Bridgewater, NJ – The Somerset Patriots have announced that second baseman Emiliano Escandon has been voted as the #5 Patriot in team history.
The Top 20 Patriots presented by AT&T is a season-long promotion as part of the team’s 20th Season. The Top 20 Patriots were voted on by the fans and ranked by an expert panel of team officials, media, and long-time fans.
“It’s beyond flattering. To still have fans talk about you and remember you 12 years after the fact is very special,” said Escandon. “Somerset became my home. I loved my time in New Jersey. I moved there from California to be part of the community. I still tell people I’m from New Jersey.”
Escandon joined the Patriots in 2001 after spending the start of his career in the Kansas City Royals organization, where served at the Triple-A level. Escandon had a championship pedigree before his time in Somerset, winning two times in the Royals’ minor league system.
In his first year with the Patriots, he helped the team set a then Atlantic League record of 83 wins on the way to Somerset’s first ever championship. During his All-Star season, Escandon hit .286 with 80 runs scored, 114 hits, 28 doubles, and 38 RBI. Though he started the season as the team’s third baseman, Escandon became the Patriots’ everyday second baseman and it was a spot he didn’t vacate over the next five seasons.
“The winning was always the best part. I remember the celebrations with the team, fans, and the entire Patriots family. Steve Kalafer and Sparky Lyle really defined baseball in New Jersey and it was played to perfection. I was honored to play a small role in their production,” Escandon remarked.
By the 2004 season, Escandon’s leadership on and off the field made him an obvious choice as the Patriots’ first ever team captain. It was also the first time an Atlantic Leaguer received the designation of captain from his team.
He took his job in the community as the face of the team just as seriously as he did his position on the field. Escandon became a community ambassador for the team, speaking to dozens of schools in a program called “Strike Out Drugs,” teaching kids the harms of drugs, alcohol, tobacco, and the need to live a clean and healthy life.
“A lot of great players have come through Somerset, but if you don’t embrace the community you play in, you miss out. I wanted to get the full experience and take in everything that the area had to offer. I always felt it was part of our duty and an opportunity to experience everything we could through baseball,” Escandon said.
Escandon was one of the most consistent performers the team has seen, finishing his Patriots career with a .281 average, 587 hits, and 275 RBI in 582 games played. He remains among the team's career leaders in several offensive categories.
During his time with the team, Escandon became the first Patriot to win three championships, capturing the 2001, 2003 and 2005 titles. He retired a champion after the 2005 season.
Escandon will always be remembered in Somerset Patriots history for his leadership on the field and in the clubhouse. “The Captain” earned his place as one of the very best for his on-field success and his willingness to always be available for fans at the ballpark and throughout the community.
Tickets to the 2017 Somerset Patriots Season presented by Ford, which includes the team’s 20th Anniversary, are on sale. For more information, stop by the ballpark, call (908) 252-0700, or visit www.somersetpatriots.com.
About The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
The Atlantic League has been a leader in professional baseball and a gateway to Major League Baseball since 1998. Over 37 million fans have attended Atlantic League games and more than 800 players and 50 managers and coaches have joined MLB organizations directly from the ALPB. The Atlantic League emphasizes winning baseball games, showcasing the talent of top-caliber players and offering affordable family entertainment to metropolitan markets serving nearly 15% of the US population.
For more information, please visit www.atlanticleague.com.
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