Former Wizard makes San Diego Padres debut on Wednesday
Wade LeBlanc made his major league debut with the San Diego Padres, marking the 12th former Fort Wayne Wizard to reach the top rung of the ladder in baseball in 2008.
With LeBlanc’s appearance in a major league game, the Wizards have now had 74 players appear in a Major League Baseball game. The 12 former Wizards to appear in 2008 breaks the previous record of 11 players who made their debuts during the 2002 season.
The 12 players this year include catchers Luke Carlin and Nick Hundley with the Padres, pitchers LeBlanc, Jared Wells, Dirk Hayhurst and Josh Geer (Padres), Eddie Bonine (Detroit Tigers), Leo Rosales (Arizona Diamondbacks), infielders Sean Kazmar and Matt Antonelli (Padres), Luis Cruz (Pittsburgh Pirates) and outfielder Will Venable (Padres).
A total of 74 former Wizards have played in at least one major league game since 1993, including 41 who passed through Fort Wayne as an affiliate of the San Diego Padres. Thirty-three players who played in Fort Wayne as an affiliate of the Minnesota Twins, reached the major league level.
The first former player to appear in a game was LaTroy Hawkins with the Twins in 1995, with LeBlanc the most recent. Former Wizard A.J. Pierzynski holds the only World Series ring, winning a title with the Chicago White Sox in 1995.
The most successful year for former Wizards to reach the major leagues was 1993 when a total of nine players from that team made it to the major league level. Eight players from the teams 1998, 2000 and 2003 all appeared in a major league game. Sixteen players who have appeared in a major league game spent at least parts of two seasons in Fort Wayne.
Fort Wayne will open it’s new ballpark at Harrison Square with a roster of 25 players looking to reach the same success as 74 previous players on Thursday, April 16, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. against the Dayton Dragons, an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.
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