Thursday, February 07, 2008

Seattle Celebrates Its Heroes of Yore

Two of the cornerstones of the Seattle Monarchs will be feted as the 2011 season comes to an end. Outfielders Willie Klopp and John Sadao have been promoted to the Monarchs' roster for the final five games of the season.

John Sadao will be honored during the Monarchs' home game on October 2 against the Hickory Huskers. Sadao was the Monarchs' 12th round pick in the 2002 inaugural draft and started from 2002 to 2007. Although he spent 2008 in the frigid wasteland of Saskatoon, he returned in the middle of the 2009 season as a pinch hitter and was part of Seattle's first Cecil Cup winning squad. John spent the 2010 season on the Saskatoon bench and came back to the Monarchs' organization in 2011, playing and teaching in AA Olympia. Although he struggled somewhat, he still managed to steal 10 bases at the age of 37.

Sadao has a career .288 batting average and an .811 OPS. He was among the league leaders in doubles for six straight years beginning in 2003. He also reached the season leader boards in batting average (four times), OBP (once), SLG (three times), OPS (twice), hits (three times), triples (three times), RBI (once), runs (twice), and stolen bases (once). Sadao has also made his mark on the SDMB OOTP career leader boards. He currently ranks 15th in hits, 19th in RBI, 6th in doubles, 2nd in triples, and 15th in runs scored.

Willie Klopp's career will be celebrated during the Monarchs' home game on October 4 against Saskatoon. Known as "The Dutch God of Walks," Klopp was the Monarchs' ninth round pick in the inaugural draft. Klopp started in the Seattle outfield from 2002-2008. Seattle reluctantly traded him to the franchise then known as South Bay in the 2009 offseason, as part of the largest deal in SDMB OOTP history. Klopp posted a .394 OBP for South Bay in 2009 and once again scored 100 runs. Prior to spring training this year, Seattle traded to bring Klopp back. Like Sadao, he spent the year playing and teaching in AA Olympia. Although his bat may not be as quick as it was in his youth, Klopp's famous eye remained as he drew an astonishing 149 walks.

Klopp was a master of working the count with a career on base percentage of .395. In 2005, he led the league with a then-record 131 runs scored. He led the league in walks four of the five years from 2004-2008, finishing second in the other campaign. Klopp also could hit with power, clubbing a career-high 23 home runs in 2005. Klopp is prominent on the career leader boards, standing 20th in hits and ninth in runs scored. More importantly though, Klopp remains the career leader in walks, as his 947 bases on balls is more than 150 ahead of his closest competitor.

Neither Sadao nor Klopp have formally announced their retirements. However, the Monarchs have extended offers to both players to join their front office if they retire and the entire organization hopes both will remain part of the Monarch family for years to come.

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