By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher
People do not give New Jersey much respect in sports. Throughout the country, there have been states that have produced athletes that have moved on to play professionally.
Some of them have become the best players ever. But in this state, we support our own, especially when they are doing good on a national level.
Recently, Delran, N. J. native Carli Lloyd helped the United States Women’s National Team win the World Cup on July 5th. This week, on the biggest stage at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game festivities, it was the Garden State that was shining the brightest.
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First, it was former Toms River star Todd Frazier, who sent the Cincinnati fans home happy, as the third baseman won the Home Run Derby. Frazier narrowly defeated his opponent in the final round, but that’s all he needed to do in order to get past Los Angeles Dodgers youngster Joc Pederson.
This isn’t the first time he’s been able to shine in the spotlight, as he was a member of the 1998 Toms River Little League that won the Little League World Series. He was the star that helped the small town into the national spotlight following a 12-9 win over Japan that year.
He also had a home run in the championship game and batted .600 in the tournament.
The Reds player may be only a few years older than Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim outfielder Mike Trout, but the two grew up and attended high schools that are an hour and 16 minutes apart from each other. As they were growing up, they probably knew of each other — and possibly even played each other.
The five-tool Trout is one of the best young players in the game at just 23 years old. Yet, he’s been able to become the first player ever to win back-to-back MVP awards in All-Star Game history.
The reigning American League MVP has even been called the ‘White Bo Jackson’ by Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. Everyone should know that Jackson was the best two-sport pro athlete ever before an injury forced him to focus primarily on baseball.
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These two are not the only ones from the State to play professional baseball. According to history, there have been 421 players all-time from New Jersey, but Frazier and Trout are the best active players.
With the way Trout is going, he’s going to be considered a Hall of Famer. If that does indeed happen, he’ll be the first player since 2001 — if no one goes in from now until then — to receive the honor when he goes into the Hall about 15 years from now.
Joe Black, who was the first African-American to win a World Series game, went into the Hall in 2001. Yet, he’s one of 13 baseball players, who were born in New Jersey, that are enshrined in Cooperstown, New York, including Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, Larry Doby, Goose Goslin, Don Newcombe, and Bobby Thompson.
We’ll likely never have our own pro baseball team in Major League Baseball because the New York Mets and New York Yankees will never allow it. But they can’t deny some of the best players have come from the Garden State.
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