This Day in Red Wings History: Coffie’s heroics lift Rochester past Toledo

Ivanon Coffie. (Photo courtesy of Rochester Red Wings)

By TOM GARIGEN

July 30, 2001

It’s easy to get caught in a Baseball Reference vortex.

After all, the astonishing vastness of the website and its statistical offerings is so overwhelming, it could keep a baseball junkie busy for days on end.  You can track down Wins Above Replacement leaders from the 19th century. Or you could make a chain of teammates spanning almost 100 years to connect Babe Ruth to Gleyber Torres (Ruth – Waite Hoyt – Bert Haas – Curt Simmons – Steve Carlton – Terry Mulholland – CC Sabathia – Torres). 

You can find stats from the Minor Leagues, Negro Leagues, foreign leagues, even summer collegiate leagues. It takes little effort to skip from one page to another, blissfully wasting away an afternoon in the process.

Sometimes, though, you come across a single BR page that is a vortex unto itself. Case in point – the meandering baseball career of Ivanon Coffie.

That career took Coffie to many places over the course of 15 seasons. Among his first stops were the Gulf Coast League, South Atlantic League, Carolina League, and even a cup of coffee (pun intended) in the Bigs with the Orioles. Another stop was in Rochester, where the Willemstad, Curacao, native had a game to remember against Toledo on this date 19 years ago.

Coffie put the Wings in front for good in the bottom of the eighth with a two-run single to help Rochester to a 6-4 victory in front of a crowd of 5,126. This was on the heels of a go-ahead solo homer he launched in the seventh.

“I’m surprised he doesn’t hit .300 every year,” Wings manager Andy Etchebarren told the Democrat & Chronicle of Coffie, who was coming off a three-hit performance the game prior. “He has such a good swing.”

Toledo scored once in the top of the first, but Rochester got it back when Eddy Garabito tripled and came around on a sacrifice fly from Eddy Martinez (I’m not sure how many times an Eddy has driven in another Eddy with a sac fly, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you could find it on Baseball Reference).

Coffie then drilled his third homer in the seventh to make it 2-1 before Toledo tied it in the top of the eighth. Mud Hen pitcher Shane Heams walked the bases loaded with one out in the bottom half, and Coffie came through with a hit up the middle to plate a pair.

Wady Almonte followed with another two-run hit to center to make it 6-2, and Jorge Julio worked around an error and a wild pitch in the ninth to hold off a late Toledo rally.

Wings starter John Parrish struck out 11 batters over seven strong innings. Rochester fanned 16 Mud Hens on the night – all swinging.

As for Coffie, the 56 games he played for the Wings in 2001 would be his last in Rochester. It would not, however, be the end of his incredible baseball journey. He would go on to spend time in the Pacific Coast League, Eastern League, Northern League, Texas League, the Dutch Majors, the Chinese Professional Baseball League, the Atlantic League, and the Italian baseball League before hanging up the cleats for good.

Talk about an incredible hat collection.

Red Wings 6, Mud Hens 4
Toledo AB R H BI Rochester AB R H BI
Alnswrth cf 5 1 1 1 Garabito 2b 4 1 2 0
Guevara ss 5 0 0 0 Mrtinez ss 1 1 1 1
Rios 3b 4 1 2 1 Sisco lf 3 0 0 0
Mouton rf 3 0 0 0 Pickring 1b 3 0 0 0
Becker rf 0 0 0 0 Rust pr/1b 0 1 0 0
Wkland lf 3 0 0 0 Leon 3b 3 1 0 0
Mendez c 4 0 1 0 Coffie dh 4 2 2 3
Bierek 1b 4 1 1 0 Almonte rf 4 0 1 2
Coqlltte dh 4 0 0 0 Raines Jr cf 4 0 2 0
Santana dh 2 1 1 0 Morales c 3 0 0 0
Totals 34 4 6 2   Totals 29 6 8 6
Toledo                                               1 0 0    0 0 0   0 1 2  – 4
Rochester                                                   1 0 0    0 0 0   1 4 x  – 6
E – Guevara, Rust. DP – Toledo 1. LOB – Toledo 7, Rochester 5. 2B – Rios. 3B – Garabito. HR – Allensworth (8), Rios (10), Coffee (3). SH – Martinez. SF – Martinez. SB – Santana 3, Raines Jr.
Toledo IP H R ER BB SO
Bernero 7 6 2 2 0 5
Hearns L, 1-1 1 2 4 4 3 1
Rochester IP H R ER BB SO
Parrish 7 3 1 1 2 11
Paronto .2 1 1 1 0 2
Shmkr W, 5-6 .1 0 0 0 1 0
Julio 1 2 2 0 0 3
WP – Hearns, Parrish. HBP – by Parrish (Wakeland), by Bernero (Sisco). T – 2:54. Umpires – Home, John Bennett; 1st, Trop Blades; 3rd, Andy Shults. Attendance – 5,126.  

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