Patrick Reusse has been covering sports in the Twin Cities since 1968. He has been a Star Tribune sports columnist since 1988. His sportswriting credo is twofold: 1. God will provide an angle; 2. The smaller the ball, the better the writing.

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Saints slugger Sheldon back for another summer

Posted by: Patrick Reusse Updated: July 10, 2013 - 6:03 PM

The Oklahoma Sooners play baseball at a field named in honor of Dale Mitchell, a legend as a Sooners' hitter and a long-time big-leaguer after World War II.

Ole Sheldon was an Oklahoma hitting star early in the 2000s. He was having one of his best days at Dale Mitchell, with four hits against Texas Tech.

“And then I hit a shot to the left of the third baseman, he didn’t make the play, and I was thinking, ‘I’m 5 for 5,’ ‘’ Sheldon said.

Danielle Felton was the media communications coordinator for the Sooners, and also served as the scorekeeper for home baseball games. Her ruling: an error.

“I still complain about that call,’’ Sheldon said. “And Danielle says, ‘The third baseman had to make that play.’ She was a tough official scorer. Everything is called a hit now, even in the big leagues, and it drives her crazy.’’

Sheldon gets a chance to bring up this complain on the regular basis, since he and Danielle are now married and have a 2-year-old daughter, Collins. The Sheldons both teach in Belleview, Fla. school district.

“I was full-time for the first time, teaching economics, this past school year,’’ Sheldon said. “I wasn’t going to play ball this summer.’’

Sheldon was sitting in the home dugout at Midway Stadium. He’s back playing as a right-handed power threat for the St. Paul Saints. He first came to St. Paul for a month in 2009, and has been in the lineup on a regular basis since 2010.

What happened?

“George called and said, ‘What else are you going to do this summer?' ''Sheldon said. “And Danielle said, ‘Yeah, what else are you going to do this summer?'

“So, here I am.''

George would be George Tsamis, the manager and chief recruiter of players for the Saints of the independent American Association.

When Sheldon talks about his numbers in St. Paul, he says, “I hit 22 home runs and drove in 79 for George in 2010,’’ and he was able to produce this or that “for George’’ in ensuing summers.

Sheldon was a 14th-round draft choice for Houston in 2004 after his junior season at Oklahoma. He received $75,000 to sign. He spent five years in the Astros’ organization, where the minor league bosses said that a 6-foot-4 first baseman should be a power hitter, rather than the high average hitter that Sheldon was in his amateur days.

“I put my hands higher, loaded up and swung hard,’’ Sheldon said. “That’s still my deal.’’

Sheldon started at Greeneville, Tenn. in the rookie league in 2004. His team won the Appalachian League title and he had the title-winning hit. Four years later, Sheldon went 13, 55 and .282 at Class AA Corpus Christi, and was released by the Astros.

“That’s when I came to St. Paul for the first time in ’09,’’ Sheldon said. “I was signed out of here by Cleveland.’’

Sheldon spent the summer in the Carolina League with the Indians, was released again and came to the Saints in 2010. He participated fully for three seasons, but the teaching job caused him to miss the first month of this year's schedule.

He returned on June 8 as the Saints’ all-time leader with 60 home runs and 243 RBI.

“I didn’t have the usual spring training,’’ Sheldon said. “When I found out I was coming back, another teacher who had played some ball threw to me, and a couple of high school players.’’

Sheldon smiled and said: “The swing was a little slow when I got here.’’

The Saints are scheduled to play the second half of this season and 2014 in wornout Midway, then move to the new digs in Lowertown of St. Paul. This will be the greatest upgrade ever for a Twin Cities sports team – better than the football Gophers from the Dome to the on-campus site, better than the Twins from the Dome to Target Field, better than the Vikings from the Dome to whatever grandeur waits in the Taj Ma Zygi.

Sheldon is 30. Tsamis was asked if expected his all-time Saints slugger to make it to the new ballpark, if indeed it does open as the team hopes in 2015?

“That’s up to Ole,’’ Tsamis said. “I’ll have a spot for him.’’

Sheldon looked at George through raised eyebrows and said: “Maybe I can be the assistant hitting coach in the summer.’’


Atlanta 2
Philadelphia 3 FINAL
NY Yankees 1
Detroit 5 FINAL
Baltimore 4
Toronto 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 1
Cincinnati 2 FINAL
Cleveland 4
San Diego 3 FINAL
Seattle 4
Chicago WSox 6 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Kansas City 13 FINAL
Texas 2
Oakland 9 FINAL
San Francisco 2
Wisc-Milwaukee 0 FINAL
Milwaukee 8
Arizona 6 FINAL
Colorado 3
Univ of Minnesota 1 FINAL
Minnesota 3
New York 82 FINAL
Indiana 105
Phoenix 105 FINAL
Orlando 100
Cleveland 120 FINAL
Toronto 112
Utah 84 FINAL
Boston 85
Charlotte 115 FINAL
Brooklyn 91
Denver 100 FINAL
Minnesota 85
Detroit 85 FINAL
New Orleans 88
LA Lakers 94 FINAL
Miami 100
Philadelphia 118 FINAL
Oklahoma City 123
Memphis 102 FINAL
Houston 100
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San Antonio 112
Milwaukee 93 FINAL
Golden State 102
Portland 98 FINAL
LA Clippers 93
Ottawa 3 FINAL
Winnipeg 1
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Longwood 65 FINAL
Presbyterian 61
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Gardner-Webb 72
Liberty 70 FINAL
UNC-Asheville 80
Ohio State 77 FINAL
Penn State 67
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Fordham 66
George Washington 67 FINAL
George Mason 51
Tennessee 78 FINAL
LSU 63
Notre Dame 71 FINAL
Louisville 59
SE Missouri St 74 FINAL
Morehead State 79
St Francis-PA 73 FINAL
Mount St Marys 58
Hartford 63 FINAL
New Hampshire 67
Wagner 68 FINAL
Robert Morris 91
Long Island 70 FINAL
St Francis-NY 79
La Salle 50 FINAL
Saint Josephs 55
Providence 79 FINAL
Seton Hall 66
South Florida 74
Binghamton 57 FINAL
Stony Brook 62
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Bryant 91
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Massachusetts 53
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Duke 94
Purdue 66 FINAL
Michigan State 72
Miami-Florida 67 FINAL
Pittsburgh 63
St Bonaventure 64 FINAL
Saint Louis 48
New Mexico St 69 FINAL
TX-Pan American 48
Houston 68 FINAL
Tulane 63
Howard 62 FINAL
Oklahoma State 82
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
Tulsa 47
Miss State 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Utah State 53 FINAL
Wyoming 76
St Johns 67 FINAL
Marquette 51
SIU Edwardsville 66 FINAL
Eastern Ill 78
Air Force 66 FINAL
Fresno State 68
Nebraska 57 FINAL
Illinois 69
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Nevada 62
Boise State 68 FINAL
San Jose St 51
San Diego St 60 FINAL
Oregon 65 FINAL
Oregon State 62
UC Santa Barbara 98 FINAL
Hawaii 90
Toledo 64 FINAL
Northern Ill 68
Wake Forest 69 FINAL
Boston College 53
Eastern Illinois 35 FINAL
UT Martin 68
Austin Peay 69 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
NC State 56
Massachusetts 55 FINAL
St Bonaventure 49
Auburn 71 FINAL
Florida 49
Penn State 63 FINAL
Indiana 68
Clemson 53 FINAL
Georgia Tech 80
Davidson 63 FINAL
La Salle 74
Loyola-Maryland 46 FINAL
Lafayette 58
Boston U 48 FINAL
Colgate 58
Coll of Charleston 58 FINAL
James Madison 107
Delaware 76 FINAL
Elon 77
Drexel 58 FINAL
Northeastern 42
Hofstra 75 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 76
Towson 56 FINAL
William & Mary 68
Miami-Ohio 55 FINAL
Akron 67
Ball State 85 FINAL
Central Michigan 69
Buffalo 55 FINAL
Bowling Green 47
Western Mich 65 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 74
Ohio U 69 FINAL
Kent State 56
Youngstown St 62 FINAL
Cleveland State 73
Illinois-Chicago 54 FINAL
Wright State 74
Alabama 56 FINAL
Vanderbilt 66
Detroit 60 FINAL
Milwaukee 56
Purdue 58 FINAL
Wisconsin 56


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