By Trey Wilson
As we prepare for our 20th Season Celebration in 2018, we are turning to the fans to decide the Fans’ Choice All-Time Altoona Curve Team. Fans will vote for one manager and a player at each position to pick the 11 representatives on the Fans’ Choice All-Time Altoona Curve Team. The voting will also go toward a yet-to-be-announced promotion for the upcoming season.
Fans can cast their votes by clicking here.
We broke down the candidates for the All-Time Team Manager, Catcher and First Baseman already. Those posts can be found here. Now we will take a look at the finalists for the Fans’ Choice All-Time Team Second Baseman.
Stats: .334, 1 HR, 33 RBI (82 games in one season)
Jeff Keppinger joined the Curve to open the 2004 season, one of the most successful years for Altoona in team history. He put up stellar numbers over his 82 games with the Curve before being swapped to the New York Mets near the trade deadline. Keppinger posted the highest qualifying batting average in a season in Curve history, batting .338, and won the league’s batting title while playing his final 14 Double-A games with Binghamton. Keppinger was named an Eastern League Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star. Along with his batting average record, Keppinger struck out just 17 times with the Curve, the fewest ever for a player with at least 300 plate appearances.
Keppinger reached the big leagues by the end of the 2004 season with the Mets. He went on to post a .282 lifetime average in the majors with the Mets, Astros, Reds, Royals, Rays, Giants and White Sox in his nine-year MLB career.
Stats: .300, 4 HR, 75 RBI (135 games in one season)
Part of the Curve’s first-ever Eastern League championship run in 2010, Josh Harrison bounced between second and third base for much of the season. He clubbed 156 hits on the year, tied for fourth-most in a season in Curve history. He also set the record for the most doubles in a game with four on June 27, 2010 against Bowie. After knocking four homers in the regular season, Harrison drove three home runs in the playoffs and drove in seven runs over his eight games. He was selected as an Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star. Even with his performance that year, Harrison remained on the edges of the prospect radars, coming in as Baseball America’s No. 30 Pittsburgh prospect after the 2010 season.
Harrison made his MLB debut with the Pirates on May 31, 2011 against the Mets, going 2-for-4 with an RBI. He was selected as a National League All-Star in 2014 and finished ninth in NL MVP voting. He earned his second all-star selection this year. Over his seven years in the big leagues, all with Pittsburgh, Harrison has hit .281.
Stats: .302, 3 HR, 83 RBI (234 games in two seasons)
Brock Holt spent two seasons with the Curve. He hit .322 during his second season in 2012, which is tied for the best in team history by a left-handed batter. Holt is ranked second in team history with 15 career triples. He was selected as an Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star in 2011 and 2012, one of only four players to earn the honor twice in his Curve career. Holt was named the MVP of the 2011 EL All-Star game after clubbing a two-run homer in the ninth inning. In 2012, he led the Curve with 123 hits.
Holt was promoted to Indianapolis late in 2012 and went on to hit .432 in 24 games, earning a September call-up to Pittsburgh. He played 24 games for the Pirates that year, batting .292. Holt was traded to the Boston Red Sox in December 2012 along with Joel Hanrahan for Jerry Sands, Stolmy Pimentel, Ivan DeJesus Jr. and Mark Melancon. He has played five seasons for the Red Sox, where he won a World Series in 2013 and was picked as an American League All-Star in 2015.
Stats: .313, 11 HR, 64 RBI (113 games in two seasons)
Dan Gamache joined the Curve in July 2014 and bounced between second base, first base and third base during his time in Altoona. Over 39 games in 2014, Gamache clubbed six homers while batting .275. He returned to open the 2015 season and got off to a slow start, but recovered to hit .335, the best on the team that year with at least 300 plate appearances, over 74 games with five home runs and was selected as an Eastern League Mid-Season All-Star. Gamache won the Eastern League Home Run Derby at Portland’s Hadlock Field in 2015.
Gamache played briefly with the Minnesota Twins organization in 2017 before signing with the Washington Nationals mid-way through the year. He finished 2017 with Harrisburg, where he hit .296 with five homers over 50 games.
Stats: .293, 7 HR, 51 RBI (136 games in one season)
Max Moroff was named the Curve’s Most Valuable Player in 2015, helping the team to their first postseason appearance since 2010. Picked as an Eastern League Mid-Season and Post-Season All-Star, he led the team with 136 games played, 79 runs scored, 28 doubles, 17 stolen bases, 70 walks, tied for the team lead with six triples and set the franchise record for the most hits by a switch-hitter with 153. His 136 games played are tied for the third-most in a single season by a Curve player. Following the season, he was named the Pirates’ Minor League Player of the Year, the third straight Curve player to pick up the honor and 12th all-time.
Moroff made his MLB debut with the Pirates in 2016 and played in two games before returning to the Pittsburgh roster in May 2017.
There is your look at the five finalists for the Fans’ Choice All-Time Altoona Curve Team Second Baseman. Be sure to cast your votes here.
Season tickets for the Curve’s 20th season are currently on sale as the team looks to defend its Eastern League championship.