This was a rough off-season for those looking for rooting GB interests in the upper levels of Minor League Baseball. Not one, but three of the players who started the 2016 campaign with AAA squads have announced that they’re to hang up their spikes making their appearances with GB in the Brooklyn WBC Qualifier their professional swansongs.
Chris Reed spent the majority of last season with the Marlins AAA New Orleans affiliate, the Zephyrs (now Baby Cakes). He racked up a solid 3.78 ERA across twenty appearances, including 9 as a starter ending below his 4.16 ERA for his minors career. The big lefty’s career highlight came in the 2014 seasons through a ‘cup of coffee’ two game appearance in the Marlins pen. A former first round pick out of Stanford for the Dodgers, Reed never quite lived up to his potential but saved one of his best professional performances for last fanning 5 in 4 2/3 innings of one run ball as GB bested Brazil in Brooklyn.
Veteran outfielder Antoan Richardson announced his own retirement shortly after Reed, telling a press conference in his native Bahamas “My time is done and it’s about the next generation and supporting those guys. It’s about supporting the ones coming up to get to their dreams”. Richardson was the first Bahamian to play in the bigs, hitting a single off Clayton Kershaw in his very first at bat for the Braves in 2011. His signal moment came as a pinch runner – scoring the walk off run in Yankees legend Derek Jeter’s final at bat. Over 11 years, he spent time with 23 different teams in the Majors, Minors and Indy Ball.
In a forthcoming podcast interview with Bat Flips & Nerds (recorded prior to the announcement), Richardson shared his pride at having shown the way for the current generation of Bahamian talent such as Champ Stuart, Jazz Chisholm and Todd Isaacs. In retirement, he’ll work with his own Limestone Foundation to support the careers of future Bahamian sportsmen and women.
Former Cincinnati Reds catcher and podcast guest Chris Berset announced his retirement on Twitter only last week:
Always will miss the ability to compete and lead my teams to a win! pic.twitter.com/pszK7QRHD8
— Chris Berset (@CBerset10) April 4, 2017
A veteran of the GB scene since the 2009 European Championships, Berset also played a huge role in the win over Brazil in September, nailing Brazilian DH Juan Carlos Muniz at 3rd base for the final out. He retires after a career year with the AAA Louisville Bats where he slashed 249/306/600 with 28 RBIs and helped current Reds big league hurlers Amir Garrett, Robert Stephenson, Rookie Davis and Michael Lorenzen refine their approach.
Garrett was the first to offer thanks to his former battery mate:
@CBerset10 you were a great competitor and even better teammate
— CountOnAG (@Amir_Garrett) April 4, 2017
The former U. Mich team leader will concentrate on coaching, helping develop his Washington DC based facility Primetime Baseball.
Here’s Chris’s full chat with John from back in February where he keeps this all secret!
It isn’t all bad news, there are still plenty of GB eligible players in this year’s MiLB. We’ll have a round-up of who to follow later this week.