My number six top Wilmington Blue Rocks moment is…actually a player.
Carlos Beltran and I back in 1997. He got made fun of for wearing the overalls the entire season (via Jen Nevius).
After spending at least a year and a half in Wilmington and being a Carolina League All-Star in 1998, I am surprised that Beltran’s number 15 has yet to be retired at Frawley Stadium
His first season in 1997, was a bust, much like the entire team’s season. There was not anything special about him then, as he was a bit lazy and rumored to not be a great teammate. He also determined whether or not he played hard by who was on the mound for the Blue Rocks. As a fan, I never had an issue for Beltran off the field. However, after seeing him play in 1997, many would never have expected him to still be productive in the big leagues in 2013. That season, he hit just .229 in 126 games and struck out 96 times. He did however hit 11 homeruns. Beltran also made eight errors in centerfield.
When he returned to Wilmington to start the 1998 season, Beltran was a completely different player. He played hard all the time and his talent finally shined through. That was when I began to think that he could be something special. In 52 games prior to his promotion to Double-A (and after participating in the CL All-Star Game), he hit .276 with 14 doubles, five homeruns, and 32 RBIs. He also walked 25 times compared to 39 strikeouts. He only made two errors in centerfield and had four outfield assists.
Beltran did turn into something special (if only he could have spent more time as a Kansas City Royal).
Carlos Beltran during spring training with the Royals (via Jen Nevius).