By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
WITH the drafting of three Bahamians into the Major League baseball over the weekend, the future looks bright for the Bahamas.
Anfernee Seymour was selected by the Miami Marlins with the 297th pick in round seven, Todd Isaacs Jr went to the Toronto Bluejays with No 654 in the 22nd round and Byron Murray got called by the San Francisco Giants in the 25th round with the 748th pick.
All three players were recruited right out of high school in Florida. While Seymour and Isaacs Jr. were graduating room-mates at the American Heritage School, Murray came out of Trinity Christian Academy.
The three could swell the Bahamas’ numbers to seven for players who are on pro contracts with Major League minor teams. And that list can push the Bahamas’ total in the pro baseball fraternity to 46 with six of them advancing to play in the Major league.
With even more players in the trenches in pursuit of following these players, Bahamas Baseball Federation secretary general Teddy Sweeting made a plea for more consideration to be given to the sport by the Bahamas Government.
“We still have this long standing dispute thst still exist between the Bahamas Baseball Federation and the Bahamas Baseball Association,” said Sweeting, whose federation was formed by Senator Greg Burrows and others more than a decade ago after their issues with the BBA could not be resolved.
“We need for the Bahamas Baseball Federation to be given full responsiblity for baseball internationally because we are the only organization that is doing anything for baseball.”
Sweeting is referring to the fact that the federation has been responsible for the formation of a national baseball tournament that is played during the summer with teams coming from New Providence, Grand Bahama, Eleuthera, Abaco and Exuma participating.
Now in its 12th year, this year’s tournament is scheduled for June 19-22 at the newly renovated Grand Bahama Baseball Complex in Grand Bahama.
All three players - Seymour and Isaacs Jr with the Freedom Farm Baseball League out of Yamacraw and Murray with the Junior Baseball League of Nassau (JBLN) - have all participated in the tournament.
The federation, however, has not been able to go to any major sanctioned international tournaments as the BBA, headed by Jim Wood, holds the sanctioning rights for the Bahamas. The BBA, however, has not been able to attract any of the top players to participate in any of the tournaments they have attended in recent times.
Sweeting has also called for the immediate construction of the new Andre Rodgers Baseball Stadium. The previous one was demolished, along with the adjacent mini baseball fields and the Churchill Tener Knowles National Softball Stadium, for the construction of the new Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Center.
“This is history making in the Bahamas where three young men have been drafted into the Major League and we need to make sure that we can continue the legacy that has been developed over the last few years,” Sweeting stressed. “All three of them have been birth out of our affiliated leagues. All of the other players who are now playing professional baseball, all came out out our affiliated leagues.”
The others currently playing professionally are Antoan Richardson, Albert Cartwright, Champ Stuart and Dario Saunders. Richardson, by the way, was the last Bahamian to play in the Major League when he was called up by the Atlanta Braves. He joined joined an elite field of Major Leaguers that included Andre Rodgers, Anthony Curry, Wenty Ford, Ed Armbrister and Wilfred Culmer.
Those who played in the minor league over the years were Vincent Ferguson, Edmondo Moxey, Lionel Rodgers, David ‘Billy’ McKlewhite, Randy Rolle, Adrian Rodgers, Vincent Albury, Henry ‘Hank’ Williams, Hugh ‘Meat Man’ Bethel, Fred ‘Papa’ Smith, Jayson ‘Pegs’ Moxey, Eddie Ford, Randy Rodgers, Roy Bethel, Roosevelt ‘Dog’ Turner, Frankie Sands, Fred ‘Sea Egg’ Taylor, Sidney McKenzie, Simeno Humes, Shad Rolle, Keith Gomez, Pat Ingraham, Kendal Munroe, Sidney ‘Butts’ Outten, Louis McQuay, Creswell ‘the Bomber’ Pratt, Andre ‘Star’ Wood, Jackie Wright, Johnathan Armbrister, Ken Adderley, Jervis Stuart, Randolph Thompson, Winston ‘Strawberry’ Seymour, Angelo ‘Gello’ Burrows, Jamal ‘Sarge’ Johnson, Geron Sands, Gregory Burrows Jr, Neil Forsyth, Sean Albury and Ricardo Cartwright.