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After 20 Years, Quite a Thunder All-Star Team

By Jed Weisberger ~ August 1st, 2013. Filed under: Yanks Minors.

I’ve managed to watch all 20 years of Trenton Thunder baseball. First the Tigers, then the Red Sox and now the Yankees supply players.

The team will continue its 20th season celebration Friday night with the distribution of a commemorative All-Time Team card set, presented by Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, for the first 1,500 fans ages 6 and older.

Online voting for the team, released by Bill Cook and the club Thursday,  began on June 10 with fans being asked to select two players at each infield position, four outfielders, five pitchers, and one manager.

The players selected to the Trenton Thunder’s 20th Season All-Time Team are below.  Every player has appeared in the majors:


Dioner Navarro – In 128 games with the Thunder during the 2003 and 2004 seasons, Navarro hit .302 with 7 home runs and 66 RBI. He went on to become a 2008 American League All-Star with Tampa Bay and has spent more than ten years in the MLB.

Jesus Montero – Having spent only a partial season in Trenton, Montero posted 10 doubles, 9 home runs, and 33 RBI. He is currently in his 2nd season with the Seattle Mariners after playing 18 games for the Yankees in 2011.

First Base:

Tony Clark – During the 1994 season in Trenton, Tony Clark compiled 86 RBI, with 21 home runs, and a .279 batting average. When his 15 year Major League career came to an end in 2009, Clark finished with a career .262 batting average, 251 home runs, 824 RBI and was a member of the 2001 AL All-Star team. Tony Clark’s number 33 is one of four numbers retired by the Thunder.

Shelley Duncan – Duncan ranks second in Thunder history in both career home runs (53) and single-season home runs (34). He has since gone on to play seven years in the majors, playing for the Yankees, Indians, and Rays.

Second Base:

Robinson Cano – After batting .298 with 8 home runs and 59 RBI in 123 games for the Thunder during the 2003 and 2004 seasons, Cano made his debut with the Yankees in 2005. Since breaking into the big leagues, Cano has been named to the American League All-Star team six times and has been awarded two Gold Gloves and four Silver Sluggers. Cano was a member of the Yankees’ 2009 World Series Championship team.

David Eckstein – During his only season with the Thunder in 1999, Eckstein recorded a .313 batting average, scored 109 runs, and stole 32 stolen bases. He finished his ten year career in the big leagues as a two time All-Star and two time World Series Champion. Eckstein’s number 2 was recently retired by the Thunder on May 8th, 2013

Third Base:

Kevin Youkilis – Youkilis compiled a .344 average with 5 home runs and 26 RBI during his time in Trenton during the 2003 season. Since making his major league debut in 2004 with the Boston Red Sox, Youkilis has won a Gold Glove and been named an American League All-Star three times. He was a member of both the 2004 and 2007 Red Sox World Series Championship teams.

Shea Hillenbrand – Prior to his seven year MLB career in which he was named an All-Star twice, Hillenbrand batted .301 with 50 doubles, 18 home runs, and 115 RBI in Trenton. In 2000, he became the Thunder’s all-time, single-season hits leader with 171.


Nomar Garciaparra – After spending the 1995 season in Trenton, Garciaparra would go on to have a 14 year major league career, spending time with the Red Sox, Cubs, Dodgers, and Athletics. He was named the 1997 AL-Rookie of the Year, won two batting titles, and was six time All-Star. Garciaparra’s number 5 is one of only four numbers retired by the Thunder.

Freddy Sanchez – During his tenure with the Thunder, Sanchez posted a .327 batting average with 43 doubles, 57 RBI and 22 stolen bases. Sanchez has been named an NL All-Star three times and won the 2006 NL batting title while with the Pirates.


Brett Gardner – In his 109 games with the Thunder during the 2006 and 2007 seasons, Gardner hit .286 with 84 runs scored. His 46 stolen bases rank fifth all-time in Thunder history. A 2009 World Series Champion, Gardner is currently in his sixth season as an outfielder with the Yankees.

Austin Jackson – Jackson spent the 2008 season with the Thunder. When the year came to a close, he compiled a .285 with 9 home runs and 69 RBI. He was the 2009 runner-up for AL-Rookie of the Year and is now in his fourth season with the Detroit Tigers.

Melky Cabrera – Cabrera posted a .275 average, with 10 home runs, and 60 RBI with the Thunder in 2005. He was named a National League All-Star in 2012 and was a part of the Yankee’s 2009 World Series Championship team. He is currently in his 9th season in the majors.

Trot Nixon – After batting .235 with 13 home runs and 71 RBI in his 148 games in Trenton, Nixon went on to have a successful twelve year MLB career. He was a member of the 2004 Red Sox that helped deliver the first championship to Boston in 86 years.


Phil Hughes - Currently in his seventh season with the Yankees, Hughes is a former American League All-Star and 2009 World Series Champion. He pitched over 130 innings during his time with the Thunder. Hughes compiled an 11-3 record with a 2.17 ERA and 160 strikeouts. He was also named to the 2006 Eastern League All-Star team as a member of the Thunder.

Tyler Clippard – Clippard played with the Thunder over the 2006 and 2007 seasons.   In those two seasons in Trenton, Clippard went 14-11 and posted a 3.64 ERA with 203 strikeouts in 193 innings. He also holds the Thunder’s single season record for strikeouts with 175 and threw the first no-hitter in Thunder history on August 9, 2006 against the Harrisburg Senators. He is now in his 7th year in the majors and is currently playing for the Washington Nationals.

Joba Chamberlain – Following his career in Trenton, in which he tallied a 5-2 record with a 3.24 ERA and 69 strikeouts in 41.2 innings, Chamberlain has gone on to play seven years with the Yankees as both a starter and reliever. He was also a member of the 2009 World Champion Yankees.

Carl Pavano – During his three separate stints with the Thunder, Pavano compiled an 18-6 record with a 2.66 ERA and 171 strikeouts in 210 innings pitched. With his 16 wins in 1996, Pavano holds the Thunder’s all-time single-season wins record. He went on to pitch fourteen years in the major leagues and was named a NL All-Star in 2004 and was a key part of the Florida Marlins 2003 World Championship team.

Ian Kennedy – After going 5-1 with a 2.59 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 48.2 innings during the 2007 campaign with the Thunder, Kennedy has pitched for the Yankees and Diamondbacks. With the Diamondbacks, Kennedy led the National League in wins in 2011 and finished the year in 4th place in Cy Young Award voting.


Tony Franklin – Reigning Eastern League Manager of the Year, Tony Franklin is in his seventh season as Thunder manager. He is the longest tenured manager in Thunder history. Franklin has led the Thunder to four 1st place playoff appearances, including two back to back Eastern League titles in 2007 and 2008.

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Jed spent 35 years in the newspaper business working as both a writer and editor, in both sports and news under tight deadline pressure. As both sports editor at the Indiana (Pa.) Gazette and a copy editor/columnist at The Times of Trenton, he made daily decisions on overall coverage and designed and produced thousands of pages and special sections. Since accepting a buyout from The Times, he has concentrated on broadening his writing and editing horizons to the medical, academic and business fields. Anyone is welcome to Google Jed to see the different places in print, on the Web and in front of the camera his professional expertise has spread to.

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