Florida State League President Ken Carson and the FSL Hall of Fame Committee today announced the 2017 Florida State League Hall of Fame inductees. Included are pitchers Aaron Harang (Port Charlotte Rangers 2000), Cliff Lee (Jupiter Hammerheads 2001) and Randy Johnson (West Palm Beach Expos 1986). Position Players elected are Adrian Beltre (Vero Beach Dodgers 1997), Joe Altobelli (Daytona Beach Islanders 1951) and Evan Chambers (Bradenton Marauders 2011-2012).
Manager Manny Acta (Osceola Astros 1988-1989), FSL Executives Jordan Kobritz (Daytona Cubs 1993-2000) and Tim Murphy (Charlotte Rangers/Texas Rangers 1989-1995), Umpire Jerry Crawford (FSL 1970) and long time Baseball Executive Joe McDonald round out the Inductee list.
Induction ceremonies will take place at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort on Clearwater Beach in Clearwater, Florida on November 15, 2017.
Tickets and reservations are available by calling the Florida State League office at 727-224-8244, email at email@example.com or by mail Florida State League 3000 Gulf to Bay, Suite 219, Clearwater, Florida 33759.
Aaron Harang is a former major league pitcher who was born May 9th, 1978 in San Diego, California. He was drafted out of San Diego State University (CA) by the Texas Rangers in the 6th round of the 1999 MLB June Amateur Draft. After pitching his first year in the minor leagues with the Pulaski Rangers of the Appalachian League, Harang was called up to the Port Charlotte Rangers of the Florida State League in 2000. He pitched in 28 games, posting a 13-5 record with 136 strikeouts and earning a 3.32 ERA. He played the 2001 and part of 2002 season with the Midland Rockhounds of the Texas League before being called up again. He appeared in a combined 12 minor league games before being called up to the Oakland A's in 2002, where he pitched in 16 games, striking out 64 batters and earning a 4.83 ERA. In 2003 he pitched in 7 games for the A's before being traded to the Cincinnati Reds, where he started in 9 games earning a 4-3 record. 2004 began an 11 season stretch with Harang being a regular in the starting rotation for the Cincinnati Reds. Over these 11 seasons he posted a combined 87-78 record with 1,099 total strikeouts. He spent the 2011 season pitching for the San Diego Padres where he started in 28 games going 14-7 with 124 strikeouts and earning a 3.64 ERA. Harang started 31 games in 2012 for the Los Angeles Dodgers earning a 10-10 record, recording 131 strikeouts with a 3.61 ERA. In 2013, he started in a combined 26 games for the Seattle Mariners and New York Mets receiving a combined 4.64 ERA. He pitched his final season in 2014 as a starter for the Philadelphia Phillies, where he started 29 games earning a 4.86 ERA. Aaron Harang finished his 14 year MLB career with a combined record of 128-143, with 1842 strikeouts and a 4.26 career ERA.
Cliff Lee is a former major league left handed pitcher born August 30th, 1978 in Benton, Arizona. Lee was drafted three times before joining a minor league club. After being drafted out of Meridian High School in 1997, out of Meridian Community College in 1998, Cliff Lee played for the University of Arkansas where he was drafted out of by the Montreal Expos in the 4th round of the 2000 MLB June Amateur Draft. After pitching his first season in Cape Fear, he was moved up to pitch for the Jupiter Hammerheads in 2001. During the 2001 season with Jupiter, Cliff Lee pitched in 21 games while starting 20 of them and posted a 2.79 ERA with an impressive 129 strikeouts over 109 innings. Lee made his major league debut the following year after he was traded to the Cleveland Indians a part of a deal for Bartolo Colon. He pitched for the Indians from 2002-2009 putting up impressive numbers such as winning at least 14 games in each of his first three full seasons. Lee was traded to the Phillies at the 2009 trade deadline and helped bring the Phillies to the World Series which they eventually lost to the Yankees. Lee pitched the 2010 season with both the Mariners and Rangers before returning to the Phillies where he pitched from 2011-2014. Cliff Lee was the 2008 AL Comeback Player of the year, 2008 AL Cy Young winner and a four time MLB All Star.
Randy Johnson is a former major league pitcher who was born September 10th, 1963 in Walnut Creek, California. He was drafted out of University of Southern California by the Montreal Expos in the 2nd round of the 1985 MLB June Amateur Draft. Johnson pitched the 1985 season with the Jamestown Expos of the New York-Pennsylvania League, where he recorded 8 starts. He started 26 games during the 1986 season in the Florida State League with the West Palm Beach Expos, earning an 8-7 record while recording 133 strikeouts and a 3.16 ERA. He pitched the entire 1987 season with the Jacksonville Expos of the Southern League before being called up to the Indianapolis Indians of the American Association the following year. Johnson also started in 4 games at the end of the 1988 season recording a 3-0 record with 25 strikeouts and a 2.42 ERA. He started 6 games for the Expos in 1989 before being traded to the Seattle Mariners where he earned a 7-9 record with a 4.40 ERA in 22 starts. Johnson was a fixture in the Mariners starting rotation from 1990 through the 1997 season, earning a combined 114 wins over 222 starting appearances. During the 1990 season Johnson threw his first career no hitter against the Detroit Tigers which was also the first no hitter in Mariners history. Johnson also won his first Cy Young Award in 1995 as a member of the Seattle Mariners. At the trade deadline in 1998, Johnson was traded to the Houston Astros where he started in 11 games earning 10 wins with a 1.28 ERA and 116 strikeouts. Before the 1999 season, Johnson signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks where he would win 4 consecutive Cy Young Awards from 1999 through 2002. He helped lead the Diamondbacks to a World Series Championship in 2001 where he earned the World Series MVP Award. In 2002, Johnson earned the Triple Crown by leading the National League in wins, earned run average, and strikeouts. In 2004 as a member of the Diamondbacks, Randy Johnson pitched the 17th perfect game in MLB history. Johnson was traded to the New York Yankees where he pitched for the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Across both years as a Yankee, Johnson had 67 starts and earned a combined 34 wins and 383 strikeouts. He was traded back to the Diamondbacks where he pitched for the 2007 and 2008 seasons where he started in a combined 40 games, recording a 14-14 record with 245 strikeouts. Johnson pitched his final season in 2009 with the San Francisco Giants, earning an 8-6 record with 86 strikeouts and a 4.88 ERA. After his retirement Johnson was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 2015. Johnson was a 10 time All Star, 5 time Cy Young Award winner, was a Triple Crown winner and has defeated every major league baseball team at least once. He holds a 303-166 record with a 3.29 ERA and 4875 strikeouts, which is the second most by a left handed pitcher in MLB history. Johnson now resides in Arizona with his family and has taken up a new career as a photographer.
Adrian Beltre is currently a right handed MLB third baseman for the Texas Rangers. He was born April 7th, 1979 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where he attended high school at Liceo Maximo Gomez. Beltre was signed as an amateur free agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994. He started his minor league career in 1996 playing 68 games for the Savannah Sand Gnats of the South Atlantic League and was then called up to the California League to play 63 games with the San Bernadino Stampede. Beltre played in the Florida State League for the entire 1997 season as a member of the Vero Beach Dodgers where he played in 123 games. During his season in Vero Beach, he hit for a .317 batting average, 26 home runs, 24 doubles, 104 RBIs while stealing 25 bases and scoring 95 runs. After his impressive year in Vero Beach, Beltre began the 1998 season in the Texas League playing for the San Antonio Missions before making his MLB debut later that season at the age of 19. He played third base in 77 games for the Dodgers in 1998 recording a .215 batting average with 22 RBIs. He was a regular starter for the Dodgers for the 1999 and 2000 season, posting a combined .282 batting average with 152 RBIs in 290 games. During the 2001 season Beltre played in 126 MLB games for the Dodgers but also played two games for Las Vegas in the Pacific Coast league and three games for Vero Beach in the Florida State League. During his three game return to Vero Beach, Beltre went 4 for 9 in 12 plate appearances earning a .444 batting average for the series. Beltre played for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2002, 2003 and 2004 and then signed with the Seattle Mariners as a free agent before the 2005 season. He played in 715 games over five seasons with the Mariners and over that span recorded a batting average of .266 while averaging 20 home runs and 79 RBIs per season. Beltre signed a one year contract with the Boston Red Sox before the 2010 season and earned a team leading .321 batting average, tying the team lead in RBIs with 102, and lead the league in doubles with 49. Before the 2011 season, Adrian Beltre signed with the Texas Rangers where he is still playing today. He is still recognized as one of the modern era's more reliable players recording 2952 hits, 1557 RBIs, 446 home runs over his career while maintaining a .286 career batting average. Beltre is a 4 time Silver Slugger award winner, 5 time Gold Glove award winner, 2 time Platinum Glove award winner and has been voted an All Star four times.
Joe Altobelli is a former left handed first baseman and outfielder who was born May 26th, 1932 in Detroit, Michigan. Altobelli began his minor league career in 1951 playing in the Florida State League with the Daytona Beach Islanders, who were affiliated with the Cleveland Indians. He played in 140 games with the Islanders batting for 204 hits with 67 being extra base hits, with a .341 batting average and .516 slugging percentage across 598 at bats. He moved up to the Reading Indians of the Eastern League where he played during the 1952 and 1953 seasons. He continued his climb through the system playing at the AAA level with the Indianapolis Indians in 1954. During the 1955 season he played in 42 games with the Cleveland Indians batting for an average of .200 before being optioned to Indianapolis where he played the remainder of the 1955 season, as well as the 1956 season. Altobelli played his career high number of a games in an MLB season in 1957 when he played in 83 games for Cleveland where he hit for a .207 batting average, .253 on base percentage, with 9 RBIS and 9 runs across 87 at bats. He spent the rest of the 1957 season playing in AAA for Columbus and continued playing in AAA for three new organizations in Indianapolis for the 1958 season, Toronto in 1959 and in Montreal for the 1960 season. In 1961, Altobelli returned to the MLB for 41 games with the Minnesota Twins earning a batting average of .221, on base percentage of .312 and recorded 21 hits and 14 RBIs in 95 at bats. He returned to AAA during the 1961 where he continued to play for the next five years. Altobelli also appeared in three games for the Elmira Pioneers of the Eastern League and in 1970 he played his final season, appearing in eleven games for the Dallas-Fort Worth Spurs of the Texas League. He holds an MLB career batting line of a .210 average, with 5 homeruns and 28 RBIs. After his playing career ended he went on to manage the Rochester Red Wings for six seasons beginning in 1971, leading into him taking his first major league managerial job with the San Francisco Giants from 1977 to 1979. He took over as Orioles manager in 1983 and helped lead them to a World Series championship, he continued to manage the Orioles for the next two seasons but left the team after the 1985 season. Altobelli had a one game managerial job with the Chicago Cubs, serving as interim manager for the major league club in 1991. Altobelli served as general manager of the Rochester Red Wings for three years beginning in 1991 and then served as the color commentator for Rochester games until he retired from baseball in 2009.
Evan Chambers was a minor league outfielder who was born March 24th, 1989 in Miami Florida. Chambers attended Lakeland Senior High School, where he was drafted out of by the Colorado Rockies in the 2007 MLB June Amateur draft. Chambers played at Hillsborough Community College (FL) where he was drafted out of by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 3rd round of the 2009 MLB June Amateur Draft. Chamber's minor league career began with the State College Spikes of the New York-Pennsylvania League in 2009. He spent the following season with the West Virginia Power of the South Atlantic League, playing in 116 games. Chambers' Florida State League career began in 2011 when he played in 125 games for the Bradenton Marauders, recording 102 hits, 55 RBIs and scored 57 runs on the season. He spent the 2012 season splitting time between Bradenton and the Altoona Curve of the Eastern League, appearing in 61 games for the Marauders. In his 186 games played with Bradenton, he scored 69 runs, hit 12 home runs, 64 RBIs and stole 21 bases. In 2013 while playing for the GCL Pirates of the Gulf Coast League, due to rare heart defect Chambers passed away in his sleep at age 24.
The passing of Evan Chambers shocked the baseball community, with former teammates and coaches all expressing their disbelief and sadness in this tragedy. Neal Huntington who serves as General Manager of the Pirates reflected on Chambers by saying, "Beyond being just a talented ballplayer, Evan was a great teammate and quiet leader who went about his craft every day." While adding, "Off the field, Evan loved making a difference in the community, and often dedicated a lot of his time working with children in the communities in which he played. Our heartfelt sympathies and prayers go out to his family for this unimaginable loss. He was far too young. He will be missed."
Evan's parents Denise and Dr. Evan Chambers founded the Evan Michael Chambers Youth Baseball and Softball League in 2017. The league is part of the Evan Michael Chambers L.O.V.E. Foundation which is the foundation that Dr. Evan and Denise created in their son's memory. The focus of the foundation is to help our youth excel at baseball and academics while achieving personal development. His parents felt the new league was a great way to honor their son because he was so passionate about volunteering and playing baseball with children. The foundation and league will continue to be a great way for Polk County to honor the memory of Evan Chambers.
Manny Acta is a former major league infielder and coach who was born January 11th, 1969 in the Dominican Republic. Acta signed with the Houston Astros at the age of 17, starting his minor league playing career with the GCL Astros of the Gulf Coast League. The following season in 1988 he spent the entire season with the Osceola Astros of the Florida State League, recording a .255 batting average with 40 RBIs and 32 runs scored. Acta played in 19 games Osceola in 1989 before being called up to the Columbus Mudcats for the remainder of the season. He split time between Osceola and Columbus again in 1990, appearing in 41 games for the Mudcats and 44 games for Osceola. The final season of his minor league playing career came in 2001, when he played in 78 games for the Burlington Astros of the Midwest League before being sent to scouting school by the Astros to train him as a coach.
Manny Acta's first season as a manager came in 1993 when he took a position with the Auburn Astros of the New York-Pennsylvania League. He managed in Auburn for a total of 4 seasons, winning 152 total games with a combined .503 winning percentage. In 1997 he took over as manager of the Astros' Single-A affiliate, the Quad City River Bandits of the Midwest League leading them to a 59-75 record. Acta returned to the Florida State League, this time as a manager of the Kissimmee Cobras managing them for three seasons. Over those three seasons he led the Cobras to 208 wins earning a .501 winning percentage with Kissimmee. In his 1999 season with Kissimmee he led them to a Florida State League Championship after finishing the regular season with a 71-66 record. Acta spent three seasons beginning in 2002 with the Montreal Expos as their third base coach before taking the same job with the New York Mets in 2005. After serving as the third base coach for the Mets for two years, Acta was hired as manager of the Washington Nationals before the 2007 season. In two and a half seasons with the Nationals, Acta led the team to 158 wins which earned him a .385 win percentage in his tenure with Washington. Beginning in 2010, Acta served as the manager of the Cleveland Indians for three seasons. In his time with the Indians the team earned a .445 winning percentage over 480 games. Acta also founded the ImpACTA Kids Foundation which has raised donations and awareness to help kids achieve their dreams by giving them college scholarships. He currently serves as the manager of the Aguilas Cibaenas of the Dominican Republic's winter baseball league while previously serving as an analyst for ESPN.
Tim Murphy is a former Major League Baseball executive with the Texas Rangers. He took the position of Assistant General Manager of Florida Operations for the Texas Rangers in 1989 and held the position through the 1992 season. He was promoted in to the General Manager of Florida Operations for the Rangers in 2002, serving in this role through 1995. In 1996, Murphy moved to the Dallas/Fort Worth area to serve as the Assistant Vice President in Customer Service for two seasons before taking over as the Vice President of Event Operations for the Rangers in 1999.
After working for the Rangers organization for over 12 years, Murphy moved to Georgia to serve as the President of the Columbus Riverdragons of the NBA Development League in May of 2001. Beginning in November of 2002, he served as Executive Director of the Otis F. Smith Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to providing programs and services to disadvantaged children in Jacksonville area schools. As of 2005, Murphy has been and Agency Owner for State Farm Insurance.
Jordan Kobritz is a former minor league baseball team executive and owner. He has owned and operated The Maine Guides of the International League and also the Daytona Cubs of the Florida State League. In his first season as owner, Kobritz pushed for the Cubs to be able to play at Daytona Beach instead of Baseball City where they were placed after joining the Florida State League. Kobritz relationship with the Cubs ended after the 2014 season when the Chicago Cubs ended their affiliation with Daytona. Kobritz's Daytona Cubs teams hold a combined .505 winning percentage over his years with the organization.
After his time in minor league baseball came to an end, Kobritz began a career as a college professor. He has taught business law at Husson University and the University of Maine, but has primarily been a Sports Management professor. Kobritz has taught Sports Management at the University of Wyoming, Northern Arizona University, Saint Leo University, Eastern New Mexico University, St. Cloud University and most recently Cortland University. He's been a professor in the Sports Management department at SUNY Cortland in New York since 2012 while authoring a weekly sports column, "Sports Beyond the Lines," along with many other publications.
Jerry Crawford was a Major League umpire from 1977 to 2010(1977-1999 in the National League and from 2000 to 2010) in both Major Leagues. He was a crew chief from 1998 through 2010. Jerry is the son of former Major League Umpire Shag Crawford.
Jerry worked in the Florida State League in 1970 after missing two seasons while in the military.
Jerry was in the New York Penn League in 1967, the California League in 1971, Eastern League in 1972, International League from 1973-1975.
Crawford worked in the playoffs 18 times, including every season from 1998-2006. He appeared in five world series(1988, 1992, 1998, 2000 and 2002), including crew chief in 1992 and 2002, 12 League championship series (1980, 19083, 1985, 1990, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2006), five division series (1981,2000,2002,2004 and 2010). Jerry also worked two All Star games (1989 and home plate umpire in 2006).
Joe McDonald had a long career with the New York Mets from 1965-1980. He served as Met's Administrative Secretary (1965-66), Farm Director (1972), Scouting Director (1967), Director of Minor League Operations (1973-74), General Manager (1974-78) and Assistant General Manager (1980).
In 1981, Joe became Executive Assistant for the St. Louis Cardinals under Whitey Herzog. Joe was named General Manager in 1982 and held that position until 1985.
In 1987, Joe became the Detroit Tigers Director of Player Development. He served in that position until 1991 when he became General Manager. He served as GM until 1992.
Joe later scouted for the California Angels, Colorado Rockies and in 2004 became a scout at the professional level for the Boston Red Sox, a position he still holds.
McDonald has five world series rings, 1969 with the Mets, 1982 with the Cardinals and 2004, 2007 and 2013 with the Red Sox.