The best Augusta ever saw



A long line of action shots featuring Major League Baseball stars covers the back of the grandstands at Lake Olmstead Stadium. The names and photographs highlight some of the top athletes that have played in Augusta before moving on.

Jerry Kothera, who has seen almost a decade of minor league baseball as an usher at Lake Olmstead Stadium, has seen many of those stars come through town.

"What I've seen here is a very good representation of what most low-A teams would like to see," he said. "Other teams could only hope to have the type of players we've had. You could almost make a whole team with just the stars that have come through here."

After almost 23 consecutive seasons of baseball in Augusta, there seems to be plenty of big-time names for such a list.

With consultation from fans, former media, GreenJackets staff and others with knowledge of Augusta's modern minor league baseball history, The Augusta Chronicle 's All-Augusta Pro Team was compiled, featuring the top minor league prospects who spent time as either a Pirate or GreenJacket.

Jason Kendall
Position: Catcher
In Augusta: As a 19-year-old , he hit .276 with 40 RBI and 17 doubles in 102 games during the 1993 season.
In the Majors: Currently in his 15th season, with Kansas City; Named an All-Star in 1996, '98 and 2000 with the Pirates and has been hit by pitches 252 times (leads all active players).


Carlos Garcia
Position: Middle infielder
In Augusta: Hit .290 with 13 doubles in 73 games played as a 20-year-old shortstop on the first-ever Pirates team in 1988.
In the Majors: Played 10 seasons, seven with Pittsburgh, mostly at second base and was an All-Star in 1994.

Pablo Sandoval
Position: Corner infielder
In Augusta: Hit one home run in 41 games as a first baseman during the 2006 season but also hit .265 with 20 doubles and 49 RBI.
In the Majors: Now in his third season with the Giants, he hit .330 in 2009 with 90 RBI and 44 doubles.

Hanley Ramirez
Position: Middle infielder
In Augusta: As a 19-year-old shortstop, he hit .275 with 50 RBI and led the team in doubles (24) and stolen bases (36) in 2003 .
In the Majors: Currently in his fifth season with the Marlins, he was named NL Rookie of the Year in 2006 and an All-Star in 2008 and 2009. He hit .342 to lead the NL in batting in 2008.

Tony Womack
Position: Middle infielder
In Augusta: Split time at shortstop and second base in 1992. He hit .245 for the Pirates and led the team with 50 stolen bases in 102 games.
In the Majors: Played 13 seasons and picked up a World Series ring with the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks. Named an All-Star in 1997 with the Pirates, and led the NL in steals from 1997 -99.

Moises Alou
Position: Outfield
In Augusta: Led the 1988 Pirates in hitting ( .313 ), slugging percentage (.464) and doubles (23) in 105 games .
In the Majors: Named to six All-Star teams in 17 seasons and finished with a .303 career average. Hit .321 with three homers and nine RBI in the 1997 World Series with Florida .
Mark Johnson
Position: Outfield
In Augusta: Played in 92 games at first base during the 1990-91 seasons; hit .254 and added a 2.08 ERA in two relief appearances.
In the Majors: Played seven seasons and hit .274 in 1996 with 47 RBI and finished fifth in the National League with a .994 fielding percentage at first base.

Lew Ford
Position: Outfield
In Augusta: Led the 2000 GreenJackets in hitting (.315), runs scored (122), hits (162), doubles (35), triples (11), walks (52) and stolen bases (52 )
In the Majors: Played five seasons for Minnesota, where he hit .272 ; stole 20 base in 2004 and hit .299 with 72 RBI.

Bronson Arroyo
Position: Starting pitcher
In Augusta: Went 8-6 with a 3.52 ERA; Struck out 107 in 135 innings in 26 starts.
In the Majors: Currently in his 11th season and fifth with Cincinnati ; named an All-Star in 2006 and made two relief appearances in the World Series to help Boston win in 2004.

Esteban Loaiza
Position: Starting pitcher
In A ugusta: Went 10-8 with a 2.89 ERA in 25 starts for the 1992 Pirates.
In the Majors: Struck out 1,382 batters in 14 seasons; named to two All-Star teams, including in 2003 when he lead the American League with 207 strikeouts. Finished his career with a 126-114 record.

Mike Gonzalez
Position: Relief pitcher
In Augusta: Pitched in 15 games during the 1997-98 seasons ; struck out 94 in 70 innings .
In the Majors: Now in his eighth season, had 24 saves in 2006 with a 2.17 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 54 innings for Pittsburgh; joined Atlanta's bullpen from 2007-09 and had a 2.42 ERA in 80 appearances during the 2009 season. Now with Baltimore.

Brian Wilson
Position: Relief pitcher
In Augusta: Named a South Atlantic League All-Star in 2005; was
5-1 with an 0.82 ERA in 26 games .
In the Majors: Currently in his fifth season with San Francisco; recorded 38 saves last season.

-- Compiled by Billy Byler




Sun, 08/20/2017 - 01:40