Today is Juan Richardson’s birthday.
Who’s that, you ask?
Richardson, who turns 33 today, was the third baseman on the first-ever BlueClaws team. That 2001 team was managed by Greg Legg, current BlueClaws hitting coach.
Richardson had played in this league (South Atlantic League) in 2000 but with Piedmont (now Kannapolis) before the Phillies moved their affiliation from down in North Carolina to up here at the Jersey Shore.
That first season, Richardson hit 22 home runs, the BlueClaws single-season and franchise records, and drove in 83 runs. The 22 home runs stood alone until this year, when Jim Murphy hit 22 of his own to tie the single-season mark and, combined with the 14 he hit in 2009, Murphy passed Richardson’s all-time home run total.
Richardson played five years of Double-A ball, two with Reading, two in the Cardinals system and one (2008) in the Royals system. He has spent the last three years in independent leagues, this year with Wichita in the American Association where he hit .360 with 12 home runs in 98 games.
Richardson will always hold a place in BlueClaws history, and his 22 home runs are still the most ever hit by a BlueClaw in a single season (now tied with Murphy).
Happy Birthday to Juan Richardson.