4 7 3 2 1 2 .286
1998 Durham (IL) 43 166 20 43 2 27 .259

Major League Totals (9 years) 207 470 51 117 10 43 .249

"I had a five-year timetable to get to the majors. Obviously,
I didn't stick to it."

In his first major league game, he tied a record. A month later,
things started to bog down.

"I don't want people feeling sorry for Russ," Loretta says,
"because he's playing the game he loves."