April 17, 2013

2001: Beckett brings it

No playoffs despite 77 wins, but rookie Josh Beckett gives fans a glimpse into the future.

The field was covered in snow and opening day was postponed for three days. The grounds crew worked around the clock to have the field ready for play, even securing the assistance of a helicopter to help dry the field.

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Staff Photo by John Ewing, Wed, Aug 29, 2001: Sea Dog second baseman Kevin Hooper waves his appreciation to the fans after being awarded the team's MVP trophy prior to Wednesday night's final home game of the season.

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Staff Photo by John Patriquin, Thursday, June 21, 2001: Portland Sea Dogs pitcher Josh Beckett looks to first during action against Norwich today at Hadlock Field.

Additional Photos Below

Affiliation: Florida Marlins
Manager: Rick Renteria
Attendance: 383,022 (5,803 average)

Final standings

Northern Division
Team Aff W L Pct. GB
New Britain MIN 87 55 .613
Norwich NYY 83 59 .585 4
PORTLAND FLA 77 65 .542 10
Binghamton NYM 73 68 .518 13.5
Trenton BOS 67 75 .472 20
New Haven STL 47 95 .331 40
Southern Division
Team Aff W L Pct.
Erie DET 84 58 .592
Reading PHI 77 65 .542 7
Akron CLE 68 74 .479 16
Harrisburg MON 66 76 .465 18
Altoona PIT 63 79 .444 21
Bowie BAL 59 82 .418 24.5

Notable hitters

Player HR RBI SB Avg.
Abraham Nunez 17 53 26 .240
Jeff Bailey 13 66 7 .241
Heath Honeycutt 9 59 10 .242

Notable pitchers

Player W L SV ERA
Josh Beckett 8 1 0 1.82
Blaine Neal 2 3 21 2.36
Kevin Olsen 10 3 0 2.68

Spring eventually arrived, and the Sea Dogs did not disappoint.

A dominant pitching staff and steady defense highlighted the season as pitchers combined to strike out 1,141 batters, the most in franchise history. Kevin Olsen (10-3) led the staff in wins, had a 2.68 ERA and was the team’s lone All-Star representative. He walked only 21 batters to go with 141 strikeouts in 1542/3 innings.

In mid-June, a right-hander named Josh Beckett was promoted from Single-A Brevard County. He struck out eight of the first nine batters he faced in his debut, then on Aug. 13 in Binghamton he threw the first seven innings of a combined no-hitter with Brandon Bowe and Aaron Scheffer. Beckett posted an 8-1 record in Portland with a 1.82 ERA. He struck out 102 batters in 741/3 innings. Beckett, Olsen and Blaine Neal received big league call-ups in September.

The offense struggled throughout most of the season, finishing with a .244 team batting average, the lowest in franchise history. Nonetheless, Kevin Hooper was fifth in the league in hitting with his .308 average.

In late August, in front of a sellout crowd that included former President George W. Bush, pinch-hitter Luke Wilcox hit a grand slam that landed in the giant inflatable mitt. By hitting the mitt, Wilcox split a $6,900 jackpot with the Youth Alternatives charity. It was only the second time that a Sea Dog had hit the mitt. Jaime Jones was the first to accomplish the feat in 1998.

The Sea Dogs finished with a 77-65 record, their best since 1997. However, Portland also became the first Eastern League team since the 1979 Reading Phillies to win 77 games and fail to make the playoffs.

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Additional Photos

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Staff Photo by Gordon Chibroski, Friday, April 27, 2001: Sea Dogs' third baseman, Heath Honeycutt fires a grounder to first base for an out in the 3rd inning in a game against the New Britain Rock Cats..


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