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“I came to Somerset just looking for the chance to play everyday. That was something I wasn’t able to do with the Yankees,” Nettles said of his time with the team before retiring after the 2012 season. “I was fortunate to land the third base job the first year and never gave it up. Sparky kept firing me out there everyday and I can’t thank him enough for that. It helped make me the player I turned out to be.”
Since joining the Patriots in 2003, Nettles was one of the top players in Patriots and Atlantic League history.
In his first season with the team, Nettles helped lead Somerset to the championship, where he was named the Championship Series MVP, hitting .450 with a home run, five RBI and scoring four runs in the series.
Nettles hit .319 with 22 home runs and 93 RBI in his second season with the team in 2004 and continued showing power in the 2005 season, setting a then team record with 28 home runs. He also drove in 99 runs that season.
After an unbelievable first half of the 2007 season that saw him leading the Atlantic League with 19 home runs and 60 RBI in 59 games, Nettles was signed by the Kansas City Royals organization. He spent the remainder of 2007 with the Royals before signing with the Baltimore Orioles in 2008, where he played at the Double-A level in Bowie.
Nettles returned to the Patriots in 2009 and once again led Somerset to the Atlantic League title and claiming his second Championship Series MVP Award. In the playoffs that season, Nettles hit three home runs and drove in seven.
“Championships mean everything. They are what you work for from day one, and what as a baseball player, you are gauged on. No matter what level you play at, you want to be the last guys on the field and win the last game of the season. It’s why I came back year after year,” Nettles remarked.
He continued to be a middle of the line up threat for Somerset from 2010 through 2012, among the team leaders in home runs and RBI in each season.
Nettles is among the Atlantic League all-time career leader in games played, at bats, hits, and RBI for his time in the league from 2003 through 2007 and 2009-2012.
“It’s nice to be recognized for individuals stats, but baseball is the ultimate team game. It’s easy to be an individual. It’s much harder to be a good teammate. I always wanted to make the team better and to do what I had to for us to win,” Nettles added.
In addition to his tremendous offensive numbers for the team, Nettles is highly considered one of the best defensive players in league history. He made some of the most incredible plays seen in the Atlantic League through his nine seasons in Somerset.
He was an All-Star in eight of his nine seasons in the Atlantic League. He is one of just three Patriot players with three Atlantic League Championships and is the only player to be named Championship Series MVP more than once.
Nettles on-field leadership and determination to win made him a team and fan favorite. His hard work, consistency, and longevity in the league helped him to earn accolades as part of the team and individually.
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.