Celebrating Opening Day with New Balance Baseball

Posted: March 31, 2011 in Baseball
Tags: , , , , ,
New Balance Announces Partnership With Kevin Youkilis  
Herndon Makes Phillies Opening Day Roster

Today is the opening of the MLB season and I couldn’t be more pumped. So to celebrate, today’s post is all about baseball…and New Balance of course. At least it will begin with New Balance and be loosely tied to New Balance and the ballplayers that wear their products.

Yesterday, New Balance announced an endorsement partnership with Boston Red Sox All-Star Kevin Youkilis. Youkilis joins fellow Red Sox All-Star Dustin Pedroia and Colorado Rockies All-Star pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez as the faces of New Balance Baseball. That’s very cool…its exciting for New Balance, Youk, the Red Sox and their fans.

David Herndon (We thought it was neccessary to point this out)

 However, at New Balance Philadelphia we’re not exactly big fans of the Red Sox. When it comes to rooting for players who sport New Balance cleats, our loyalty lies with the Phillies David Herndon. Yes, David Herndon is currently the only Phillie wearing New Balance cleats this season. Obviously everyone at New Balance Philadelphia was definitely excited to hear the news that the former Rule 5 player made this season’s Opening Day roster.

While Herndon saw limited action last season with the Phils, mostly in long relief and mop-up work he remained on the major league roster all season. The Phils options were limited with Herndon since as a Rule 5 Player he had to remain on the major league roster or be offered back to the club from which he was selected. This year he has added a slider to his repertoire to compliment his hard sinker. Throughout his young career Herndon has been a pitch to contact type pitcher, which most hurlers with a good sinker are. While working on the slider in spring training though Herndon has seen the pitch result in more strikeouts. In his first 9 2/3 innings of the spring he recorded 8 K’s. Hopefully Herndon will continue to develop and be able to contribute more to the Phils this season.

While this years New Balance roster features only one current Phillie, the rest of the roster is a who’s who of former Phils. Some of their contributions may have been minor, even forgetable…okay some of these guys only the biggest Phillies fans would remember. Regardless we’re gonna a take a look back at their time with the Phillies in the spirit of Opening Day.

Dobbs getting some "face time" at Chooch' expense

Gregg Dobbs – Dobbs is not only a World Series Champion, but also was a member of each of the last four Phillies teams that have captured four straight Division titles. His contributions to those teams has definitely been varied though. In 2007, he led the majors with 18 pinch-hit RBI’s and in 2008 he led the majors with 22 pinch-hits, a .355 average and was second with 16 RBI’s. Since 2008 he struggled to replicate those numbers, and was designated for assignment by the Phils last season. He cleared waivers, reported to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and was recalled in September. In the off-season he signed a minor league deal with a spring training invite with the Marlins. On March 30th the Marlins announced he made the opening day roster. As a member of the 2008 World Champions he will probably always be remembered in Philly. His face will probably also long be recognized as despite the fact he saw limited time as a bench player, Dobbs always took advantage of any opportunity he had to get his face on camera.

Fabio Castro – Appeared in only 26 games with the Phils in 06′ & o7′, but will be better remembered as the “player to be named later” in the deal that landed the Phils 2008 NLCS hero Matt Stairs.

Ronny Paulino – Traded to the Phils in December of 2009, Ronny technically only spent a spring training with the Phils. As the Phils broke camp that spring Ronny was not invited to head north with the club and was subsequently traded twice on March 27th.  The Phils first sent him to San Francisco, who then turned around and flipped him to the Florida Marlins. If it wasn’t for the high demand that a player of Paulino’s stature commanded though, the Phils would have never been able to acquire Jack Taschner.

Jack Taschner – You may remember Jack from the MLB Network reality show “The Pen” which followed around the 2009 Phillies bullpen. Why? Because I think he got more face time on that show then he actually spent on the field. After giving up 34 hits and 16 earned runs in 27 innings through July 1st, Taschner was sent to Triple -A for most of the remainder of the 2009 season. He was summoned back to the big club when rosters expanded in September, but only appeared in two games the rest of the year. Not surprisingly he was left of the post-season roster, although I’d like to think his teammates voted him a share of their National League Championship money…if you did actually watch “The Pen” he did seem like a nice guy.

Matt Maloney – Maloney never pitched for the Phils, but spent time in their minor league system, before becoming yet another important trade piece that allowed the Phils to aquire Kyle Lohse for the stretch run of the 07′ season.  Lohse went 2-0, with many no-decisions during the Phils run to the first of four straight National League East titles. Scheduled to start game 4 of the NLDS that year against the Colorado Rockies, Lohse was was forced into action in game 2 after starter Kyle Kendrick loaded the bases with two outs in the 4th inning. Lohse went ahead and served up a grand slam to the first batter he faced, Kaz Matsui…yes, KAZ Matsui.

Yeah, this pretty much sums up Freddy's time in Philly

Freddy Garcia – Garcia was a former all-star and had over 100 wins to his name in 2006 when the Phils decided to trade prospects Gavin Floyd and Gio Gonzalez to the White Sox for his services. Garcia went on to a 1-5 record with an ERA of 5.90 in just 11 starts with the Phils. Floyd on the other hand has won 39 games for the White Sox and Gonzalez has since moved on to the Athletics. Gonzalez looked promising in his first full season in the big leagues in 2009, going 15-9 with a 3.23 ERA in 33 starts while striking out 177.

Nelson Figueroa – The first of two pitchers on this list that were acquired from the Diamondbacks in the deal which sent Curt Schilling to Arizona, Figueroa has had two stints with the Phillies. The first in 2001 showcased Nelson for only 19 games. He bounced around until being claimed off waivers by the Phils in 2010 from the Mets. Figueroa proved to be a serviceable long man out of the bullpen in a fill-in roll before once again finding himself on waivers. Former Phillies GM Ed Wade quickly snapped Figueroa up,  adding him to a roster that already included former Phillies, Jason Michaels, Brett Myers, Michael Bourn, Pedro Feliz, and JA Happ.

Vincente Padilla – Like Nelson Figueroa, Padilla was a piece in the Curt Schilling blockbuster that also netted the Phils Travis Lee and Omar Daal. Padilla proved to be the player that contributed the most to the club from that haul of talent, spending 6 seasons with the Phils going 49-49 with a 3.98 ERA. The pinnacle of his time in Philly would probably be his appearance in the mid-season classic in 2002, which would be the only time in his career he would be named an all-star. The Phillies traded Padilla to the Texas Rangers in 2005. In 2009, he faced the Phillies in the NLCS as member of the Dodgers. He started Game 2 of the series and pitched well, allowing only one run in 7.1 innings in a Dodger win. However, he gave up 6 earned runs in 3 innings of work in Game 5, which the Phillies won to clinch their second straight trip to the World Series. Now, infamous for his “lack of control” in certain situations, Padilla’s throwing at and hitting batters has started more then a few brawls during his career. Despite that reputation he holds a respectable career record of 104-90, over 12 seasons in the big leagues.

So that’s it folks, the New Balance roster of former Phillies. I know it’s an impressive bunch.  We hope you enjoyed this obscure look at Phillies history. Be sure to stay tuned as we will be following our favorite Phillie David Herndon all season long…or as long as he’s with the team.

Happy Opening Day

New Balance Philadelphia 

To take a look at the full roster of MLB players wearing New Balance this season follow the link here. New Balance Roster

To read more about New Balances partnership with Kevin Youkilis follow this link. Youkilis Press Release


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