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Boston Colonials related news

Frank Thomas and Mike Mussina elected to ULB Hall of Fame!

The Class of 2015 is here, and for the first time we will have two players entering the ULB Hall of Fame. Both players were considered one of the greatest at their respective positions throughout the early decade and a half of the ULB.

player_9363Mike Mussina (Vancouver Canucks,1996-2003; St. Paul Saints, 2004, Las Vegas Vipers, 2004; New Mexico Suns, 2007)

Elected with 82.3% of Votes, Second Year on Ballot (62.5%, 2010)

Mussina was a dominant force in the early history of the ULB, helping the Vancouver Canucks to reach the Union Cup in 1996 and 1997. Mussina totaled 144 wins in the ULB and added 89 in the MLB for a total of 233 wins in both leagues. He led the ULB in wins in 1996, 1997 and 1998. He amassed 3 Nolan Ryan Trophies (1996, 1998 and 2002) and was elected to the All Star Game 7 times in his 10 years in the ULB.

Honors and Awards
Award Years Times Won
Nolan Ryan Award 1996, 1998, 2002 3
All-Star 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004 7
Pitcher of the Month 7/97, 9/97, 6/98, 4/00, 6/00, 5/02, 6/04 7


player_12902Frank Thomas (Boston Colonials, 1998-2004; Oklahoma City RedHawks, 2005; Phoenix Fire, 2008-2009)

Elected with 76.5% of Votes, First Year on Ballot

The Big Hurt came over to the ULB signing  a 5 year contract with the Colonials in the 1997-1998 offseason worth a then record $102,500,000 million. Gripes about him being overpaid were quickly quieted as he led the league in Home Runs and Runs Batted in his 1998 season. He would go on to hit 243 Home Runs with the Colonials and added 9 more in short seasons plagued by injuries with the Oklahoma City RedHawks and Phoenix Fire. Thomas added a Fielding Bible Award at 1B in 2000 and was elected to the All Star Team four times with the Colonials. Thomas would add another 248 Homers in his MLB career to reach a total of 500 home runs. In his combined ULB and MLB career he had a total of 2,233 hits, and was also an MVP in 1993 and 1994 in the MLB with the Chicago White Sox.

Former San Jose Jedi General Manager Mak Dolnick, now an executive assistant to White Sox Owner Joe Reinsdorf, commented on Thomas’ election.

“He’s the Big Hurt, what else needs to be said?”

Honors and Awards
Award Years Times Won
Fielding Bible Award Winners 2000 (1B) 1
All-Star 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 4

Of those not making the cut, Washington’s Larry Walker fell just short of getting ‘The Call’ in his 4th year of eligibility. He appeared on 58.8% of ballots this season. Walker has to be encouraged by the fact that his percentage climbed higher than in 2010, when he had 50% of the vote. Manno Wickey, the New Orleans Gold Sox poster boy for a decade, received 52.9% of the vote in his first year on the ballot, but will have to wait another year before hopefully receiving his call.

2011 ULB Hall of Fame Ballot Results
Pos Player Votes Vote%
SP Mike Mussina 14 82.3
1B Frank Thomas 13 76.5
LF Larry Walker 10 58.8
1B Manno Wickey 9 52.9
SP Roger Clemens 8 47.1
SP Pedro Luis Lazo 7 41.2
C Mike Piazza 7 41.2
DH Ryan Keith 5 29.4
SP Curt Schilling 5 29.4
SP Kevin Brown 4 23.5
C Tyler Houston 4 23.5
CF Andruw Jones 4 23.5
SS Enrique Aguilar 3 17.6
SP Ramiro Mendoza 3 17.6
RF Mark Merchant 3 17.6
SP Andy Pettitte 3 17.6
C Steve Coture 2 11.8
SP Tom Gordon 2 11.8
DH Mark McGwire 2 11.8
2B Roberto Alomar 1 5.9
LF Mark Anthony 1 5.9
LF Brian Apolskis 1 5.9
LF Darryl Brinkley 1 5.9
LF David Diaz 1 5.9
1B Darren Doucette 1 5.9
CF Christopher Garife 1 5.9
RP Daniel Ginder 1 5.9
3B Brian Heigle 1 5.9
SS Howard Hill 1 5.9
RF Tomoaki Kanemoto 1 5.9
SP Brett Lagerblade 1 5.9
C Ken Love 1 5.9
CF Vernon Maxwell 1 5.9
2B Warren Morris 1 5.9
3B Bill Mueller 1 5.9
SP Hideo Nomo 1 5.9
DH Curtis Parham 1 5.9
LF Roberto Singer 1 5.9
LF Dernell Stenson 1 5.9
CF Zack Watts 1 5.9

Who will Win The Players League Eastern Division?

Could Juan Pierre and the Eagles Surprise the League in 2007?
Could Juan Pierre and the Eagles Surprise the League in 2007?

Who will Win the Players League Eastern Division in 2007?Brooklyn has won the Division 4 times. The Colonials match that total with 4 titles to their name. The Crickets have 3 titles to their name, and the Brewers and Eagles have never won since joining the league in 2001 and 2004 respectively. The Houston Apollos won the Division twice before being moved to the Federal League in 2004.

Blizzard Set to Face Colonials in Union Cup

The 2006 Union Cup will feature the Boston Colonials and Buffalo Blizzard.
The 2006 Union Cup will feature the Boston Colonials and Buffalo Blizzard.

The 2006 Union Cup Match up is now set after the Boston Colonials knocked off the Columbus Crickets 4 games to 1. They will head to Buffalo to face the defending champions, the Buffalo Blizzard. Buffalo knocked off the perennial bridesmaids  of the ULB and swept the Portland Mavericks out of the playoffs. Buffalo gains home field advantage, and Games 1 and 2 will be played in Chilly Buffalo before moving to Chilly Boston for Games 3 and 4.

“Pack your long johns boys, we’re going to Buffalo!” said Boston GM Michael Sternberger as the Colonials celebrated after winning Game 5 by a score of 8-7 in Columbus.  Buffalo GM Dale Winchenbaugh will hope to become the 3rd team to become back to back Champions in ULB History.

“The Blizzard are ready!” he said to reporters outside his office at Wegmans Field.

The weather forecast for the new week projects temperatures in the low 30’s to low 40’s in Buffalo and Boston, with the possibility of snow in Buffalo and Boston.

“We could have a potential situation on our hands, but we’re prepared to deal with the cold. We could have a bit of snow for Game 2. Hopefully Mother Nature will take some pity on both cities, and let us avoid having to cancel any games.” said Commissioner Greenberg.

Mavericks, Blizzard, Colonials and Crickets Advance

The 2006 ULB Divisional Cup is now finished, and the ULB League Championship Cup match ups are now set. Four teams remain to challenge for the right to hold the Union Cup high.

The Portland Mavericks swept the San Juan Storm in 4 games, sending one former champion packing. The Mavericks weathered the Storm easily, but Portland remains concerned about the poor performance of Ace pitcher Roy Halladay, who allowed 11 hits and 6 runs in 6 innings of work in Game 1 of the Division Cup. Thankfully for the Mavs, the offense picked up the slack and was able to help Portland squeak out a 7-6 victory. Game 2 went 11 innings, with Portland coming out on top thanks to a Mark Teahen walk out solo home run.

Kevin Forbes hit .381 with 3 HR against the RedHawks to lead Boston to victory.
Kevin Forbes hit .381 with 3 HR against the RedHawks to lead Boston to victory.

The Boston Colonials defeated the Oklahoma City RedHawks, 4 games to 1, and were the only Wild Card to advance to the League Championship Cup. Oklahoma City took Game 1 by a score of 6-5, but the Colonials then dominated the rest of the series. Kevin Forbes and Dernell Stenson both homered in Game 2 and led the way to a 7-5 victory.  Dan Mozingo gave up just 1 run in 6.2 innings of work in Game 3 to help the Colonials to a 4-1 win in Boston. Ben Sheets went 8 innings and allowed just 3 hits in Game 5 as Boston won the series in 5 games with a score of 5-2.

The Columbus Crickets put out the Phoenix Fire in 5 games to eliminate another former Union Cup Champion. The Fire won game one by a score of 5-4 behind Tim Lemon. The rest of the series was not as kind to the fire. A.J. Pierzynski provided a home run to tie Game 2 in the 3rd inning, and Jeff Baker scored on a Pat Osborn double to give the Crickets all the lead they would need in a 2-1 victory in Game 2. Matt White kept the Fire at bay in Game 3, allowing just 2 runs and 4 hits in 8 innings of work in a 5-2 victory for the Crickets. Kerry Wood went  7 innings and allowed just 2 runs in an 8-4 victory in Game 4. The final nail in the Fire’s coffin was Dan Denham who allowed just 2 unearned runs in Game 5. Eric Junge would allow a Jody Gerut solo homer in the 9th to briefly bolster the Fire’s hopes, but he then got Tagg Bozied to ground out and struck out Michael Sirois to send the Crickets to the League Championship Cup with a 4-3 victory.

The defending Union Cup Champion Buffalo Blizzard survived the hardest fought series as they sent the New Orleans/Kansas City Gold Sox back to their adopted home for the rest of the playoffs. Buffalo won Game 1 on a 3 run walkoff home run by Corey Smith in the bottom of the 9th inning to give the Blizzard an 11-10 victory. The Gold Sox won Game 2 in the 10th inning on a Tom Brady RBI single in a 4-3 Gold Sox victory. The Gold Sox took a 2-1 lead in the series behind Gen Sueyoshi’s 8 inning, 2 run masterpiece in a 5-2 loss for Buffalo. The Blizzard tied the series in a 15-11 scorefest in which every starter for both teams had a hit. Darren Holt had 5 hits in  5 at bats, with 3 runs scored to lead Buffalo to a hard fought victory. Jeff Flaig added 4 hits and 2 home runs and 4 RBIs as well. Lloyd Peever went the complete game in Game 5 and allowed just 1 run, while Roy Oswalt fell apart early and lasted just 1 inning and allowed 5 runs. The Gold Sox would win 11-1 and take a 3-2 lead in the series. Antonio McDowell,  Bryan Bass and Gene Smith all homered for the Gold Sox. With the series on the line, Gerik Baxter turned in a dominant performance and held the Gold Sox to 2 runs on 6 hits in 8 innings of work. Corey Smith and Brent Abernathy both homered for the Blizzard as they went on to win 6-2 and send the series to a decisive Game 7. Kris Benson went 7.1 innings and allowed 4 runs on 8 hits. But Gen Sueyoshi lasted just 1.2 innings and allowed 5 runs, 2 of them unearned. Bryan Bass had the unfortunately costly error in the second which led to the unearned runs by Ben Cordova and Brent Abernathy and ultimately drove Sueyoshi from the game. Bass was also caught stealing in the top of the 2nd to end the inning. Darren Holt added another 3 hits to bring his Division Cup average to .433 with 13 hits, as well as 11 RBI’s. The Blizzard would secure a 8-4 victory, with Stan Green striking out Auturo McDowell to end the game and send the Blizzard to the League Championship Cup as they continue to attempt to become 3 team to win back to back Union Cups.

In the League Championship Cup it will be the Boston Colonials hosting the Columbus Crickets and the Portland Mavericks hosting the defending champs in the Buffalo Blizzard.

Union League Baseball First Ten: Bobby Abreu

We come to our second selection of our trio of outfielders, and we’ve selected one off the most popular players to be traded twice in his Union League Baseball career. Being traded usually means you’re a coveted piece of the puzzle, and this guy qualifies as a key piece of several contenders.

Outfield: Bobby Abreu (Buffalo Blizzard 1996-1998, Boston Colonials 1998-2003, Houston Apollos 2004)

Abreu was drafted in 1996 by the Buffalo Blizzard with the #4 pick, and quickly rose through the ranks before getting a September call up to the ULB. In 25 games, he would hit .379 with 8 home runs and 20 runs batted in, announcing his residency in the Big Leagues.

Abreu accumulated 278 home runs from 1996-2004.
Abreu accumulated 278 home runs from 1996-2004.

In 1997, Abreu would hit .349 with 34 home runs, 92 runs batted in and 24 stolen bases.  He put together a 22 game hitting streak in September that year for a hapless Buffalo team that would go on to finish 77-77. He would lead the league in hitting that year, and also pick up his first major trophy by winning the 1997 Federal League Rookie of the Year Award. His 379 total bases would lead the league and set a then league record. (It was broken the following year by Orestes Kindelan’s 383, however.)

In 1998, he would start off hot for the Blizzard, hitting .393 in 28 games before the Boston Colonials GM Steve Horner would make Buffalo GM Curt Rogers an offer he couldn’t refuse. Abreu and teammate Curt Schilling would be traded for 2 top prospects and draft picks on May 3rd. Buffalo would not contend again until 2001. With Boston, Abreu was selected to the All Star Game 4 times, 3 as a starter. In six seasons, Abreu would bat .303 with 947 hits, 188 doubles, 30 triples, 184 home runs, 582 runs batted in and 526 runs scored.

Abreu would again be traded, this time to Nick Strongbad’s Houston Apollos club in 2004. He would go on to have a career year, with 199 hits, 43 doubles, 6 triples, 43 home runs, 115 runs batted in, 113 runs scored and a .323 batting average. He would lead the league in hits, runs scored, batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base plus slugging percentage while enjoying a trip to the All Star Game for 5th time and his second trip into the postseason. The Apollos would run into a brick wall in the Union Cup playoffs, losing 4 games to 1 to the Portland Pioneers in the Divisional Cup. Abreu would be named the Federal League MVP in 2004, and would then promptly be traded to the Bees by his new General Manager Trevor Wills following Strongbad’s retirement, ending 2004 on a sour note for the Apollos.

Abreu has been part of three franchises, and has been a clubhouse leader in all three. His offensive production has led to him being a Rookie Of The Year Award winner, an MVP and a 5 time All Star.  He’s been a main stay, and could very well be a future ULB Hall of Famer. Time will tell.