All-Time Banner Island Ballpark Outfield #2 Winner: Archie Gilbert

Archie and Chris Carter

Gilbert (right) with 2008 Ports teammate Chris Carter.

Known as the spark plug of the 2008 Stockton Ports California League Championship team, Archie Gilbert is still talked about at Banner Island Ballpark to this day.

Growing up in nearby Hayward, Archie stayed close to home when it came time to playing college ball and attended Cal State East Bay. It was here, where Archie became one of the best Division III baseball players in the country, setting nearly every record for his school with the exception of home runs and batting average (he ranks second and seventh).

Despite going undrafted after college, Gilbert was signed as a free agent by the Boston Red Sox organization in 2005. After only 40 at bats due to a broken pinky finger, Gilbert was released by the Red Sox and soon signed with the Chicago White Sox organization. Despite strong play, Gilbert was not given a contract extension and ultimately signed a deal with the Oakland Athletics after being contacted by close to 10 big league teams.

It was then, when Gilbert was sent to Stockton in 2008 to resume his professional career. Gilbert quickly got off to a hot start during the 2008 season by hitting an impressive .356 in April and falling just short of the California League hitting streak with 25 consecutive games during the month of May.

Named to the 2008 California/Carolina League All-Star game, Gilbert drove in the only run for the California team as they eventually lost the game 3-1.

At the end of the 2008 season, Archie finished with a .278 batting average, 49 RBI, and 35 stolen bases, as well as a .364 on base percentage. Ozzy Osborne’s hit song “Crazy Train” served as Gilbert’s walk up song because the beginning lyrics stated “All Aboard”, as fans eagerly waited for the 5 foot 8 inch leadoff hitter to reach base and demonstrate his speed.

Archie contributed many memorable moments during the 2008 season including hitting for the cycle on June 19th and two separate 20 plus hit streaks. None, however, compared to his performance in the postseason as Gilbert was named the Cal League Postseason MVP in helping the Ports capture their 11th California League Championship.

The title was the Ports organization’s first since signing on as an Oakland Athletics affiliate and the only championship since moving to Banner Island Ballpark, something Ports fans surely will never forget.

Alumni Update: Catching up with Dick Egan ’57

1. 1957 Record BookWhat is your favorite memory from your time with the Ports?

It was my first pro contract.

2. What was the best thing about playing for the Ports?

Roy Partee (manager) taught me how to play.

3. What accomplishments from your days with the Ports are you most proud of?

Surviving as long as I did.

4. What was your favorite Cal League ballpark?

Reno

5. Who was the toughest opponent the Ports faced?

Dick Wilson – I think he was with Bakersfield, player/skipper.

6. Do you ever make it back to Stockton?

Only to scout.

7. What are you up to now?

Special Assistant to the GM of the Detroit Tigers.

8. Where did you go to high school?

Pleasant Hill in CA. It is no longer there!

9. Where did you attend college?

DVC – Diablo Valley Junior College

10. Where do you currently reside?

Garland, TX.

All-Time Banner Island Ballpark Outfield #1 Winner: Michael Choice

In the first of our three outfieldPortsOpener_186.NEF nominees for the All-Time Banner Island team, Michael Choice takes home the award.  The Fort Worth, Texas native and University of Texas at Arlington alumnus was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the first round (10th overall pick) in the 2010 of the First-Year Player Draft.

Choice quickly climbed the ladder of the A’s minor league system by jumping all the way from short season Single-A ball, to Advanced-A with the Stockton Ports in 2011. During his tenure with the Ports, Choice played in 118 games and hit a solid .285 along with 30 home runs, and 82 RBI as well as a .376 OBP.

On September 2, 2013, Choice was called up to the Oakland Athletics’ roster after a speedy road to the majors. Today, Choice sports a new jersey with the Texas Rangers, but Ports fans will always remember the powerful swing the 6 foot slugger demonstrated during his time at Banner Island Ballpark.

Get to Know the Ports’ PA Announcer, Mike!

Mike Conway, also known as “Iron Mike” by his legionConway Blog Photo of twitter followers and thousands of Ports fans, has been the official PA announcer for Stockton since 2008.

Currently residing in Folsom, CA, Mike has been in California for the past 42 years, 36 of which have been spent in Northern California. Originally from Florida, Mike spent his high school years in San Diego and attended St. Mary’s College where he played football and rugby during his four years there. After just missing out on the NFL, Mike put down the helmet and picked up a microphone and has carved a niche at Banner Island Ballpark over the years where he has become a staple of the Ports.

From bees swarming the field to a memorable 2008 California League Championship, and a first baseman transitioning to a big league pitcher, Iron Mike has seen it all. Aside from being a fitness junkie and Christian rock fan Mike’s passions lay in the game of baseball and the Stockton Ports.

The Ports recently sat down with the man who has announced over 500 games at Banner Island Ballpark. Here’s what he said:

Ports: How did you become the PA Announcer for the Stockton Ports?

Iron Mike: Actually by trying out for the on-field emcee position, not knowing there was also an opening for PA announcer. On my second audition, it was myself and Zack (Mennie) Attack and at the end, Eron Zehavi (the Director of Marketing at that time) asked us if we wanted to have a go in the PA booth. Zack went first, and then I followed and rolled my first R announcing the name of Frank Martinez…I felt the eyes of those in the booth with us looking at me as if to say “what the heck just happened?”. Two days later I was called and asked if I wanted the PA announcer job, and it took me 1.2 seconds to say “yes!”

Ports: Do you remember your first day on the job? Were you nervous?

Iron Mike: My first day I came in and looked at this 30-page script for the game production and wondered what I had gotten myself into…but it went relatively smoothly. The nervousness wasn’t really there that I can recall, though I will say each opening day as I’m preparing to say my first words into the mic there are always a few butterflies.

Ports:  What is your favorite part about working for the Ports?

Iron Mike: The front office staff has always been top-notch and have always treated me well, and all of us have a great working relationship, and we make a potentially stressful situation fun. The other obvious favorite part is seeing all of the players come through Stockton, and not just with the Athletics organization–it’s probably upwards of 100 players that I have seen at Banner Island Ballpark that have made it to major league rosters and it’s very cool to sit back and say “yep, I called that guy’s name!”.  Seeing the collection of top A’s prospects all together on one team this past season was amazing to watch as they came together to be one of the best teams in all of MiLB.

Ports: Do you have any memorable experiences that stick out during your tenure with the Ports?

Iron Mike: Wow, there are too many to list. The one that sticks out the most is probably the “bee incident”, I think that was 2012 during a Sunday afternoon game…first thing we see are players hitting the deck on the field and we’re wondering what’s going on, and then finally just above our level at the press box we see this massive swarm of bees slowly making its way toward us. The game of course is interrupted, and I’m thinking of what I can say to the crowd and not incite mass hysteria…so it was silent, save for the buzzing, until it became clear that there was no true danger and I finally said what was going on as calmly as I could, truly bizarre.

Ports: Who was your favorite Ports player over the years and why?

Iron Mike:  Another tough question…probably Sean Doolittle, as he was so instrumental in the Ports championship run in 2008 and then of course the story of his becoming a pitcher, coming back through Stockton in that role a few seasons later and is now one of the elite closers in baseball. And we witnessed part of that transformation and several chapters of what would make a great movie.

Ports: Do you have a favorite promotion the Ports did over the years?

Iron Mike: Not sure if this is a favorite, but the “King of Pop vs. the King of Rock” a couple of seasons ago saw a Michael Jackson impersonator squaring off against an Elvis Presley impersonator. The MJ kid was a great performer…but from the moment we saw him in his costume and make up in the press box before the game and we were running through what would transpire later, he was in his role. And he stayed that way I think all the way until he left the ballpark.

Ports: You are up in the press box for 70 regular season games; do you any rituals/habits/activities that you partake in throughout the season?

Iron Mike: Most people know about the gum obsession, which started very early in the 2008 season for reasons I’ve forgotten…now there are at least 8-12 packs there at all times. Then there’s my giant Diet Pepsi and energy drink combo that I have every game, and that’s accompanied by perhaps a dozen pre-game trips to the restroom so I can make it through three or more hours worth of baseball without having to go during the game. Most of the time I make it through.

Ports: Do you have any crazy stories to share?

Iron Mike: Not too crazy but very stressful was a Faith Night in maybe 2010 where I was running both music and doing PA and midway through a read between innings, my microphone just died. Kaput. So in the span of about 45 seconds I had to figure out how to hardwire another microphone into the sound board, while still playing music, and oh by the way the inning is about to begin and….we made it. The craziest game for me was the time Hot Rod had to miss a game so I pulled dual duty of both emcee and PA announcer. It was a great workout, I will say that.

Ports:  A lot of fans who have attended games at Banner Island Ballpark throughout the years have gotten to know you very well. What is it like getting to connect with such a large fan base?

Iron Mike: The fans are one of the main reasons I keep coming back, even though I seem to move further and further away from Stockton. Social media has made them more accessible to me and vice versa, and they are not only knowledgeable and informative (yes, I get the occasional gentle correction tweeted at me or via Facebook messaging) but very kind and appreciative of what we all do to put a game on. We all share a love of baseball and our beloved Ports, no matter who is in uniform.

Ports:   What are you most looking forward to for the 2015 season?

Iron Mike:  As I’m turning 55, to be officially eligible to join the Scan Silver Sluggers.  But on a serious note, I always look forward to seeing who will be on the roster, who will be potential future major leaguers, and who will have names I can have the most fun with announcing…

 

All-Time Banner Island Ballpark Third Base Winner: Renato Nunez

As an International Free AgentIMG_1634 signee out of Venezuela, Renato Nunez is proving to be a bright spot for the future of the Oakland Athletics. In just his second full season of Minor League Baseball, Nunez hit .279 with 29 home runs and 96 RBI for the Stockton Ports.

At the start of the 2014 season’s All-Star break (June 14th), Renato was hitting just .255 with 9 home runs and 29 RBI. In the second half of the season, Renato nearly carried the Ports on his back by putting up 20 home runs and 67 RBI, which proved to be a crucial key to the Ports Second-Half Division Championship.

In July, Nunez was named to the MLB All-Star Futures Game where played for the World team and finished the game going 1-2 with a single. Nunez was recently added to the Oakland Athletics 40 man roster and is currently ranked as the organization’s 4th overall prospect.

Alumni Update: Catching up with Dick Adams ’50 & ’51

1. What is your favorite memory from your time with the Ports?

Playing for my friend Harry Clements.

2. What was the best thing about playing for the Ports?Dick Adams

Very convenient, I lived in Oakdale.

3. What accomplishments from your days with the Ports are you most proud of?

Batting .300 and knocking in over 100 runs each year.

4. What was your favorite Cal League ballpark?

Stockton Ballpark at Oak Park.

5. Who was the toughest opponent the Ports faced?

Santa Barbara

6. What was your favorite restaurant in Stockton?

Bobb-Inn

7. What are you up to now?

Playing golf, teaching jazz piano and playing piano for dances, parties, etc. No baseball.

8. Where did you go to high school?

Stockton

9. Where did you attend college?

University of the Pacific, Masters from Whittier College.

10. Where do you currently reside?

Fall Brook, Calif.

Get to Know the Ports Front Office: Scott Gillies

Scott Gillies: Account Executive

Scottsml

 

1. What is your first baseball memory?

My dad taking me to Oakland A’s games as young child. However, I think I was more fascinated with the BART ride to and from the stadium more so than the actual games.

2. If you were stuck on a deserted island, who would you want on the island with you?

Jennifer Lawrence. I think her Hunger Games skills could come in handy.

3. If you could pick a super-power, what would it be? What would your name be?

Time Travel… ‘Time Master’???

4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

San Diego

5. Do you have any hidden talents?

I am like a human GPS. Not sure if that’s really a hidden talent, but I take pride in my navigation skills.

6. If you had one million dollars, what are the first three things you would do with it?

  1. Pay off all remaining student loan debt
  2. Put a down payment on a house
  3. Buy Golden State Warriors season tickets

7. If you could trade places with one fictional character, who would it be?

Don Draper

8. If you didn’t work in sports, what would you want to do?

I would probably be working for an advertising agency. I have a Bachelors Degree in Communications-Advertising/Public Relations.

9. What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?

Brand New at the Avalon Theatre in Los Angeles on April 03, 2007. By far the best concert I have ever been to.

10. If you could take a road trip with any three people, who would it be?

Shaq, Kenny ‘The Jet’ Smith, and Charles Barkley from ‘Inside the NBA’ on TNT. I guess I would be taking the place of Ernie Johnson.

11. If you could try out any job for a day, what would it be?

Being the GM of a NBA team.

12. Who was your favorite singer/band of the 90’s?

Modest Mouse. They had such a huge influence on a lot of bands I listen to today.

13. What is your karaoke song?

‘Sweet Child of Mine’ by Guns N’ Roses

14. What was the last song to play on your iPod/phone?

‘The Wolfpack’ by Angels & Airwaves

15. If you were a professional athlete, what sport would you play?

Basketball

All-Time Banner Island Ballpark Second Base Winner: Jemile Weeks

#3 Jemile Weeks (3)After being drafted in the first round of the First-Year Player draft (twelfth overall) in 2008 by the Oakland Athletics, Weeks made a name for himself in the A’s farm system. The infielder spent 50 games with Stockton in 2009 when he hit .299 with a .385 OBP and 31 RBI.

Following his time with the Ports, Weeks worked his way through the Athletics’ farm system and appeared in his first Major League game on June 7, 2001. After six seasons with the Athletics organization, Weeks was traded to the Baltimore Orioles, where he spent the majority of the 2014 season with their Triple-A affiliate, the Norfolk Tides. With just a month left in the regular season, Weeks was traded to the Boston Red Sox where he posted an impressive .308 batting average and a .406 OBP in his 14 games.

While with Stockton, Weeks quickly became a fan-favorite, and the Ports hosted a bobblehead night honoring the infielder in 2012. Of his time with the Ports, Weeks said, “I just appreciate all the support I received while I was there.  I play the game not only for success and to be great, but I also play it for the fans.”

Ports’ Arizona Fall League Wrap-Up

With the Arizona Fall League wrapping up this past weekend, the presence of the Stockton Ports was certainly felt. Position players Daniel Robertson, Matt Olson, and Boog Powell, in addition to pitcher Austin House, all represented the A’s portion of the Mesa Solar Sox.

The Solar Sox finished the season with an impressive 15-14 record in large part due to solid contributions from the Ports. In a league mainly made up of Double-A and Triple-A prospects, four of the A’s up and coming players were Single-A representatives.IMG_4963

Highlights of the Ports play in the AFL was capped off by number one and two Oakland A’s prospects Daniel Robertson and Matt Olson being selected as All-Stars to conclude an already impressive year of baseball.

The highlights, however, did not stop there. Hot-hitting Boog Powell helped set the table for the Solar Sox while Austin House, the shut down closer for the Ports in 2014, also provided solid contributions.

Ports AFL Breakdown:

Matt Olson, 1B

.257, 4 HR, 8 RBI, .435 OBP

In 11 games of action in the AFL, Olson continued his power surge after leading the California League, as well as all of Class-A, in home runs during the 2014 regular season. At one point Olson was tied for the league lead. His batting average and on base percentage mirrored his numbers with the Ports, a trend the A’s can be hopeful he continues next year in Double-A Midland.

Daniel Robertson, SS

.301, 1 HR, 12 RBI, .398 OBP

Robertson did not miss a beat in his AFL debut after an extremely successful season with the Ports. With former A’s top prospect Addison Russell being traded to the Chicago Cubs, Robertson became the organization’s top prospect and continues to prove why the A’s hold the young prospect in such high regards. Once teammates, Robertson and Russell were back playing with one another on the Solar Sox, with Robertson outperforming Russell in nearly every offensive category.

Boog Powell, CF

.300, 2 HR, 10 RBI, .402 OBP

While Powell’s strong performance in the AFL should not come as a surprise, it should be noted that the A’s #20 overall prospect’s transition into Fall League play may have been smoother than expected. After being named a Midwest League All-Star in 2014, Powell was promoted to StocktonIMG_9517 and was off the charts in offensive production hitting .377 in just 14 games. Unfortunately, Powell was suspended for 50 games and missed the majority of the second half of the season, which makes his AFL performance look even more impressive.

Austin House,

4.76 ERA, 8 K, 11.1 IP, 1.59 WHIP

As the Ports closer during the 2014 season, House proved his worth to the organization by shutting down opposing hitters with a total of 79 strikeouts and a team high of 19 saves. While House’s numbers might not have mirrored the success he had with the Ports, he was able to hang in with the top prospects in the country and provide a solid contribution to the Solar Sox.

Get to Know the Ports’ Emcee, Matt!

The 2014 season marked Matt’s second year with the team and first as the Ports’ on-field emcee. Matt, a Tracy, CA native, started as a member of the Splash Squad in 2013 and is currently attending University of the Pacific. Matt took a few minutes to sit down with the Ports to answer a few questions about the 2014 season and what he’s looking forward to in 2015!

  1. What was your most memorable moment during the 2014 season?

    IMG_8785

    Matt talks with outfielder Bobby Crocker during a post-game interview.

My most memorable moment was the great game on opening night, which ended up going 18 innings.

  1. What is your favorite part of working with the Ports?

I love working with the ports because of the great atmosphere. Good people, good stadium, and you can’t ask for a better place to work than a ballpark.

  1. During your first year as an emcee, did you have any funny moments or mishaps?

During my first year I had a few funny mistakes, the most memorable has to be calling Bobby Crocker, Bobby Crocky during a post game interview. It was so funny, because I had talked to him and interviewed him many times before.

  1. What are you most looking forward to in the 2015 season?

I’m looking forward to getting back to the ballpark and seeing another Ports playoff push.

  1. Who was your favorite player on the 2014 team?
IMG_0216

Matt with Dennis Haskins (Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell) on 90’s Night.

My favorite player on the 2014 team was Bruce Maxwell.

  1. How was the transition from promo squad to emcee?

My transition from promo squad to emcee was an exciting one! I was a little nervous for the responsibility at first, but it only took a few games to get comfortable. Also, I was glad I was able to be there for every game.

  1. What was your favorite promotion of 2014? (giveaway, theme night, etc.)

My favorite promotion of the 2014 season was 90’s night.

  1. What would your walk-up song be?

My walk up song would be “You Can’t Stop Me” by Andy Mineo.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.