Former Northwoods pitchers Casey Coleman and Thomas Diamond were promoted to the Major Leagues this week. The duo was called up to the Chicago Cubs from the Triple-A affiliate, Iowa Cubs, where the two were roommates. Coleman and Diamond were promoted to fill the spots of Ted Lilly, who was traded to the Dodgers, and Carlos Silva, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
Coleman, a 15th round draft pick in 2008, saw his first MLB action in a loss on Monday night. Although the Cubs were beat 18-1, the appearance for Coleman was historic. His appearance made him part of a family trio that has three generations of pitchers that have reached the Majors. His father, Joe (1965-79), and his grandfather, Joe (1942-55), both pitched in the league and were All-Stars in 1972 and 1948 respectively. The Coleman’s are the fourth family to have three generation of Major League players, joining the Bell’s, Boone’s and Hairston’s.
Thomas Diamond was also promoted to the Chicago Cubs and received the start Tuesday night against the Milwaukee Brewers. Diamond, the 10th overall pick in the 2004 draft, was brilliant in his debut. The righty struck out ten over 6.0 innings, but earned the loss as the Cubs lost their 38th one-run game (13-25) of the 2010 season. Diamond will get his 2nd start Sunday at Wrigley Field against the National League Central leading Cincinnati Reds.
Diamond dominated the Northwoods League as a starting pitcher with the St. Cloud River Bats during the 2003 season after pitching for the team as a reliever in 2002. The ’03 All-Star finished with a 6-1 record and a 1.63 ERA. He struck out 103 batters compared to 21 walks in 71.2 innings. His best NWL performance came in a June 15, 2003 no-hitter at Alexandria where he struck out 17 batters while walking just one. The 6’3’’ righty returned to the University of New Orleans before becoming a first-round pick by the Texas Rangers. Injuries, including a Tommy John surgery in 2007, forced the Metairie, LA native to spend seven seasons in the minor leagues before his MLB debut on Tuesday.
Coleman’s path from the Northwoods League to the big leagues was much quicker. He was a pitcher and an infielder for the Alexandria Beetles in 2007; however, his numbers weren’t dominating in either role (.214 batting average and 5.81 ERA). The hard-throwing right-hander attended Florida Gulf Coast and went 16-6 on the mound with 171 strikeouts, helping lead the Eagles to a 119-49 record over his three year career. Coleman was also a force at the plate while splitting time at second base, shortstop and third base. Coleman batted .318 with 98 runs scored, 156 hits, 26 doubles, nine triples, eight home runs and 97 RBI.
Follow Coleman and Diamond as they are in the Majors at www.northwoodsleague.com and www.chicagocubs.com.
The Northwoods League has more teams, plays more games, and draws more fans than any Summer Collegiate Baseball League in North America. Coleman and Diamond are the 67th and 68th NWL alumni to appear in Major League Baseball.