Bridgewater, NJ – Second baseman Matt Hagen has been named #7 on the Patriots Top 15 list, a part of the team’s 15th Season Anniversary, designed to celebrate the best players in team history as voted on by fans, Patriots players and coaches, and team officials.
Prior to joining the Patriots, Hagen had experience in the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres organization, including a season at Double-A.
He came to Somerset to be a role player off the bench, but instantly impacted the team and became an everyday starter in the infield and outfield.
“Coming in, I didn’t know what to expect. I just wanted to be on a team and get a chance to play,” said Hagen. “I was very grateful for the opportunity early on even in a limited role. I was able to string together some good luck where I was playing regularly, and then four years later, here I was still coming to the ballpark to play everyday.”
In his first season with the team in 2008, Hagen became an All-Star with a .308 batting average, 71 runs scored, 132 hits, 23 doubles, four triples, 17 home runs, 71 RBI, and 34 stolen bases in 117 games played.
His consistent play made him one of the standouts on a team that included the league’s Player of the Year and earned him the starting second baseman position towards the end of the season into the playoffs.
It was clear that once he became a Patriot, Hagen hit his stride and was an invaluable part of the franchise’s return to the top of the standings.
“I think it was a combination of a bunch of things. I was coming into my own as a player and the coaching staff showed a lot of guts having me play second base at a time when we were trying to win it all,” Hagen said.
He helped lead the Patriots to the championship in 2008 and returned for his second All-Star season with the team in 2009, finishing among the league leaders with a .317 average, 88 runs, 143 hits, 36 doubles, 10 home runs, and 75 RBI in 120 games played.
The 2009 team went on to win a league record 86 games on their way to Somerset’s second straight championship, the first back-to-back titles in league history. In the playoffs, Hagen hit .294 with seven runs, 10 hits, six doubles, a home run, and eight RBI in eight games.
He became a fan favorite and part of the team’s core during a successful run that saw the team make the post-season in three straight seasons from 2008 through 2010. During that time, the roster featured several players that returned year after year and became the faces of the organization at the ballpark and throughout the community.
“It’s very rare to see the type of chemistry in professional sports that we had. We really caught lightning in a bottle where that many guys genuinely wanted to see each other succeed. It was a family. The Patriots were my family away from home,” Hagen said.
Hagen finished his time in Somerset with a .280 average, 538 hits, 126 doubles, 58 home runs, and 290 RBI in 545 games played.
“The more you think about being on a list like this is very humbling. You see the guys that played before, during, and after my time in Somerset and there are a heck of a lot of great players. To be among those guys is definitely a highlight in my career,” Hagen added.
Throughout the 2012 season, the Patriots will be counting down the Top 15 players in team history and then highlight the chosen players on baseball card giveaways and a special lithograph during the year.