Succeeding in the minors is part of the process. Even reaching the big leagues is only a step. The real goal of any ballplayer is to stick in the majors.

Just because a player puts up the numbers at Hadlock Field does not mean he will make an impact as a big-leaguer.

These players did.

In honor of the Portland Sea Dogs’ 25th season, we present the Sea Dogs’ all-time roster (25 players), based on their accomplishments in the major leagues, as judged by Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram baseball writers.

Because the roster is based on accomplishments, newer players, including Andrew Benintendi and Rafael Devers, were not considered (there’s always the 50th anniversary team).



Antonio Alfonseca

The big man (6-5, 250) was a character in Portland in 1995. He also was 9-3 as a starter with a 3.64 ERA – and one improbable home run (his only hit that season). Converted to a reliever in 1997, Alfonseca reached the majors and pitched in three World Series games for the champion Marlins. His 11-year career included 592 games and 129 saves. He was named National League reliever of the year in 2000.

Josh Beckett

Beckett was one of baseball’s top prospects when the Marlins promoted him to Portland in 2001. He was 8-1 with a 1.82 ERA in 13 starts for the Sea Dogs. Beckett pitched 14 seasons in the major leagues (138 wins). He was a three-time All-Star, pitching a no-hitter in 2014 and finishing second in Cy Young voting in 2007. Beckett pitched on World Series champions with the Marlins in 2003 and Red Sox in 2007.

Clay Buchholz

With mastery of several pitches, Buchholz dominated the Eastern League in 2007 with a 7-2 record and 1.77 ERA in 16 games (15 starts). Promoted to Boston, he pitched a no-hitter against the Orioles. Inconsistent in the majors (he returned briefly to Portland in 2008), Buchholz shined in 2010 (17-7, 2.33) and 2013 (12-1, 1.74), making the All-Star team both years. He pitched on the 2013 World Series championship team.


A.J. Burnett

His Sea Dogs record was 6-12 in 1999, with a 5.52 ERA, but Burnett was still promoted to Florida, going 4-2, 3.48 in seven starts. In 2001, he threw a no-hitter against the Padres. In 2008, he won 18 games for the Blue Jays and signed with the Yankees the next season, pitching on the World Series championship team. In his final year in 2015, with Pittsburgh, he made his first All-Star Game.

Ryan Dempster

He arrived in Portland a 21-year-old Double-A rookie in 1998. Just over two months later, Dempster was winning his major league debut, a 5-1 win over the Red Sox. Dempster enjoyed a 16-year major league run, complete with 132 wins and two All-Star Games (2000, 2008). He finished his career with the Red Sox in 2013, first as a starter, then as a playoff reliever for the World Series champions.

Livan Hernandez

Sure, Hernandez shined in Portland in 1996 with a 9-2 record in 15 starts, with 95 strikeouts in 931/3 innings. But could he handle the big stage? He answered that his rookie year in 1997 with a 9-3 record and stellar playoff performances – MVP in both the NLCS (2-0 record) and World Series (2-0 again) in the Marlins’ championship run. He pitched 17 major league seasons (178 wins), making two All-Star Games.


Jon Lester

After he was the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year for Portland in 2005 (11-6, 2.61 ERA in 26 starts), Lester reached the majors in 2006; only to be diagnosed with cancer (Lymphoma) in August. He came back in 2007 to be part of the World Series title team. Lester, a four-time All-Star, pitched a no-hitter in 2008, and then was the ace on two more World Series winners – Boston in 2013 and the Cubs in 2016.

Jonathan Papelbon

Red Sox GM Theo Epstein would sometimes watch Papelbon start for the Sea Dogs (5-2, 2.48 ERA in 14 starts) in 2005. Papelbon made three starts for Boston that year, but soon became one of the game’s most dominating closers. Papelbon recorded a 2.44 ERA and 368 saves while being named to six All-Star Games. Papelbon saved three of four games in Boston’s sweep in the 2007 World Series.

Brad Penny

The Marlins acquired Penny in a trade on July 8, 1999, and sent him to Portland. He made six starts (1-0, 3.90, 35 strikeouts) and joined the Marlins rotation in 2000. Penny played a pivotal role in the 2003 championship season, with a 2-0 record in the World Series. Penny pitched for 14 major league seasons (121 wins), with two All-Star selections, and placed third in the Cy Young voting in 2007.


Anibal Sanchez

Sanchez arrived in Portland for the second half of the 2005 season, making 11 starts (3-5, 3.45 ERA, 63 strikeouts in 571/3 innings). He was traded to Florida in 2006, he went 10-3 with a 2.83 ERA and is one of 22 rookies to throw a no-hitter (vs. Arizona on Sept. 6, 2006). He led American League in ERA (2.57) in 2013, finishing fourth in the Cy Young voting. Sanchez dueled Jon Lester in two ALCS games that fall, winning 1-0, and losing 4-3.


Charles Johnson

The first player ever drafted by the Marlins (first round, 1992), Johnson played for the inaugural Sea Dogs in 1994 as their one, true prospect. He batted .264 with 28 home runs, and received a four-game call-up to the majors. His major league career spanned 12 seasons, including two All-Star Games and four Gold Gloves. He starred for the 1997 world champions, batting .357 in the World Series, with a home run.

Mike Redmond


If Johnson was a pure prospect, Redmond was the opposite. Undrafted, he signed in 1992, reached Portland in 1995, hurt his shoulder in 1997 and was asked to become a coach in 1998. Redmond declined, returned to Portland. He batted .321 in eight games, was promoted to Triple-A, then to the majors on May 31. He never saw the minors again, in a 13-year big-league career, later followed by two-plus seasons as the Marlins manager, 2013-15.


Luis Castillo

Only 20 when he played second base for Portland in 1996, Castillo showed his talent (.317 batting average) and his daring, with 51 steals in 79 attempts in 109 games. He reached the majors that year and started in 1997. But Florida traded for Craig Counsell, and Castillo was not on the postseason roster. But his career then took off – three All-Star Games, three Gold Gloves, a 35-game hitting streak and redemption with the 2003 World Series title.

Adrian Gonzalez

The first overall draft pick in 2000, Gonzalez started for Portland at first base two years later at the age of 19. His sweet swing was evident (.266, 17 home runs), but still raw. He first reached the majors in 2004, with Texas. His career included five All-Star selections and four Gold Gloves. He led the American League in hits (213) while with Boston in 2011. He is in his 15th season and has hit more than 300 home runs.


Alex Gonzalez

The 1997 Sea Dogs were known for power with five players hitting 20 or more home runs. What gets lost is that Gonzalez almost made it six, with 19 homers. But his power was a bonus (he hit only .254) as Gonzalez brought one of the most magical gloves to Hadlock. He reached he majors at the end of 1998 and was an All-Star in 1999. His 16-year career in the majors included a 2003 World Series ring.

Kevin Millar

Millar produced two of the finest seasons in Portland. He hit .318 with 18 home runs and 86 RBI in 1996, and then topped it with .342, 32 home runs and 131 RBI in ’97. He played 12 major league seasons (.274, 170 home runs), three in Boston. He was a leader on the 2004 World Series title team. His ninth-inning walk in Game 4 of the ALCS helped keep Boston alive in the postseason.

Dustin Pedroia

The second baseman began his first full season in pro baseball (2005) in Portland. Pedroia lasted 66 games (.324, 29 extra-base hits) before being promoted. He was a September call-up to Boston in 2006, and made his presence known after that – AL Rookie of the Year (2007), AL Most Valuable Player (2008), four All-Star selections and four Gold Gloves, and a career .300 average so far. Pedroia played on two of Boston’s World Series title teams.


Hanley Ramirez

A much-touted prospect, Ramirez came to the Sea Dogs late in 2004. Expected to be promoted the next year, Ramirez stayed in Portland all season (.271), and then had two major league at-bats (both strikeouts). His third plate appearance for Boston came 10 years later. Ramirez, traded to Florida, was NL Rookie of the Year in 2006. He’s made three All-Star games (second in NL MVP voting in 2009). Ramirez now is in his 14th season (the last three with Boston).

Edgar Renteria

With his glove and .289 average, Renteria shined as a shortstop in Portland in 1995. That was just the start. He finished second in Rookie of the Year voting in 1996, recorded the World Series-winning RBI single in 1997, and was the World Series MVP for St. Louis (batting .412) in 2010. He was named to five All-Star teams and won two Gold Gloves. Renteria played 16 seasons (one in Boston in 2005), batting .286.

Anthony Rizzo

Not everyone was happy when Boston acquired Adrian Gonzalez on Dec. 6, 2010, because Rizzo was one of the prospects traded. He played 107 games in Portland that year, bashing 30 doubles and 20 home runs, some landing in nearby Fitzpatrick Stadium. He has blossomed in the majors with three All-Star selections, one Gold Glove and a World Series title in 2016 with the Cubs. He batted .360 in that series.


Kevin Youkilis

The first prospect on the first Red Sox-affiliated Portland team in 2003, Youkilis proved he could reach base (tying Kevin Millar’s on-base streak of 71 games). He also batted .327 (with a Sea Dogs record .487 on-base percentage) in 94 games before going to Triple-A. He reached Boston in 2004 and, in his 10-year career, played on two World Series champion teams (2004, 2007), was an All-Star three times, won one Gold Glove and was third in the MVP voting in 2008.


Mookie Betts

Betts started the 2014 season in Portland, but didn’t stay long, He was promoted after batting .355 in 54 games (his on-base streak, carried over from 2013, ended at 66 games). Betts, who arrived in Portland as a second baseman and left as an outfielder, reached Boston on June 29. He has won two Gold Gloves and has been named to two All-Star teams, including 2016 when he was second in the MVP voting, batting .318 with 31 home runs and 26 stolen bases.

Jacoby Ellsbury


Promoted to Portland in July 2006, Ellsbury batted .308 in 50 games and was on the Sea Dogs’ Eastern League title team. Sent back to Portland in 2007, Ellsbury batted .452 in 17 games and moved on, becoming the center fielder for the World Series champion Red Sox that fall. He also played on Boston’s 2013 title team. Of Ellsbury’s 11 seasons so far, his best was an All-Star year in 2011 (.321, 32 home runs, 39 stolen bases) when he was second in the AL MVP voting.

Mark Kotsay

A first-round draft pick (ninth overall) in 1996, Kotsay began 1997 in Portland. He enjoyed a two-week stint in the majors in July (hitting only .192) and then was back in Portland. He hit .306 with 20 home runs in 114 games. Kotsay played 17 major league seasons (1,914 games), including part of two seasons in Boston (2008-09). For his career, he batted .276 with 127 home runs and 98 stolen bases.

Brandon Moss

In Moss’ second season in Portland (2006), he hit .285 with 12 home runs. Then he exploded in the 2006 Eastern League playoffs, hitting .361 with five homers, leading Portland to its only title. Moss reached Boston in 2007, earning a World Series ring (traveling with the team, but not on the roster). Traded to Pittsburgh, he struggled, but emerged with Oakland in 2012. He was a 2014 All-Star. He hit 160 home runs in his 11-year career.

– Staff Writer Glenn Jordan contributed to this story.


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