BBA Hall of Fame: Center Field Wing

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BBA Hall of Fame: Center Field Wing

Post by RonCo » Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:26 pm

"Center Fielders"
A Wing of the BBA Hall of Fame

The Position of the Center Fielder

These are the men that patrolled the wide-open spaces of the BBA Centerfields, the men that ran like the wind, soared high to pluck balls out of the sky and fired the ball back in. The corner outfielders bowed down to their leadership. All the while they hit long bombs, stole bases and led their teams with their bat as well as their defence
Tom Laverriere
1973 - 1993

Player Page

2,625 Hits, 194 HR, 1,154 RBI, 913 SB, .303/.356/.497, 89.3 WAR
Landis Memorial Ring 1980
Awards NONE
All-Star Appearances: NONE
Laverriere debuted in the BBA back in 1978 with the Louisville Sluggers. He won his one & only Landis ring in 1980 with them, in 1980 & 81 he stole a total of 168 bases and drove in 162 runs between the two years after which Las Vegas swooped to take him to the Hustlers in 1982. He spent the next four years bouncing between LV and Omaha Barnstormers, he spent 513 games playing for the Hustlers and 161 in two spells with the Barnstormers. Mid-1986 he headed for Hawaii at the age of 31 and over the next six and a half years he added over 1,000 games to his resume becoming a solid double-digit home run hitter, reaching the 20-homer plateau on three occasions. In his penultimate season in Hawaii at the age of 36 he had his first 100 RBI season, he managed 91 the next year but his time was over. In 1993 he had brief stops in Washington and New Orleans before finishing his BBA career with eight games for Phoenix. He retired then and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996
Sawyer ‘So Smooth’ Silk
1981 - 1995

Player Page

2,178 Hits, 478 HR, 1,599 RBI, 20 SB, .291/.378/.581, 84.9 WAR
Frick League Hitter of the Year: 1985, 1987, 1988 and 1990
Owners Choice Rookie Award: 1982
All-Star Appearances: NONE

Silk debuted in the BBA at the age of 23 with five games in 1981 for the New Orleans Crawdads. He went on to only twice play less than 150 games for them in the next nine years. In that time he made the Frick League Hitter of the Year Award his own, winning it four times, hitting 343 homers and driving in 1128 runs. In 1987 he scored 166 times which is still a single season record as we reach 2035. Finally, in 1991 he moved on to the Birmingham Bandits at the age of 33 where he played 467 times in his three years there, compiling 30+ homer / 100+ RBI each year. His final stop was Madison in 1994 where he played his final 235 games in a 2,057 BBA games career. 1994 was the only year he struck out more than 39 times and after the 1995 season he was released by Madison and hung up his cleats in 1998 before being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1999. The BBA finally named the Hitter of the Year Award after him in recognition of his four trophies.
Bolt Vanderhugen
1989 - 2007

Player Page

2,647 Hits, 591 HR, 1,715 RBI, 298 SB, .295/.350/.556, 80.7 WAR
Frick League Hitter of the Year: 1994
Frick League Yogi Zimmer Diamond Glove Award at CF: 1995, 1999
All-Star Appearances: 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2007

Vanderhugen’s BBA debut came at 20 in 1989 for the Birmingham Bandits. He played 10 games in his breakthrough season and 128 in 1990 before he was shipped to Montreal. He spent the next seven seasons in the Blazers outfielder until 1998 when he was traded to Madison seven games into the season. He had twice hit over 40 homers in a season in Montreal’s colours as well as four 100+ RBI seasons. He was a commanding CF, twice winning a fielding award at the position and continued his good form in Madison driving in 101 runs in 1998. In 1999 he hit a career best 49 homers and went on to play for the Wolves until 2005 when at the age of 36 he joined California. His spell there was brief and in late 2006 he re-joined Madison for one last hurrah. And what a hurrah, in his last BBA season at the age of 38 he played in 159 games hitting 52 homers and driving in 147 runs. He made eight All-Star appearances including three consecutive in his final three years before leaving Madison at the end of 2007. He retired in 2009 and was a member of the 2013 induction class.
Armando Santos
1996 - 2013

Player Page

2,262 Hits, 263 HR, 1,059 RBI, 824 SB, .298/.406/.505, 80.8 WAR
Frick League Yogi Zimmer Diamond Glove Award at CF: 2005
All-Star Appearances : 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006

Santos was the BBA’s #1 prospect when he made his debut for Omaha as a September call-up in 1996 aged 18. In his first full year he stole 83 bases and in his second he led the Johnson League in runs (131 & steals (62). At the age of 21 during the 1999 season he moved to Seattle where he would spend his prime years. The first four years of the 2000’s he led the Johnson league in bases swiped including 102 in 2001. Gradually becoming more patient at the plate he walked 98 times that year and in 2002 he led the JL with 122 walks and again in 2003 with 106. In 2006 he moved during the season to the Greenville Moonshiners just 65 games shy of the 1,000 mark for the Storm. Over the next seven seasons he added 692 appearances for the Moonshiners but never quite hit those heights again with his batting average dipping close to the Mendoza line and only twice getting more than 25 steals. In his final year, 2013, at age 35 he made just four appearances with eight AB’s failing to get a hit. He officially retired in 2015 but had to wait till 2025 before being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Tipper Kengos
1996 - 2016

Player Page

2,808 Hits, 74 HR, 900 RBI, 439 SB, .326/.428/.423, 85.2 WAR
Awards: none
All-Star Appearances: 1999, 2007, 2015

Tipper made his BBA debut in 1996, aged 19, for the New Orleans Crawdads playing in nine games. Over the next 13 seasons he would take his appearance total to 1,506 BBA games. Never really a slugger Kengos hit a career high 13 homers in his rookie season and never hit more than 63 RBI in a season. Where he was consistent was his average, in only two of his seasons with the Crawdads did he fail to hit .300 and led the Frick League in 2001 with a .458 OBP. At 32 in 2009 he moved to the Vancouver Mounties. In his three seasons there his best stats were 108 runs scored and 119 walks in 2010. The final 33 games of 2011 saw him head for his final BBA franchise, Seattle. Even in the twilight of his career he still kept his average over .300 with an OBP over .400. After 2,278 career games he finally left Seattle age 39 at the end of 2016, retiring in 2018. He was inducted to the Hall in 2026
Ross White
1997 - 2009

Player Page

2,089 Hits, 373 HR, 1,158 RBI, 139 SB, .320/.395/.558, 73.7 WAR
Landis Memorial Rings: 2003, 2005, 2006
Frick League Joe Gillstrom Newcomer of the Year: 1997
Frick League Sawyer Silk Silver Slugger Award: 1997, 1998, 2000
Frick League Yogi Zimmer Diamond Glove Award at CF: 1997
All-Star Appearances: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2007

White burst upon the BBA as a 23-yr-old in 1997 with Atlantic City. Leading the Frick League in homers (47), average (.360), OBP (.438), SLG (.658) and OPS (.1096) he made the All-Star game as well as winning the Newcomer of the Year, the Silver Slugger Award and the CF Diamond Glove award in his rookie year in the league. The next year he again led all the batting average categories and had his second straight 40+ homer / 100+ RBI season, his WAR dropped from 11.2 to 10.0. From there it was all downhill to some extent, he still led the FL with 231 hits in 2000 but never really hit those opening heights again. Mid-2003 he left for the Las Vegas Hustlers where he had six more solid if unspectacular seasons, solid to the extent that he was selected to the All-Star game three consecutive times and picked up three Landis rings but never troubled the league leading awards again. After making just two plate appearances in 2009 he left Las Vegas and finally retired in 2012. He was inducted in 2016.
Juan Heredia
2003 - 2024

Player Page

2,674 Hits, 207 HR, 1,126 RBI, 82 SB, .306/.381/.449, 81.4 WAR
Landis Memorial Ring: 2023
Frick League Joe Gillstrom Newcomer of the Year: 2003
Frick League Yogi Zimmer Diamond Glove Award at CF: 2009, 2011
All-Star Appearances: 2003, 2007, 2011, 2012, 2016

Heredia debuted with Long Beach in 2003 aged 23 and went on to win the Newcomer of the Year Award amassing 193 hits and an average of .321 along with 19 homers & 78 RBI. He went on to spend 14 years with Long Beach, his best being 2007 when he led the Frick League with 250 hits, 132 runs scored and 11.3 WAR. In 2012 he again led the FL with 7.6 WAR. At the end of 2016, aged 36 with 1,783 BBA games to his credit he left the Surfers and spent the last eight years of his career on a grand tour of the BBA with stops in Hawaii, Montreal, Carolina, Valencia, Seattle, Montreal (again) before finally arriving at Huntsville in 2023 age 43 just in time to pick up his one Landis Ring. Finally, in 2024 he made two appearances with Huntsville and three with Hawaii before calling it a day having made 2,298 appearances with seven different franchises. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2026
Jorge Rodriguez
2018 - 2034

Player Page

2508 hits, 505 HR, 1651 RBI, .293/.350/.518 80.9 WAR
Sawyer Silk Award: 2022, 2023
6-Time Charles Puckett Golden Bat
6-time Zimmer Diamond Glove
8-Time All-Star

Combined with Juan Escobar, part of a marque dynamic duo. Rodriguez was a sublime fielder, and combined that athletic grace with a bat that terrorized pitchers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2036.
Emilio "Sunshine" Rodriguez
2016 - 2034

Player Page

Active Career: 2016-2034 (19 seasons)
2457 hits, 486 HR, 1459 RBI, .295/.331/.539 73.3 WAR
Landis Champion 2031
Joe Gilstrom ROY: 2018
7-Time Charles Pucket Golden Bat
3-time Zimmer Diamond Glove
11-Time All-Star

Emilio Rodriguez broke in with Louisville, and then became a bit of a vagabond, playing with seven clubs (and winning a Landis with Jacksonville. He combined a fearsome bat from the left side of the plate with a glove of Zimmer quality.
Yellow Springs Nine
Playoff Regular, Landis Averse

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