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Scott Patterson was the first. The 2016 squad had five get the call.
If you entered the stadium having passed by the exterior third base brick wall, you probably noticed an array of ten banners honoring the first 10 greats who have gone from Prince Street to Major League Baseball, heading into the 2018 season.
The display is sponsored by Rodgers & Associates, an area wealth management firm and one of the Barnstormers long-time partners at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
Patterson, who most recently served as the club’s pitching coach in 2017, threw the first and last pitches of the inaugural season at Clipper Magazine Stadium. In 2008, the right-hander made his debut for the New York Yankees, becoming the first ex-Stormer to arrive at the pinnacle of the game.
Afterward, there were the likes of local product Matt Watson, journeyman lefty Tom Cochran and right-hander Yoslan Herrera.
Jerome Williams, a former San Francisco Giant and Chicago Cubs right-hander, made a six-week stop in Lancaster in 2011. The affable right-hander from Hawaii made quite a splash with the ‘Stormers, going 6-0 in less than two months. By the end of that season, he returned to Major League baseball with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and spent a portion or all of six straight years in the big leagues through a stint with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2016.
The 2016 season produced the most players making the trip from Prince Street to MLB. Lefties Andrew Albers and Phil Coke each started for Lancaster in a doubleheader at Southern Maryland on April 23, 2016. It would be the only Atlantic League appearance for both southpaws, who both got back to the big leagues – Coke with the Yankees and Albers with the Twins – by the end of that season. Left-handed reliever Matt Reynolds advanced to the San Francisco Giants later that year, and outfielder Logan Schafer earned a late season callup to Minnesota.
That squad’s fifth member to advance to Major League Baseball was right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx, who earned his promotion to MLB when he was summoned to the Texas Rangers in the middle of last season. Bibens-Dirkx made his mark as a 32-year old rookie by defeating the Washington Nationals at Nats Park and the New York Yankees in the Bronx.
It marks an Atlantic League record for one club in one season. It also points out that the Atlantic League continues to grow in the level of skill on display nights in its ballparks.
Earlier this spring, 2015 Lancaster closer Marcus Walden became the 11th ex-Barnstormer to make a Major League roster, joining the Boston Red Sox out of spring training. He is the fourth to make his big league debut after spending time wearing a ‘Stormers jersey. His banner will be added to the wall at a later date.
There will be more. The only questions are who and when.
“We always want to put a spotlight on the quality of baseball played at Clipper Magazine Stadium,” said Barnstormers vice president Kristen Simon. “As longtime supporters, Rodgers & Associates also believes greatly in the baseball product here in Lancaster.”
We are pleased to support the Lancaster Barnstormers in their effort to bring family entertainment to our community while providing an opportunity for baseball players to build a better future,” said Rick Rodgers, CFP, CRPC, President of Rodgers & Associates.