Banner Island Ballpark’s fan-voted All-Time Manger, Webster “Webby” Garrison, took some time this week to catch up with the Ports’ front office. Garrison spent 2011-2013 with the Ports and immediately became a fan-favorite. Currently, Garrison is preparing for the 2015 season with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds.
Describe your experience managing the Ports.
Overall my experience was great. Banner Island Ballpark is a great facility, and we put together some very good teams over the years, especially the 2011 squad. 2012 wasn’t as good of a year as we thought we could have had but that’s okay. 2013 we just missed playoffs, but we had a very talented roster. Overall, my three years managing the Ports was a really good experience, great fans, players, and front office that definitely made my time managing the Ports very memorable.
Were there any players that stuck out?
We had a lot of great players, guys like Michael Choice, Addison Russell, and Dusty Coleman. The 2011 team in general was just such a great team. Ryan Lipkin was an iron man. He caught I think 37 games in a row for us that season. The pitching staff was great as well; we had talented guys like AJ Griffin, and guys coming out of bullpen that were very talented. We had fun that season and stayed loose. I wish we could have won the Cal League Championship. That 2011 team was a great experience and one I still remember today.
What was your best memory with the Ports?
That’s really tough to say, but I would probably say the 2011 team was one of my best memories. We had an 18-game winning streak that season. It seemed like whatever lineup we put out didn’t really matter; it all added up to a “W”. It was one of the best memories I’ve ever had in baseball as a player or a coach. The fan base was behind us all year and made it a pleasure going out there every night and trying to win.
Did you always think you were going to manage or stay in the game after your playing career was over?
My debut in Major League Baseball came in 1996; after a lot of hard work it finally paid off. I spent a lot of time in the Minors. While I was playing, I thought I could have gotten there a little faster than I did but that was okay. I just kept working and working and kept up the grind, and eventually it paid off and I achieved my goal of playing Major League Baseball.
I experienced the grind and hard work that goes into becoming a professional baseball player, so at times during my playing career, I just thought that when the time came for me to retire that I was going to be done with baseball for good. When that time finally came and I had to retire, I realized that I didn’t want to leave the game because I loved it so much, so I stuck around and the next year I served as a player-coach. Ever since, I’ve been coaching in the game. I just love every minute of it. I love the smell of dirt and pine tar, and I really enjoy being around the game and helping the younger players develop and using my knowledge of the game to help them out.
What are your goals for the future?
I’d like to be a big league coach for sure. It doesn’t matter what role. I’ve done a bit of everything. If one of those opportunities comes in the future, I’d love to take advantage of it.
What are you doing now?
I’m leaving Monday for Spring Training and am looking forward to working with the guys and helping them get to the majors and help accomplish their goals. My goal for the upcoming season in Nashville is to help us win some ball games. I’m very excited to be joining their coaching staff this season. It will be my first year coaching in Triple-A so I’m really looking forward to it.
What’s it like seeing some of the players you coached reach the next level?
It’s definitely a pretty cool experience seeing these guys that I helped coach over the years on TV and playing for a big league team. It’s also fun for me when I see them on opposing teams that I’m coaching and we are going against them. It’s a real good feeling watching those guys develop into men and see them reach their potential and get to the next level. Whether it is Major League Baseball or just a higher level of Minor League Ball, it’s a good feeling seeing them do well and advance in their careers.
How does it feel that the fans voted you as the All-Time Manager of Banner Island Ballpark?
It’s great; I didn’t even know it was going on to tell you the truth. I got a text from a friend one day saying I was leading the vote for the All-Time Manger of Banner Island. I didn’t really know what that meant so I tried to figure out what they were talking about. I checked out the Ports’ website and saw the fan vote that had been going on so then I realized what was going on.
It’s great because I know guys who managed before and after me and there have been some great managers in the ballpark’s history, so I feel honored that I was selected as the All-Time Manager. Managers like Darren Bush won a championship with the Ports in 2008, so I think it’s awesome that fans appreciated my company enough to vote for me. I always made sure to communicate with fans every game and go to ballpark early so I could take some time out of my day to talk to the staff, players, and fans and let them know I appreciated their time. It’s a great feeling that they showed me the kind of respect they did by voting me as the All-Time Manager. I’d just like to say thank you to everyone who supported me during my three years managing in Stockton. The fans were great, and I’ll never forget how good they were to me.
Being able to play in front of my family and friends.
2. What was the best thing about playing for the Ports?
Close to home, good manager (Harry Clements), & good ballpark.
3. What accomplishments from your days with the Ports are you most proud of?
Hit a triple off of Satchel Page in an exhibition game at Billy Hebert Field.
4. What favorite memory do you have about the team, your front office staff?
Catcher Eddie Fernandez, hit in the toe & broke it. Very first game back after return, he was hit in the same toe. He tore off his equipment, walked off the field and quit. He came down to Stockton from the major leagues.
5. What was your favorite ballpark in the Cal League?
6. Who was the toughest opponent the Ports faced?
Modesto – left hand pitcher Eddie Fernandes
7. Do you ever make it back to Stockton?
Yes, mostly to see family.
8. Have you been to Banner Island Ballpark?
It is great, improvement from Oak Park.
9. Favorite restaurant in Stockton?
10. What are you up to now?
11. Where did you go to high school?
Linden High School – had no baseball team, learned to play at Solari Inn on a Semi Pro team – at Solari Dimon in Bellota
12. Where did you go to college?
Bellota Grammar School in 1930
13. Where do you currently reside?
To complete the All-Time Banner Island Ballpark Team voting, Webster “Webby” Garrison has been selected by the fans as the all-time manager.
During his three seasons with the Ports (2011-2013), Garrison acquired an overall 200-220 record. In 2011, the fan-favorite manager led the Ports during a notable 17-game win streak and ultimately took them to the California League Championship Series that year.
Prior to his coaching days, Garrison spent nine seasons as a player in the Athletics’ Minor League system. After being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays during the second round of the 1983 amateur draft, Garrison made his MLB debut with the A’s in 1996.
Garrison is currently entering his 15th season with the Athletics organization and first with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. In addition to his time with Stockton, Garrison has spent 10 seasons with the Double-A Midland RockHounds as manager, hitting coach, and player coach. Most recently, Garrison acted as hitting coach for the RockHounds as they claimed the Texas League Championship title in 2014.
Justice Hoyt: Group Sale Account Executive
1.What is your first baseball memory?
Playing baseball for my dad
2. If you were stuck on a deserted island, who would you want on the island with you?
3. If you could pick a super-power, what would it be? What would your name be?
Teleportation- because I can be everywhere and anywhere. I would be called the Magic Man because “Now you see me, now you don’t.”
4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
5. Do you have any hidden talents?
Professional Cup Stacker
6. If you had one million dollars, what are the first three things you would do with it?
Blimp, Fiat 500, round trip ticket to the moon
7. If you could trade places with one fictional character, who would it be?
8. If you didn’t work in sports, what would you want to do?
9. What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?
10. If you could take a road trip with any three people, who would it be?
Curly, Larry, and Moe
11. If you could try out any job for a day, what would it be?
12. Who was your favorite singer/band of the 90’s?
13. What is your karaoke song?
Drunk on a Plane- Dierks Bentley
14. What was the last song to play on your iPod/phone?
Power Trip- J Cole
15. If you were a professional athlete, what sport would you play?
Burton was born in Westminster, South Carolina and attended West-Oak High School before going on to pitch at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. It was at Western Carolina where Burton started to draw interest from several MLB scouts.
After his junior year, Burton signed with the Oakland Athletics after being selected in the 8th round of the 2002 MLB Draft. Over the next five seasons, Burton climbed his way up the Oakland ranks before being selected in the 2006 Rule 5 Draft by the Cincinnati Reds.
In his last season within the A’s organization, Burton pitched during Banner Island Ballpark’s historic first year in 2005. It was here, where Burton began to blossom into a threat on the mound. By season’s end, the 6’5’’ righty finished with a 4-4 record, a 2.60 ERA, and a total of 67 strikeouts with 24 saves in 52 appearances. Burton proved to be one of the Ports’ best out of the bullpen that year and was often called upon in tough situations to get the win.
After the 2005 season, Burton signed with the Reds organization and eventually made his debut in Cincinnati during the 2007 season. In his rookie campaign with the Reds, Burton finished with a 4-2 record and a 2.51 ERA.
Over the next five seasons, Burton continued to be a solid arm out of the bullpen for the Reds before signing with the Minnesota Twins where he pitched until the end of the 2014 season. Burton is currently a free agent with a MLB career record of 18-19, with 305 strikeouts, 10 saves, and a 3.44 ERA.
Sports fans of all different backgrounds enjoy pulling for the “hometown kid.” When this comes to mind, it doesn’t really get much better than the story of Dallas Braden. Known as “The 209 Mayor” by his Instagram handle, Braden has captured the hometown spirit of not just fellow Stocktonians, but the 209 area code which is tattooed across his stomach.
Originally born in Phoenix, Arizona, Braden moved to Stockton, California where he grew up and played for Hoover Tyler Little League. Braden went on to attend Stagg High School, also located in Stockton, where he excelled in baseball and cross country. Braden continued his baseball path after high school graduation and attended American River College located in Sacramento. Dallas finished with a combined 12-4 record in two seasons.
Braden eventually transferred to Texas Tech where he impressed the Oakland Athletics’ organization enough to select him in the twenty-fourth round of the 2004 MLB Draft. Upon moving up the ranks, Braden landed in Stockton during the 2005 season. While he only spent half the season playing for the Ports before an eventual promotion to Double-A Midland, Braden did not disappoint the local fans. Dallas proved to be one of the best pitchers on the 2005 squad as he finished with an overall 6-0 record to compliment a 2.68 ERA. When Braden returned to Stockton for a short stint, he didn’t’ miss a beat and finished with a 2-0 record. Braden finished his Ports career with an 8-0 record, 3.71 ERA, and 85 K in 11 appearances.
The crowning achievement for Braden came May 9th, 2010 on Mother’s Day when he pitched the nineteenth perfect game in MLB history against the Tamp Bay Rays in front of a home crowd in Oakland. The achievement was even greater in the sense that Braden’s mother had passed away during his senior year of high school. To cap off a perfect day, Braden’s grandmother Peggy Lindsey was in attendance to witness her grandson’s lifetime achievement.
Braden officially announced his retirement in January of 2014, but his legacy has remained strong in both the Stockton and Oakland communities. Shortly after Braden’s perfect game, the A’s honored Braden with a graphic of his achievement right next to hall of famer Rickey Henderson’s retired number. The city of Oakland continued the celebration and announced May 21st as “Dallas Braden Day.”
On May 22nd, 2010, the Stockton Ports honored Dallas in front of a sold-out crowd at Banner Island Ballpark with Stockton Mayor Ann Johnston presenting him with the key to the city.
Today, Braden is an analyst for ESPN’s Baseball Tonight but stays connected as ever to the Stockton community that he calls home. Braden is still involved in several community fundraisers. The Ports honor one player each year with the “Dallas Braden Community Service Award,” given to a Ports player that is most active in the Stockton community.
The Stockton Ports proudly support schools in the San Joaquin and surrounding counties with the Baseball by the Books program, presented by Subway. For the ninth straight year, the Ports will be traveling to schools around the area promoting the importance of reading, requiring students to read five books (or seven if in middle school) in a two-month time period.
“We brought the Baseball by the Books Program to our school about six years ago. The students love the program! They read 4-6 weeks depending on the grade level and whatever requirement their teacher sets.They love their visit with Splash and they love their reward (two vouchers to a Ports game),” says Kim Texeira, Office Manager of McParland Elementary School. “See, reading is fun!”
Over 45,000 bookmarks were given to students from 87 schools in 2014. After completing the program students receive two free tickets to a Stockton Ports game during the 2014 season. The Ports also provide the participating schools with special visits from our mascot, Splash. In addition to the free tickets, the school with the best overall participation in the program is rewarded $1,000 towards their PTA, courtesy of the Ports Anchor Fund. The 2014 grand prize winner was Jackson Elementary in Jackson, CA.
New in 2015, the Ports held a bookmark design contest, in which hundreds of local students entered their drawings. Rianna Brooks of McParland Elementary was chosen as this year’s winner, and her design will be on 45,000 bookmarks. Of the program, this year’s bookmark design contest winner, Rianna, explains that “Finishing a book is like getting a home run!”
As the vote for the All-Time Banner Island team moves onward, it should come as no surprise that Josh Donaldson aka “Bringer of Rain” has been dubbed the winning catcher. Even when paired up against two major leaguers in Kurt Suzuki and Anthony Recker, Donaldson received a significant majority vote.
Donaldson arrived in Stockton in 2008 at the age of 23. The Auburn alumnus was originally drafted by the Chicago Cubs as the 48th overall pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft. Donaldson’s arrival in Stockton was one for the ages, as the Ports’ 2008 squad captured the California League Championship that season, which marked their first since the creation of Banner Island Ballpark.
As a young player coming up in the A’s organization, Donaldson once showed doubt before blossoming into one of the games brightest prospects.
“One of the first days I arrived in Stockton, I wasn’t playing and was sitting the bench. I remember seeing Chris Carter hit probably a 500 foot home run and still, to this day, I remember saying to myself, ‘I’ll probably never be able to play at the next level.'”
Any lack of confidence that Donaldson had upon his arrival quickly vanished. The catcher caught fire and seized every opportunity given to him. Donaldson posted a .330 batting average, along with 9 home runs and 39 RBI in just a 47 game span while helping the Ports capture the title.
By 2012, Donaldson got the call he was waiting for and was promoted to the Oakland Athletics. As an Athletic, Donaldson now called third base his new position and was no longer behind the plate.
In 2013 Donaldson capped off his MLB coming out party with a .301 average to go with 24 home runs and 93 RBI, a feat that propelled him to a 4th place finish in AL MVP votes.
In 2014, Donaldson had yet another impressive season and posted a .255 average along with 29 home runs and 98 RBI.
Even with Donaldson’s recent trade to the Blue Jays this off season, Ports fans and A’s fans alike will remember the third baseman’s legacy in regards to his journey from Banner Island to the Coliseum.
With his 33 games behind the plate, the Oregon State alumnus acquired a perfect fielding percentage with the Stockton in 2014. The Ports had a chance to catch up with Ryan Gorton to see what he has been up to this offseason and hear about his favorite moment from last season.
How has your offseason been so far?
My offseason has been great so far. I’ve been working at a sporting goods store and giving hitting lesson on the side, working out, and hitting… Although it’s all inside because it’s like 30 degrees out! Haha. I’m trying to have a better approach at the dish this year and really owning the outer half.
What was your favorite moment of the 2014 season?
The best moment of 2014 is tough because there are a lot of them. I’d probably go with watching Matt Olson and Josh Reddick hit back-to-back moon shots there were a couple of the longest home runs I had ever seen in my life, and for them to do that with 2 outs in the bottom of the ninth was pretty heroic.
How was your time with the Ports?
Honestly, I loved my time in Stockton. Banner Island is first class, and we were in a nice apartment complex. It was fun to play [golf] at Swenson Park. Also, we had the best coaching staff. I’ll definitely take that away from the 2014 team.
Vernon Christopher Carter, better known as “Chris,” may go down as Banner Island’s all-time favorite player. The 6 foot 4 inch righty slugger from Redwood City, CA certainly did not disappoint during his minor league tenure, especially during his magical 2008 season in Stockton.
Carter attended Sierra Vista High School in Las Vegas and was originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 15th round of the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft. Before coming to the Athletics organization, Carter played two seasons in Chicago’s farm system before he was eventually traded to the Diamondbacks during the offseason of 2007. The deal was a part of a package trade for two-time All-Star Carlos Quentin. Just two weeks later, Carter was again traded, this time to the Oakland A’s where he was assigned to play in Stockton.
It was during the 2008 season with the Ports, that Carter had a remarkable year. By the season’s end, Carter finished with a .259 batting average, 39 home runs, and 104 RBI which included breaking the Ports all-time single season home run record of 32. Carter’s leadership helped propel the Ports that season to their 11th California League Championship. To cap off the magical run, Carter was also named the California League Rookie of the Year.
After 2008, Carter spent parts of the next season in Double-A Midland and Triple-A Sacramento before making short stints in Major League Baseball with the Athletics in both 2010 and 2011. By 2012 Carter was contributing to a successful Oakland A’s ball club that captured the AL West title.
In 2013, Carter was traded to the Houston Astros. In the two seasons since joining Houston, Carter has continued to showcase his raw power by slugging a combined 66 home runs and 170 RBI, something Ports fans can recall easily during his days at Banner Island Ballpark as one of the California League’s most feared hitters.