(FORT MILL, SC) - On Thursday, April 11, during a special pre-game on-field ceremony, the Charlotte Knights introduced members of the All Knights Stadium Team. This offseason, through the team's official website and Facebook page, the Charlotte Knights gave fans a chance to name the club's "All Knights Stadium Team" - a collection of the best players at each position from 1990 (the first year of Knights Stadium) to present day.
Here are the selections for the "All Knights Stadium Team".
Manager - Charlie Manuel - Before Manuel was guiding the Phillies to consecutive World Series appearances in the late 2000's, the Northfork, WV native led the Charlotte Knights to their first-ever Governors' Cup title back in 1993 - his only season at the helm of the Knights. Under Manuel, the Knights went 86-55 in the regular season - their first season in the International League - before beating Rochester in five games in the Governors' Cup finals. The 86 regular season wins are the most in the Knights Stadium era.
C - Josh Phegley - Nicknamed "Mr. Indiana" for his solid play in college while with Indiana University, Phegley made his Knights debut in 2011 and hit two home runs in 22 games for the team. His break-out campaign, however, came during the 2012 season. His solid first-half play earned him a spot on the International League All-Star Team. In August, the former first-round pick of the White Sox hit .304 with five home runs and 15 RBIs over 18 games - his best month of the season. In all, Phegley hit .266 with six home runs and 48 RBIs for the Knights last year. At the end of the year, the Terre Haute, Indiana native was rewarded for his stellar defense with the MiLB Rawlings Gold Glove Award.
1B - Ross Gload - An IL All-Star in 2003, Gload finished third in the International League with a .315 batting average that season. Also that season, the powerful first baseman launched 18 home runs with 70 RBIs. He led the IL with 266 total bases and tied for second in doubles with 40. In 2005, Gload hit .366 with 15 home runs and 45 RBIs in just 59 games for the Knights. He is the Knights franchise leader in batting average with a stunning .332 mark.
2B - Jason Bourgeois - Speedster Jason Bourgeois appeared in 211 games for the Knights over parts of two seasons (2007-2008). In 2007, he hit .311 with seven home runs, 34 RBIs and 23 stolen bases. The Texas native returned to the Knights a year later and hit .286 with nine home runs, five triples, 48 RBIs and 30 stolen bases.
SS - Mark Lewis - Lewis had a career-year in 1993 for the Knights -- the club's first as a Triple-A affiliate. He batted .284 with 17 home runs and 67 RBIs for the champion-winning Knights. He led the team with 93 runs scored and finished second in the entire league in that category. He also had 144 hits, 30 doubles, and four triples that season for Charlie Manuel's squad. Lewis came back to Charlotte in 1994 and hit .259 with eight home runs and 34 RBIs - giving him 25 career Knights home runs and 101 RBIs.
3B - Jim Thome - Thome, a future Hall-of-Famer, spent one season in Charlotte and it was a memorable one. At the young age of 22, Thome hit a league-best .332 with 25 home runs and 102 RBIs for the Knights, who went on to win their first International League championship in what was their first year in the league. Thome was a big part of the team and a year later, he became a staple in Cleveland's lineup.
OF - Billy McMillon - McMillon was an International League All-Star and the league's Rookie of the Year in 1996. In 97 games that season, McMillon hit a remarkable .352 with 17 home runs and 70 RBIs for the Knights -- his first year in Triple-A. A year later, the Clemson product hit .279 with eight home runs over 57 games.
OF - Jordan Danks - Danks spent parts of three seasons with the Knights and along with his exceptional defense, he was a force with the bat as well. He is currently tied for third in Knights franchise history with 10 career triples. He has 30 home runs and 137 RBIs in his Knights career and was the winner of a MiLB Rawlings Gold Glove Award in 2011. He ranks fifth in club history in runs scored, second in at-bats, second in hits, third in doubles, third in games, and fourth in walks.
OF - Joe Borchard - Borchard is the Knights career leader in nearly every offensive category. For four-straight seasons (2002-05), Borchard was a staple in Charlotte's lineup. He hit 78 home runs over the four-year span and had 227 RBIs. His 439 hits are nearly 200 more than the next best player in Knights history. Borchard was a first round selection (12th overall pick) of the White Sox in the 2000 draft.
DH - Sam Horn - A 1993 All-Star, Horn led the power-packed Knights with 38 home runs - the most by a Knights player in a single-season! In all, the 6'5" slugger mashed .269 and drove home 96 RBIs. His home run total led the International League and helped lead the Knights to the International League Championship in their first year in the IL. Horn finished with 226 home runs over his 15-year Minor League career. He hit 62 Major League home runs as well.
UTILITY - Dayan Viciedo - Viciedo posted back-to-back 20 home run seasons for the Knights from 2010-2011. The Cuban native hit .274 with 20 long balls and 47 RBIs for the Knights over 86 games in 2010. The next year he compiled a .296 batting average with 20 home runs and 96 RBIs. His 40 home runs (over two seasons) rank seventh all-time in franchise history. Over his two years, he played third base, first base, DH, and right field for the Knights.
SP - Chad Ogea - The ace of the Charlotte Knights championship team in 1993 was Chad Ogea. At just 22 years old, Ogea posted a 13-8 mark with a 3.81 ERA in 29 starts. The Louisiana native tossed a team-high two complete games that season and tied for the league lead in wins (13) and games started (29). A year later, he was back in Charlotte and this time went 9-10 with a 3.85 ERA in 24 games (23 starts). Ogea also completed a league-high six games that season. His 22 combined wins are fourth-best in Knights franchise history.
SP - Charlie Leesman - Leesman went 12-10 with a 2.47 ERA for the Knights in 26 starts in 2012. The Ohio native finished second in the IL in ERA and was tied for third in wins with three other pitchers. His 12 wins helped lead the Knights to their first playoff appearance since 2006. He was named as an International League All-Star in 2012 as well.
RP - Donn Pall - Pall spent three seasons playing at Knights Stadium and was a solid reliever for the club from 1996-98. Pall appeared in 28 games for the Knights in 1996 and saved a team-high 17 games. In all, Pall accumulated 39 saves over the three-year span and ranks second in Knights franchise history in that category. He's appeared in 126 games for the Knights, which also ranks second in Knights franchise history.
RP - Edwin Almonte - Almonte is the Knights franchise leader in saves for a season and a career. In 2002, Almonte saved 26 games, which still ranks as the all-time high in a season for a Knights reliever. The following season, he saved 14 games adding to his total. In all, Almonte's 40-career saves as a Knights reliever is the one more than Donn Pall's 39. Almonte could have had more saves too, but on July 1, 2003, he was traded to the New York Mets, along with Andrew Salvo and Royce Ring for Hall-of-Famer Roberto Alomar.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.