The Portland Sea Dogs in conjunction with Unum have announced that Sea Dogs' founder and longtime Chairman Dan Burke and first baseman Adrian Gonzalez are the 2012 inductees into the Unum Portland Sea Dogs Hall of Fame. The announcement was made prior to Friday's Sea Dogs game against the Reading Phillies.
Dan Burke was the man responsible for bringing professional baseball back to Portland. In the spring of 1992, Burke, then the CEO of Capital Cities, ABC, Inc. applied for one of two expansion franchises available at the Class AA level of Minor League Baseball. One of thirteen applicants for the two franchises, Burke worked diligently to make his dream a reality. In October, 1992 Portland and New Haven were selected to join the Eastern League as new entries for the 1994 season. In 2003, Burke was instrumental in bringing the Boston Red Sox to Portland as the Sea Dogs' new affiliate replacing the Florida Marlins. In 2006, the Sea Dogs captured their first Eastern League Championship. Thanks to Burke's efforts more than seven million fans have enjoyed Sea Dogs' baseball at Hadlock Field.
The Sea Dogs' founder and longtime chairman passed away at the age of 82 on October 26, 2011. Burke's wife "Bunny" accepted the Hall of Fame plaque in Dan's honor.
Adrian Gonzalez was unable to attend the induction ceremony due to his duties with the Los Angeles Dodgers but said that, "It is a great honor... I had a wonderful time the year I was in Portland, it was a great experience, and I am very honored to be put into the Hall of Fame."
Gonzalez was drafted by the Florida Marlins as the first overall pick in the 2000 First-Year Player Draft. Gonzalez advanced to Double-A Portland where he started the 2002 season at the age of 19. He appeared in 138 games for the Sea Dogs hitting .266 with 17 home runs and 96 RBI. He ranked second in the Eastern League in games (138), and RBI (96), while leading the team in games (138), at-bats (508), hits (135), doubles (34), home runs (17), RBI (96), and slugging percentage (.437). He was named to the SportsTicker All-Teen Team.
Gonzalez stated, "Portland is a great place to hit, great place to be; the whole city is amazing. I really enjoyed the food."
On July 11, 2003 the Marlins traded Gonzalez along with outfielder Will Smith and former Sea Dog left-handed pitcher Ryan Snare to the Texas Rangers in exchange for right-handed reliever Ugueth Urbina. Gonzalez would make his Major League debut with the Rangers in 2004. The Rangers dealt Gonzalez to the San Diego Padres on January 4, 2006, where Gonzalez's career would take off. He was acquired by the Red Sox on December 6, 2010 when Boston sent Sea Dogs players Casey Kelly and Anthony Rizzo along with Reymond Fuentes to the Padres.
In his first year with the Red Sox in 2011, he hit .338 with 27 home runs and 117 RBI. He collected a team high 213 hits, matching the fourth most in Red Sox history. He earned a trip to the All-Star Game, a Gold Glove Award, and a Silver Slugger award for his efforts.
Gonzalez was traded along with Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto on August 25th to the Dodgers in a nine player deal.
In his career, Gonzalez is a four time Major League All-Star (2008-2011) and a three time Gold Glove Award winner (2008, 2009, & 2011). Entering the 2012 season, he had a career Major League average of .296 in six years of service.
The Portland Sea Dogs Hall of Fame was established in 2005. Burke and Gonzalez join Josh Beckett, John Boles, Bob Ganley, Fredi Gonzalez, Livan Hernandez, Charles Johnson, Mark Kotsay, Kevin Millar, Mike Redmond, Edgar Renteria, Bill Troubh, and Carlos Tosca as members of the Unum Portland Sea Dogs Hall of Fame.
To be eligible for the Hall of Fame, players must have debuted with the Sea Dogs at least ten years ago and had success in Portland and beyond. Each inductee is presented a plaque for their accomplishment. In addition, plaques of the Hall of Fame members are displayed in the Hadlock Field concourse. Fans can also visit the Sea Dogs Hall of Fame section online at www.seadogs.com.
The Portland Sea Dogs continue their final homestand of the season Saturday night at 6:00 PM against the Reading Phillies at Hadlock Field. The Sea Dogs' 2012 campaign concludes on Monday, September 3rd at 1:00 PM. Tickets are available for all remaining games. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Sea Dogs Ticket Office at 207-879-9500 or order online at www.seadogs.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.