Tim Barker (minors02)
Timothy Neal Barker
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 175 lb.
- School Virginia Commonwealth University
- High School Wicomico High School
Infielder Tim Barker spent 10 years in the minor leagues, including five-and-a-half at Triple-A, but never got into a game in the majors. He was taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the sixth round of the 1989 amateur draft, between catcher Doug Mirabelli and pitcher Paul Quantrill.
The fleet-footed, eagle-eyed Barker began his career by hitting .313/.423/.493 with 25 stolen bases and 37 walks in 59 games for the Great Falls Dodgers. He was 6th in the Pioneer League in OBP, 6th in walks and was 3rd in steals (behind Tom Goodwin and Scott Pose). Barker was named the league's All-Star shortstop. The next year, he had 33 steals in 47 tries and 83 runs scored for the Bakersfield Dodgers while hitting .271/.375/.402. He tied Royce Clayton and Marc Griffin for 6th in the California League in steals, missed the top 10 in walks by one, missed the top 10 in runs by two and led league shortstops in fielding percentage (.946) and double plays (84). Clayton was named the All-Star shortstop.
In 1991, he swiped 32 bags (caught 13 times) and had a .413 on-base percentage (.292 AVG, .377 SLG) for the San Antonio Missions. He tied Bert Hunter for 9th in the Texas League in steals, was second to Tim Salmon in walks (89 to 80) and was 4th in OBP (between Reggie Williams and Ruben Escalera). Clayton again beat him out for All-Star honors.
Back with San Antonio in 1992 (due to top Dodgers prospect Jose Offerman remaining at AAA), Barker stole 25 bases in 34 tries but slumped to .271/.342/.346 with only 33 walks. He was 8th in the TL in swipes. On December 24, 1992, he was traded to the Montreal Expos for third baseman Tim Wallach. He reached Triple-A for the first time in 1993, batting .228/.340/.305 in 51 games with the Ottawa Lynx. Overall that season, he batted .270/.375/.375 with 12 steals on the strength of a .308/.406/.438 line in 49 games with the Double-A Harrisburg Senators.
Triple-A is where he would remain for the rest of his career. In the Milwaukee Brewers chain in 1994 and 1995, Barker stole 41 and 10 bases for the New Orleans Zephyrs, respectively. As a utility man for New Orleans in '94 (playing all four infield spots plus the outfield), he hit .264/.380/.388 with 76 walks and 7 triples. He tied for 8th in the 1994 American Association in triples, tied Tony Womack for second in steals (behind Goodwin), led in walks (one more than Rob Ducey) and was 9th in OBP (between Allen Battle and Phil Stephenson). In another season, it may have been enough for a September call-up, but the 1994 strike ended the MLB season before September rolled around. His batting line in 1995 was .258/.339/.341 as he played every position except pitcher and catcher.
With the Columbus Clippers of the New York Yankees system in 1996 and 1997, he had 24 and 14 steals, respectively. For the first year, he batted .266/.356/.388 while being the team's most-used second sacker. He tied Felipe Crespo for 10th in the 1996 IL in walks (56), tied for 4th in triples (8, even with Tilson Brito, Rob Butler, Alex Cole, Shannon Stewart and Ricky Otero) and was 8th in steals. The next year, he batted .279/.375/.418, primarily backing up Homer Bush at 2B and Shane Spencer in LF.
He played for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox in the Colorado Rockies chain to wrap up his career in 1998. That season, he produced at a .266/.333/.317 clip and was their most-used second baseman. He also pitched, working two hitless innings (two walks, one K) over two games. That meant that catcher was the only position he did not play at the AAA level (or during his pro career).
Overall, Barker batted .273/.372/.382 with 221 stolen bases and 495 walks in 967 games.
He later worked as a pharmaceutical rep before dying of cancer at age 52.