October 26, 2010 - Carolina League (CarL) - Wilmington Blue Rocks
Wilmington, DE - Former Wilmington Blue Rock Jeremy Affeldt (2000) has come a long way since his time on the Riverfront. The southpaw reliever will enjoy his second career World Series appearance when he and the National League champion San Francisco Giants face the Texas Rangers in Game 1 tomorrow night at AT&T Park.
The Phoenix, AZ product began the 2000 season as a 20-year-old in Wilmington's starting rotation. He struggled for the lone losing edition of manager Jeff Garber's four-year run, going 5-15 with a 4.09 ERA in 27 games (26 starts). The team finished 63-76 (.453), good for the second-worst overall mark in the Carolina League.
But Affeldt surged thereafter, bypassing the Triple-A level and making his Major League debut on April 6, 2002 against the Chicago White Sox. He spent all of the 2002 and 2003 campaigns in a Kansas City uniform, winning 10 games in 70 appearances (25 starts).
The lefty saw sprinkles of Triple-A time due to injury while mostly hurling for the big club in 2004 and 2005. In fact, he supplanted another former Blue Rock, Mike MacDougal (2000, 02), as the Royals' closer during the 2004 campaign. However, on July 31, 2006, the Royals traded Affeldt along with Denny Bautista to the Colorado Rockies for Scott Dohmann and Ryan Shealy. It was with Colorado that he made his first trip to the World Series in 2007. During the playoff run, Affeldt appeared in seven games and allowed just one run over 5.1 innings including four scoreless relief appearances in the World Series setback to the Boston Red Sox.
He signed with the Cincinnati Reds as a free agent for the 2008 campaign and followed that with a two-year deal as a Giant. In his first year with San Francisco, he posted a 1.73 ERA (second among players with over 60 innings pitched) with 33 holds (tied for most in the Major Leagues).
He played a crucial role in the Giants' series-clinching Game 6 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night. After starter Jonathan Sanchez plunked Chase Utley in the back, the benches cleared and Sanchez received a quick two-inning hook. With two on and nobody out, Affeldt quelled the rally with a 1-2-3 inning that included a strikeout of Ryan Howard.
Affeldt amassed two perfect innings of tone-setting relief in all, striking out two, as San Francisco rallied from a 2-0 deficit to secure a 3-2 win and the franchise's first World Series appearance since 2002. San Francisco seeks its sixth title and first since 1954, shortly before the club moved from New York in 1958.
"It all started with Affeldt," said San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy to the media after the game. "He came in and did a great job."
"He was terrific," said winning pitcher Javier Lopez. "For him to come in there and shut them down, facing the heart of the order, was unbelievable. He really nailed it."
Now, the former Blue Rock who once wore the Wilmington colors at Daniel S. Frawley Stadium more than a decade ago has a chance to reprise his individual success on the sport's grandest stage. And perhaps win a World Championship in the process.
The Blue Rocks return to the field on April 8, 2011 as they open their season in Myrtle Beach, SC against the Pelicans. The full 2011 schedule is available on the team's website.