BlueClaws Year in Review

yearinreview2011We’ve done this the last two years and we’re doing it again this year…the annual BlueClaws Year in Review post. Click here for 2010 in review and click here for 2009 in review.

Sultan of Swat Award goes to 1B Jim Murphy, who hit 22 home runs this year to tie the franchise single-season home run record originally set in 2001 by Juan Richardson. In the process, Murphy also broke the franchise all-time home run record (the same 22 from Richardson) in May when he hit his 9th home run, adding onto the 14 he hit with Lakewood in 2009.

Will White Award goes to RHP David Buchanan. White, as you know, threw 75 complete games for the 1879 Cincinnati Reds (75! – he threw 680 innings). Buchanan, meanwhile, threw a complete game for the BlueClaws on May 7th in Charleston, becoming the first BlueClaws player to throw a nine-inning complete game since Carlos Monasterios in 2007.

Jack Chesbro Award goes to RHP Lisalberto Bonilla. Bonilla followed up Buchanan on July 6th by throwing nine shutout innings but was denied the win when the BlueClaws couldn’t score for him. Lakewood would win the game in the 10th inning but Bonilla would get a no-decision. We couldn’t give him the Will White Award because he didn’t get the win but he gets the Jack Chesbro Award – Chesbro threw a mere 48 complete games with the 1904 NY Highlanders, the most in an American League season.

Grant Hill Award goes to RHP Ryan Duke (figure it out). Duke joined the BlueClaws in late July as a 25th round pick from Oklahoma earlier in the year. He had six saves and gave up just two earned runs in 15 innings with Lakewood as part of a great debut season.

Bob Nieman Award for 3B Drew Hillman. Nieman homered in his first two at bats for the Red Sox in 1951. Hillman, who joined the BlueClaws on August 18th, had a two run HR and an RBI double in his first BlueClaws game, a win over Greensboro in front of the largest crowd of the season and 5th largest crowd in team history – 9,503.

Mike Munchak Award for Greg Legg. Munchak, the coach of the Tennessee Titans, was drafted by the organization, then the Houston Oilers, in 1982 and has been with the team since, as a player (a Hall of Famer), assistant coach, and now the head coach. Legger, meanwhile, has been with the Phillies for the same time period as a player, coach and manager. He was honored by the Phillies and the BlueClaws this year.

Nice Knowing You Award to OF Domingo Santana. Santana was named, on August 16th, as the player-to-be-named later in the deal that brought Hunter Pence to the Phillies. He joined Lexington, still in the South Atlantic League, in the Astros organization and hit .382-5-21 in just 17 games with the Legends.

Garden State Award for best New Jersey BlueClaw to OF Bill Rice. Rice, who is from Sewell, NJ and went to Washington Township HS, joined the BlueClaws in late July and hit .293 with eight stolen bases while playing a very good LF. After starting 4-20 while playing sporadically, he finished 32-103.

Laser Award to 3B Maikel Franco. Franco hit a home run off #2 overall pick Jameson Taillon that left the park in about 1.5 seconds. 95 mph fastball on the outer half and Franco just turned it around and out quickly in a most impressive home run. Franco will likely be Lakewood’s starting 3B on Opening Day this year.

Willie Mays Hayes Award for OF Anthony Hewitt. Hewitt had 36 stolen bases in 41 attempts this year. He ranked 2nd in the league in steals.

O Canada Award for best Canadian goes to LHP Jay Johnson. “JJ,” a side-arming lefty, played for Canada in the Pan-Am Games this past off-season and after signing with the Phillies in spring training, he had a 2.94 ERA with 49 strikeouts in 49 innings with Lakewood this year. He had an inauspicious debut, walking all for hitters he faced, but turned into one of Lakewood’s most valuable relievers.

Experienced Traveler Award to LHP Austin Wright. An 8th round pick from Ole Miss, Wright was flying from Williamsport to Philly to Salisbury (MD) to make his BlueClaws debut the next night when his Philly to Salisbury flight was canceled. He ended up meeting a baseball fan and fellow stranded traveler who rented a car and drove down to Salisbury. Wright gave up a run in six innings the next night and won his first start. He would go on to finish with a 2.67 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 33.2 innings with the BlueClaws.

Attendance Boost Award goes to Nationals OF Bryce Harper. Playing with Hagerstown, Harper made his FirstEnergy Park debut on May 13th and 8,215 fans came out to see him. The next day, in front of over 7,000, he homered to account for the only scoring in a 1-0 Suns win. The BlueClaws were also in Hagerstown for Harper’s home debut in April which brought out 6,500 fans to a stadium that comfortably holds about 4,900. And it was 45 degrees. With 30 mph winds.

Former Shortstop Award to RHP Lendy Castillo, who was converted to the mound last year. This year with the BlueClaws, he went 4-2, 2.54 and got picked by the Cubs in the Rule 5 Draft. If he makes the team, he could well be the 40th BlueClaw to go From the Shore to the Show.

Rolling Stones ‘Start Me Up’ Award to LHP Mario Hollands, who threw five shutout innings on Opening Night in a 2-0 win over Kannapolis. As it worked out, the BlueClaws did not allow a run over the first 24 innings of the season, but ended up 1-1. How does that work? In game two, after 15 scoreless innings, Kannapolis put two on the board in the 16th and won 2-0.

Robin Ventura Award for 3B Travis Mattair. This was an easy one. On July 4th, Mattair hit what appeared to be a walk-off grand slam to beat Hagerstown in the bottom of the 9th. He ran around the bases, threw his helmet off and jumped into the pile. However, the umpires ruled that the ball did not clear the wall as we thought (everyone thought the ball had hit a picnic table on the other side of the fence before bouncing back). Since it was a tie game, only one run was needed, and one run counted, for a true “Grand Slam Single.”

Rollie Fingers Award for best Moustache goes to 1B Jim Murphy. This was tweeted to us:

cheering on and appreciating Jim Murphy and his awesome mustache! &
Here is a picture. And finally…
PETA Award goes to this unnamed Hagerstown player who threw water on one of our horses coming down the stretch of the Preakness preview race, Mucho Macho Man. Mucho Macho Man, incidentally, for those that care about such things, is on the comeback trail.


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