Everett Aquasox to Honor Greg Halman on June 23rd

I regret that I cannot go to this; we have a fairly massive event happening at the house that night that has been planned for quite some time now, so going anywhere else is out of the question that day. But this is a lovely gesture on the part of our single A team…

Everett, Wash – The Everett AquaSox, Short Season-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, have announced that they will retire the first player uniform number* in the 28-year history of the franchise. Outfielder Gregory Halman’s number 26 will never again be worn by an AquaSox player. Halman passed away last November in his native Netherlands at the age of 24.

“Like everyone, we were saddened by Gregory’s loss,” said AquaSox Executive Vice President, Tom Backemeyer. “He played in Everett for two seasons, and not only was he one of the best players to ever wear an AquaSox uniform; he was a wonderful young man too. We wanted to find a way to honor his memory and decided that retiring his number was the most appropriate way to do it.”

In his two seasons with the AquaSox (2006 and 2007), Halman, an outfielder, batted a combined .291 with 21 homeruns, 52 RBI and 26 stolen bases in 90 games. As a 19 year-old in 2007, he was voted as a Northwest League All-Star after batting .307 with 16 home runs in 62 games.

Halman will be honored on Saturday, June 23, in a ceremony prior to the AquaSox 7:05 p.m. home game against the Spokane Indians. A photo montage of his career with the AquaSox as well as tributes from former teammates will be displayed on the video board prior to the unveiling of his number 26, which will be permanently displayed on the wall in right field, not far from where he chased fly balls.

The AquaSox home opener is set for Wednesday, June 20 at Everett Memorial Stadium against Spokane. For information about ticket plans, planning a group outing or about the season schedule, the public is invited to visit the AquaSox stadium store at 3802 Broadway in Everett, call (425) 258-3673, or log onto aquasox.com.

*Jackie Robinson’s number 42 was previously retired by every team in Minor League Baseball.

I will also regrettably be missing the home opener this Wednesday. My friend Cynthia has an extra Sounders ticket, and I almost always take those if I can; we trade soccer for baseball and vice versa. I am definitely interested in going to Everett as much as possible this year, though; here is some more news from our little team up north, bizarro formatting courtesy of copy/paste from Gmail:

EVERETT, Wash. – The Everett AquaSox announced their roster for the 2012 season Wednesday. The newest additions to this year’s team include nine players the Mariners selected in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. The group includes four players drafted as infielders, one outfielder and four pitchers.

Players selected in the recent draft who will begin their professional baseball career in Everett include fourth-round pick Patrick Kivlehan, fifth-round pick Christopher Taylor, seventh-round pick Taylor Ard and ninth-round pick Jamodrick McGruder. Kivlehan played only one year of baseball in his four years at Rutgers University, joining the team as a walk-on in January 2012 after four years on the football team. He was awarded Big East Player of the Year after winning the Triple Crown in the conference (leader in home runs, batting average and runs batted in). Overall, in 51 games for the Scarlett Knights, he batted .392 with 14 home runs, 47 runs scored, 50 RBI and 24 stolen bases.

Taylor was drafted 161st overall after three seasons at the University of Virginia. Noted for his defense, he also batted .284 with five home runs, 57 runs scored, 47 runs batted in and 12 stolen bases in the 2012 season as a junior. In 2011, he played all 68 games for the Cavaliers and batted .305. He was the Cavaliers’ leadoff hitter and showed a good approach with 35 walks and 38 strikeouts in 2012.

Ard was drafted for the third time in three years in 2012 (Florida in 2010, Boston in 2011), but chose to sign this time with the Mariners after his senior season at Washington State University. Ard played first base for WSU and batted .332 with 41 runs. He led the Cougars with 12 home runs and 50 runs batted in.

McGruder was drafted in the ninth round out of Texas Tech University. The speedster led the Red Raiders with a .358 batting average, 54 runs scored, eight triples and 39 stolen bases. McGruder batted leadoff due to his speed and tremendous plate discipline; he posted 45 walks and 35 strikeouts. Other names of note on the AquaSox roster are 2012 draftees Chris Taylor (5th round), Michael Faulkner (12th round), Dominic Leone (16th round), Scott DeCecco (21st round) and Mark Bordonaro (25th round), as well as Marcus Littlewood, who returns to the AquaSox after converting from infielder to catcher in the off-season, and top Venezuelan pitching prospect Victor Sanchez, who at 17 is making his U.S. debut.

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