Flashback Friday

  Welcome to our Flashback Friday Page!  This is where we have taken on the challenge of contacting former Rochester Honkers players and coaches and seeing what they are up to now and some of their memories of playing in Rochester. Below you will enjoy our discoveries as we present……Flashback Fridays!

Mike Lukkason – Dakota Wesleyan
2012 Rochester Honkers
Top Photo of Mike and Wife Laura
Bottom Photo of Son Lincoln born March 24, 2015

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
ML: I have all kinds of memories playing for the honkers and I am happy to say that my summer with the Honkers was one of my favorite summers thus far. The team chemistry we had during the summer of 2012 was great, I enjoyed all my teammates very much. My host family was amazing and I can't thank them enough. Scott and Pat Heck were so great to me, they were like family to me at that time. But playing wise, my favorite memory would be the walk off homerun I hit in the bottom of the 10th inning in game 3 of our season to give us our first win. I have to thank Trevor Podratz though because he tied the game in the bottom of the 9th with a solo homerun to give me the chance I had in the 10th inning.

What's your favorite non-playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?
ML: My favorite non playing memory would be when my host mom took a few of us players to a river where we went tubing. The last 20 min down the stream was so cold we could not help but laugh because of the torture. I also enjoyed the rain delays our team put on! Everyone always participated in rain delays which made it a lot of fun for both us and the fans. My favorite rain delay was when we did a tarp slide in Thunder Bay. It was most memorable because I participated in just my spandex and gave the fans a good laugh. I of course asked coach Zach Etheredge before I did it 😉

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?
ML: This is an unfair question because I did not just have one favorite teammate. Our team as a whole had great relationships with each other. To name some players who I formed good friendships with both on and off the field;

Jordan and Justin Parr- everyday at the ball park with these two never got old! They loved the game as much as anyone but always remembered to have fun! We had laughs together sometimes where it gave us an ab workout!

Reid Roper- He was the most selfless person on the team! He would do anything for you in a second. He enjoyed the game so much and played it the right way! Not to mention he was a fan favorite! He was a lot of fun to hang around with!

Kevin Johnson- I don't know what it is with all the Illinois guys but what great people to hang out with! When it was Kevin's day to pitch he was more focused than anyone, then on his off days he would be the comedian in the dug out with Nick Dolsky. They were funny!

Jared Miller- The beginning of the year we were roommates on road trips and there would be nights I couldn't get much sleep because of the things Jared and I would talk about. If anyone knows him, they would know he is a character to say the least! He was unbelievable to watch pitch, especially playing defense behind him when he did.

Ben Lahn- Ben and I had a lot of fun together that summer to say the least! He was a great time to hang out with!

Elliot Engle- Elliot and I played college ball against each other too! We had a great relationship for being in the same conference. He enjoyed the game as much as anyone!

Chad Wallach- I don't know what this guy couldn't do! He was a class act on the field! He could pitch, catch, play 1st and hit! He was a great guy to have in your lockerroom!

Cole Lankford- Cole and I have a funny inside story together that we both will never forget! He came to the ballpark everyday with a smile on his face and was fun to be around!

I could go on and on Dakota Smith, Brandon Defazio, Trevor Podratz, Justin Protacio, Michael Benjamin, Jared Allen, coach Zach Etheredge, coach JR Voyles, coach Travis Senhaux, Drew Merlo aka (Drew baby), Matt Kent, and Chris Noble.

I hope I didn't forget anyone but all these guys were great to be around and to call my teammates.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?
ML: When I left Rochester I finished up my senior baseball season at Dakota Wesleyan University. My senior year started out a little shocking as I tore my ACL in a fall ball game. I was able to come back for my senior year and finished the year as the conference player of the year and All-American. After my senior year of ball I went to Canada and played in the Western Major Baseball League (WMBL) in Canada. After Canada, I returned to Dakota Wesleyan and was a Graduate Assistant (GA) baseball coach while I finished up my Masters degree. I then got married July 12th 2014 to my high school sweetheart, Laura. We recently had a baby boy together named Lincoln! He was born March 24, 2015! I now am the assistant baseball coach at the University of Minnesota Crookston.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
ML: Never take a day for granted when playing this beautiful game of baseball. You meet some of your best friends playing in summer leagues. Enjoy the process and don't look past the next day because you never know when it will be over. Enjoy the moment and stay in the game as long as you can.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?
ML: Throughout social media I do. I enjoy seeing the success my teammates are having. I only wish them the best and will never forget the teammates I had in the summer of 2012.


Jeremy McCann – Gardner-Webb
2005 Rochester Honkers
Photo of Jeremy and Wife Jamilah

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
JM: That’s a tough one. We had a great summer up there in 2005. We had a great coaching staff in Greg Labbe, Mike Saddler, and Carlos Rodriguez. We also had a great team that year and if I remember correctly- came a few games away from winning it. Madison who had a pretty good team as well beat us in the playoffs after we swept them in the regular season. At the time, Coach Labbe got pretty mad at me, apparently I had somehow been quoted in the paper saying something to the extent of Madison had no chance in the playoffs because we had played so well against them in the regular season.  Other than that, I remember playing in front of great crowds at home and at Madison because we were the best two teams. The atmosphere during those games is probably what I remember the most. Honestly, it rivals more than a few minor league stadiums I've experienced over the years.

What's your favorite non-playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?
JM: Yea I think it was a little bit of everything up in Rochester.  I really enjoyed the area, had a great host family in the Oldfield's. At the time it was the first time I had been in the Midwest so it's always a good experience to travel to new places. The team always had a great time away from the field, with a bunch of guys that would go out together and have a good time. 

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?
JM: My boys DJ Throneburg and Joel Barickman. We hung out all the time and I think had lockers next to each other. It's always great to go through those experiences with people you have a lot of things in common. I remember it was a pretty close knit team back then, everyone got along really well.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?
JM: I finished out my career at GWU pretty strong, then moved on to a couple of independent minor league seasons in the Golden League and South Coast League.  After a brief stint as a Strength & Conditioning Assistant at Jacksonville University back home in the fall of '07, I landed at a baseball facility called Diamond Baseball. At Diamond, I coached teams, gave lessons, and ran the Strength & Conditioning program since my major was exercise science related.  At that time, I figured I had an opportunity to impact kids more on the strength & conditioning side than the baseball side so I decided to pursue that as a career full-time. I spent the next two years with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a Minor League Strength & Conditioning coaching for their Single A affiliate Great Lakes Loons and Rookie Ball affiliate Ogden Raptors. After returning home to Jacksonville in 2011 to get married to my wife Jami, I spent two seasons with the Miami Marlins Double-A affiliate Jacksonville Suns in the same capacity.  Most recently, I've been working as a Tactical Strength & Conditioning Coach for Army Special Operations (Green Berets) up in Fort Bragg, NC.  My wife and I are expecting our first child, a girl,  April 29th.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
JM: Nothing too big I don’t think. I was someone that tried to enjoy the moment and gain as much from the experience as I could. The baseball was competitive up in the Northwoods, the Honkers always treated us very well and gave us a lot of support.  If anything, I think a lot of us got our first taste of what it might feel to play a full minor league season. If you think about it, all of us were coming off of about 50-60 collegiate games in the spring. Before the summer season, you probably get a week at best to transition up to the Northwoods; even less if you had the chance to play in the NCAA tournament at all. From there, you probably play 70-80 games during the summer. And then you have a few days to get back to your school for the start of fall classes after the season.  I went through more than a few minor league seasons later on, and the demands of playing in the Northwoods mirrors minor league baseball very closely.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?
JM: Yes, we kept in touch for several years but I think everyone eventually drifted apart because of attending colleges in different parts of the country, starting careers, and getting into family life. 


Aaron Siefken – Iowa Central CC & Bethany Lutheran College
2010, 2011 Rochester Honkers
Photo of Aaron and Wife Kellie

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
AS: There isn’t really one memory that sticks out for me. It is more the whole experience that I had while with the Honkers that generates the most memories for me. If I were to choose one specific memory from playing with Rochester it would be playing in the championship game in 2010. We had a well-rounded team and a coaching staff that was top notch as well. Coming up short wasn’t what anyone was expecting, but it was a great season nonetheless.

What's your favorite non-playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?
AS: I spent both of my years for Rochester with the Daly host family. Spending that time with them over the summer was a blessing and they treated me as part of the family. One specific memory that I have from staying there is playing HORSE in the back yard with their son Sam, who in 2011 was going to be going to St. Olaf to play basketball. I never lost, you can ask him on that too. In his defense he was handicapped because of a bum hip that he had surgery on before I was there. Being a competitor, it made me feel good that I could beat a college basketball player in a game of HORSE.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?
AS: There isn’t just one, there are many. In 2010, Dan Pellegrino was a catcher for the Honkers that same season. He was one of the smartest baseball players I have ever met. He helped me raise my game to the next level and ultimately make be a better person and baseball player. The guy worked hard and was always willing to help a teammate out if they had a baseball question. In 2011, I was close with Davy Wright and Devin “Deebo” Thaut. Deebo was a roommate with me at the Daly’s and we spent nearly every day together going to the workout center and then heading to the field afterwards to take cuts before a game. Davy was one of the funniest guys on the team by far and had a fierce hunger to win. He was always one that was into the game no matter the situation.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?
AS: Since leaving the Honkers I took a job at Dragotec U.S.A., Inc. in the summer of 2012 as a Marketing Assistant and Farm Show Coordinator and have been there ever since. I was married to Kellie Morris this past fall (Nov. 1) and we just bought a house in Algona, IA a few weeks ago.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
AS: Once you are done with sports throughout life, you realize how much you love the game and wish that you could go back to the beginning with the knowledge that you learned all the way up to the end of your playing career. My advice for baseball players around the world would be to play your hardest every day and don’t take the game for granite. Baseball is a very rewarding sport and you never know when it could be taken away from you.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?
AS: A few, but not many. I still keep in touch with a handful of players via social media. With all of the social media now it is pretty easy to keep in contact with everyone. I would like to thank Dan and Kim for giving me a chance to play with the Honkers and give me these wonderful memories to share with future children. Playing with the Rochester Honkers is an experience and it is one that I will NEVER forget.

Thanks again for the memories,
Aaron Siefken


Will Arnold- Central Michigan
2009 Rochester Honkers
Photo of Will "Coaching Hard" for Central Michigan

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
WA: Winning the championship at home in front of our own fans will always be one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. The amount of talent that we had was pretty crazy to think about, we had really high draft picks on that team and at least one in the big leagues so far, with more to come soon it looks like.

What's your favorite non-playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?
WA: There’s too many memories off the field to name just one. Anywhere from being around my host family the Jones’, who are just amazing people, the fires in the dugouts with broken bats, putt putt and basketball at the RAC, bonfires at Brian Flynn’s host families house (the Stromme’s).

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?
WAChris Auten became one of my better friends on that team, he didn’t have a car and lived close to me so I drove him around all summer and we were pretty good friends by the end of it. Brian Flynn and Scott McGough were always a lot of fun to be around too. Overall we had a good group of guys, so we all got along pretty well.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?
WA: I started a position change to back behind the plate that next year, anyone that played with me probably saw that coming before I did, so I ended up catching my last two years of college. I finished up playing and got my degree in Sports Management from Central Michigan. After my senior year I played in the Frontier League for a year and finished up my degree, while being the undergrad assistant at CMU. After that year I got an opportunity to coach the Tournament of Stars, which is a tryout for the 18U U.S. National Team. Those kind of marked the start of my coaching and now I’m an assistant coach at Central Michigan.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
WA: My biggest realization was how I had no idea how much more I had to learn and how much better I had to get in order for me to compete and play with some of the best players in the country. Playing with some of those same guys was a huge part of me becoming a better player. Rusty MacNamara was also a huge part in that.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?
WA: I talk to Brian Flynn here and there, but that’s about it. I always look up the guys stats and see where they’re at, which is still exciting for me because I had the chance to play with them and win a championship.

James Gilbertson – Rochester Community Technical College
2011 Rochester Honkers
Photo of James and his dog

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
JG: My favorite memory while playing with the honkers was everything. Whenever I think about the Honkers so many thoughts come to my mind. Road trips to games, working out and playing basketball at the RAC, and just hanging out with the guys on the field getting tips on pitches and goofing around.

What's your favorite non-playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?
JG: I had a lot of fun off the field. Hanging out with my host family, the Testers (Dave, Jackie, Sabrina, and Nick), was always a blast! Since I was going to school in Rochester after I played with the Honkers, they showed me around town, took to me the best restaurants and helped me get my bearings down on where stuff was and that helped a lot! Plus playing in the back yard with Nick and his friends was fun too! Other things I'll always remember were hanging out with the guys, whether we went to the RAC or just drove around town.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?
JG: There are too many guys to name! Just playing with guys like Johnny Coy, Tony Kemp, Reid Roper, and everyone else was fun! Not only did they make you better but they were eager to give tips and advice. I learned things from these guys and others that I don't think I would have learned anywhere else!

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?
JG: Since playing with the Honkers I played one year of baseball at RCTC and graduated from there with a degree in Law Enforcement. I have also graduated from a police academy in Wisconsin. Right now I'm looking to be hired by a police department, while also playing ball and coaching high school baseball.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
JG: My biggest realization was how much work it takes to play at that level. Its a long season and it takes a lot out of you mentally and physically. I also learned that even though I played at a D3 junior college, there were a couple of times where I knew I could play with these D1 guys.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?
JG: I keep tabs on a couple of guys and send them a message once in a while. Mostly through Facebook.

Bryan Karraker – Central Arizona / New Mexico State
2010, 2011 Rochester Honkers
Photo of Bryan in his final year at New Mexico State

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
BK: My Favorite memory while playing for the Honkers would have to be in 2011 when I got the nod to the bump in the late innings of a game against Mankato at home (I was an outfielder). I struck out the beer batter and the crowd rushed the field, chanting my name. Okay maybe the beer batter hit a 430ft bomb to dead center, but I looked good out there and got to pitch in a Northwoods league game.

What's your favorite non-playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?
BK: My favorite non playing memory would be all the times our team went out to the local watering holes/cliffs on days off. People from Minnesota might think it's not a big deal because there are about 10,000 of them but when you come from the desert in AZ, any body of water bigger than a cup of water and a swimming pool is an amusement park in and of itself.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?
BK: This is officially the hardest question anyone has asked me since I left Rochester in 2011. I can't crown just one champion. The entire 2010 and 2011 teams were filled with some of college baseball's greatest names. Devin Thaut, Davy Wright, Anthony Hutting, Brett Hambright, Ryan Hambright, Jordan Jaksomething, Jimmy Waters, Tony Kemp, and I think Ryan Ruiz played on that team too. Needless to say it was a team full of legends.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?
BK: Since leaving Rochester in 2011, I've had three birthdays, well over 1000 meals, and paid all my bills on time. Upon graduating in 2012 from New Mexico State University I headed home to Phoenix where I currently own a Screen-printing and Embroidery business with indoor batting cages.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
BK
: My biggest realization while playing for the Honkers was how fortunate I was to be presented with the opportunity to meet some great people, teammates, and life long friends in such a short period of time. I also realized that New Mexico State doesn't hand out nearly the amount of clothing/gear Oregon University does.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?
BK: Here and there but not as much as I should, however now that I feel guilty about it, I will be making a more valiant effort. This questionnaire has me reminiscing about two of the greatest summers I've ever had. From the long bus rides and great games, to Minnesota's finest; Pizza Ranch, it doesn't get much better than when the Geese Flock together.

Stefan McGovern – Metro State College
2011 Rochester Honkers
Photo of Stefan as the Head Coach for West Hills College

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
SM: Seeing Division I athletes struggle and have to work hard to get better every day, just like every other level I’ve coached at, was very humbling. Jake Kirth’s walkoff single to secure the first win of the year in 2011 was a long time coming. And watching pitching coach Peter Burg try and throw BP and get very flustered!

What's your favorite non-playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?
SM: Just living life on the road, like a professional manager would every day. Knowing that no matter how good or bad you played that day, tomorrow was a new day and you had to let it go to be successful. Getting the weekly omelets from the apartment chef we had at the coach’s home. Also, hanging with my boys from Brainerd, Woody and Brownie at Shep’s and playing bags for the first time.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?
SM: 2011 was a mixed group of players, all from great programs. I think the most professional was Anthony Hutting, while the best teammate was Aaron Siefken. The biggest space cadet was Davey Wright, while the best clutch performer had to be Johnny Coy.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?
SM: Since I left Rochester, I have been the head coach at two programs, first at 4 year NAIA school Menlo College in Atherton, CA. After staying there two years, I took a head job at West Hills College, a junior college near Fresno, CA. I got married a year after I left the Honkers and my wife and I have a one year old daughter.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
SM: That it’s really easy for a player to say they want to play professional baseball, but it’s another thing entirely to see if they can handle the GRIND, and that’s why the Northwood’s League is the best preparation for pro ball. If you can’t handle living on the road out of a suitcase with no days off, then professional baseball is not for you. But the fact that the Northwood’s League gives players the opportunity to see if they can handle it is awesome! There is no other league that comes close to the grind of professional baseball.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?
SM: I have remained in contact with Litz over the years, as I have sent him a few players, and I have also shared texts with some of the players from the 2011 team wishing them luck. I have also kept in contact with many of the other coaches from around the league including Hershey, Orchard, Brownie, Woody, and Espitia.


Davy Wright – Texas Christian University
2010, 2011 Rochester Honkers
Photo of Davy and Wife Emily

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

DW: It’s tough to pick just one, however beating St. Cloud in 2010 to advance to the league championship is my favorite. It was a close game, but we weren’t ready to go home. I hit a 2-run shot to left center with two outs in the top of the 9th. I know it’s no secret the “Chesta Geese”, can’t stand the Bats, which made the win even sweeter..

What's your favorite non-playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

DW: Hands down, blasting U2 with Dan Cansino with the windows down at 3am.. It’s a long story that I’m sure Dan would love to tell. It was my first week in Rochester and while out with the guys, I found myself in a predicament. Somehow, I had missed my ride and was miles from Cansino’s. I hadn’t gotten any of the guys numbers yet, it was like my second day. The only number I had in the state was Dan’s, so regardless of it being 3am, I called him. He answered on the third ring and despite the confusion I’m sure I caused, he was able to track me down. On the way home we sang Sunday Bloody Sunday, by U2, at the tops of our lungs with the windows down. Turned out to be one for the books.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

DW: That’s a tough one, but I gotta go with my roomie on the road and workout buddy Deebo Taut.. He would bring his Playstation on the road and we would play MLB The Show. When we were in Rochester, he was my ride to the RAC, the field, and all the good times in between.. He’s a teammate for life.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

DW: Since leaving the Honkers, I’ve graduated from Texas Christian University and finished playing in 2013. Not too long after, I obtained my Real Estate licence and joined Transwestern, a privately held real estate firm specializing in all aspects of commercial real estate, in November 2013. I currently focus on industrial acquisitions and dispositions. I recently married my college sweetheart, whom some of you may have met during my time there. Emily and I got married November 1, 2014 and live in Fort Worth, Texas.

What was your biggest realization while playingfor the Rochester Honkers?

DW: I played in the Alaskan league out of high school, Cape Cod my freshman summer, and for the Honkers the following two summers. In my opinion, Rochester embodied the summer ball experience. The weather, the fans, the rivalries.. I was lucky. The two years I was there, our team was a family. It seems crazy to think a group of otherwise random guys from all over the country could become so close, but that’s how it was. We all have Rochester to thank for bringing us together.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

DW: Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to stay in touch with as many of the guys as I’d like, however, a few of us have stayed in touch. Sometimes we’ll go months without talking, but if there’s one thing about a teammate, you always pick right back up from where you left off.


Reid Roper – Illinois
2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 Rochester Honkers
Photo of Reid and His Fiance Victoria

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

RR: My favorite memories while playing for the Rochester Honkers are all the guys I got to meet from places all over the country. I always thought it was really cool how you had guys from all over the country on your team. Each year I was amazed at how close you got with guys after a short amount of time just because of the game of baseball.

I also enjoyed signing every hat, ball, and bag for every kid on the Dream Team for each home game. I always looked forward to that before the games.

And I’ll always know who to call…City Auto Glass…at 2-5-2…(1000)!!! I always said it along with the crowd.

What's your favorite non-playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

RR: My favorite non-playing memories are the experiences I had with my host families. I was fortunate enough to have three different host families. The Kittleson’s, Lash’s, and the Storm’s were all really great host families. They all showed great hospitality and they made me feel like I was at home. After spending 4 summers in Rochester it did begin to feel like a home to me. I also have a lot of great memories at the RAC. It is definitely the best place to work out in the Northwoods League and it’s not even close. I always appreciated the opportunity to workout there and spend time there with teammates away from the field. But, without a doubt my most special memories are all the times I got to talk about Jesus with someone. Those are the moments I’ll never forget, whether they came in the clubhouse or dugout, out on the field during BP, in the hotel, or on the bus rides. Those times were always the highlight of my day, whether I went 4-4 or 0-4 that day.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

RR: I feel like there are so many to just name one. I don’t know how many total teammates I ended up having in my 4 years. It had to be over 200. So I’ll name a few from each of my years there.

2011: Jake Kurth. Jake and I roomed together at the Kittleson’s. Great guy. Couldn’t ask for a better roommate. Elliott Engle. Elliott was also my roommate that year with the Kittleson’s. Elliott and I ended up being Honker teammates for 3 years. Davy Wright. Davy was my double play partner up the middle my first year. He always brought energy to the game and made it fun to be at the field. Kevin Johnson, my teammate from Illinois. It was nice to have a familiar face in the clubhouse. I loved playing defense behind KJ. We were 2-year Honker teammates. Nick Dolsky. Dolsky was also a 3-year Honker teammate of mine. Dolsky and KJ were fun guys to be around. One memory that I have of them that stands out to me is when they made guns out of a bat, paper cups and some tape during the middle of a game at Willmar. They had the scope with the cross hairs and the trigger and everything on there. I think I still have those pictures on my phone.

2012: Justin Parr. Jordan Parr. 2012 was my favorite summer in Rochester because of these 2 guys. They were both my teammates and roommates at Illinois. They are two of my best friends. Both of them are going to be in my wedding this summer. I love these guys because they love Jesus. This summer in Rochester we all were able to help each other grow in our faith and devotion to Him. Cole Lankford. Great teammate. I still get texts from him letting me know what Christian song I should check out. Michael Benjamin. He was only able to play for 2 weeks in Rochester because of an injury. But, in those 2 weeks we had some great fellowship and were able to mutually encourage one another in the faith. Michael Lukkason. Another one of those guys who brings energy with him to the field everyday. I remembering him always smiling and just having fun. You could just tell he loved to play the game. Matt Kent. Another 3-year Honker teammate of mine. He’s another guy that is fun to play defense behind when he is pitching. He has a good pace, has great command, and his knowledge of the game is phenomenal. Mason Pingel. A 2-year Honker teammate. One of the funniest guys I’ve ever met. Jared Miller. The memory that stands out of Jared is the game we were at home in a rain delay and he’s out at home plate just hitting fungo bombs into the trees in right field. Then he proceeded to do his home run trot around the bases. Another fun teammate. Michael Broskowski. 2-year Honker radio announcer. Always sat by him on bus trips. Had some great conversations with him. Very talented radio announcer. Always enjoyed listening to his “Inside the Fowl Lines” videos.

2013: Carter Burgess. Very talented shortstop. He was the MVP of the All Star game that year. Fun to play with. Mike Friel. Had some great conversations with him. He was my roommate a lot of road trips. Tyler Baker. Tyler and I were both engaged during this summer. So we were trying to help each other out as we prepared for marriage. Jeff Campbell. 2-year Honker teammate. Loved watching his BP rounds. Jarad Watts. Great guy and great teammate. I enjoyed being around him. Brandon Stennis. 2-year Honker teammate. Very athletic pitcher and great guy. Logan Spitzack. 2-year Honker teammate. Spent a lot of time with him in the Word. Thankful for him.

2014: Ryne Roper. My brother. It was a really special summer because of the fact that I got to play with Ryne. Ryne had come up to Rochester in summers before to watch me play. So I think it was a pretty cool thing that now we were getting to play the infield together as Honker teammates. It was also special for my parents, too. They were able to come up and visit and watch us both play. Casey Fletcher. My teammate from Illinois. Mike Freeman. It was fun to come to the field when you knew Mike was pitching. Seemed like he always had a solid outing and gave us a chance to win. We (Illinois) play him (Oklahoma State) this spring. Connor Schaefbauer. My double play partner up the middle. Travis Hull. Another great guy and teammate. Alex Schultz. Schultz reminded me a lot of Michael Lukkason. Always brought energy with him to the field, loved to play the game, and was always smiling. I think it was either Schultz or Schaef that started calling me “The Captain” during this summer, since it was my 4th. It was an honor that I appreciated, but didn’t think was deserved. They also organized for me to run out onto the field by myself for the last home game after I had broken the career hits record. The fans at Mayo Field gave me a standing ovation. That was a pretty special moment for me. I am thankful to my teammates, coaches, and Honker fans for that. Slider. 4-year Honker teammate. The most popular mascot in the Northwoods League. Slider gave me a lot of good advice throughout my 4 years in Rochester. I hope I can pull some dance moves like his at my wedding this summer. You’re the best Slider. Coach Matt Bowman. Loved playing for Coach Bowman. Always did an extra set of 50 calf-raises for Coach Bowman to end my workout.

And I am sure there are many more teammates I could have mentioned in each of those years.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

RR: I am in my 5th year at the University of Illinois. This is my last season of eligibility. So probably as you are reading this we are getting ready to play our Opening Day game. We open up in Beaumont, TX against New Mexico St.

I am currently doing my student teaching in a 3rd Grade classroom in Champaign, IL. I will graduate in May with a degree in elementary education. After graduating, I would like to move back to southern Illinois and get a teaching job. I would also like to coach baseball and football.

I will marry my beautiful fiancé, Victoria, this summer on July 25. I am excited to marry her and start our life

What was your biggest realization while playingfor the Rochester Honkers?

RR: I realized the amount of preparation and hard work it takes to compete and be successful at a high level. I realized the physical grind a 70+ game schedule in about 75 days takes on your body. It made me appreciate guys who do this as their job year after year. I realized the amount of mental toughness the game of baseball takes. But, I think my biggest realization were the many ways baseball translates over into life. I’ve tried to take the lessons I’ve learned from baseball and apply them to my everyday life.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

RR: I do. Mainly through social media.


Matt Halloran – Minnesota

2012, 2013 Rochester Honkers

Photo of Matt in 2014 batting for the MN Gophers

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

MH: The talented teammates I got to play with. There were so many guys who got drafted during or after their time with the Honkers. I learned a lot just being around those guys and seeing the talent and mental game it takes to get to the next level.

What's your favorite non-playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

MH: Living with my grandparents was definitely one of the highlights, but I think the teammates were the best part. I thought it was really cool how a group of guys who know nothing about each other before the season can come together and bond the way we did. We spend about 5-6 hours a day at the field for 70 days, so it doesn't take long to get to know each other.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

MH: The catching corps during my 2nd year on the team, Tyler Baker and Jared Deacon. They are great guys and it was a blast playing with them. Also, playing with Mason Pingle both seasons, because you never know what is going to come out of his mouth. One of the funniest guys I've known.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

MH: I hurt my elbow last season and redshirted. I am back for my 5th year as a Gopher, and, after a year of rehab, hoping it's a healthy one.

What was your biggest realization while playingfor the Rochester Honkers?

MH: I definitely have more respect for Big League catchers. Playing every single day wears on your body more than you think. It's a whole different feel than college where you have a couple days during the week to rest your body before the next series.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

MH: I keep in contact with a few guys. Mostly through social media. A few of us have played each other too which is always fun.


Tony Kemp – Vanderbilt

2011 Rochester Honkers

Photo of Tony in his Final Year with Vanderbilt

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

TK: My favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers was just hanging around the team. We had players from all over the country and I still remain close to a few of them as of this day.

What's your favorite non-playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

TK: Favorite non playing memory would have to be The Paulson family. I still are close with them and they even came to see me play a minor league game in Iowa and we went to dinner and spent more time together. They are an incredible family.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

TK: That’s tough, so I’ll name 3! Anthony Hutting, Ryan Hambright, and Spencer Navin. We always kept the game fun and they were cool guys to play. We always were together for that summer and we had a blast.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

TK: Since Rochester, I’ve been drafted by the Houston Astros, graduated from Vanderbilt University, and I am currently playing for the AA affiliate in Corpus Christi, Texas for the Astros organization.

What was your biggest realization while playingfor the Rochester Honkers?

TK: Well for me, it was my first experience playing summer baseball in the college ranks and I had just finished up my freshman year of college. So going into Rochester I didn’t know what to expect but the talent was very good and I was a bit nervous at first.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

TK: Johnny Coy, Anthony Hutting, Brett Hambright, and Ryan Hambright are the closest players that I still remain in contact with to this day!


Elliott Engle – Doane College

2011, 2012, 2013 Rochester Honkers

Photo of Elliott pitching in his final season with Doane College

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

EE: My favorite memory was being able to dance with the Zooperstars.

What's your favorite non-playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

EE: When Zach Etheredge was the coach, to get to know all the players on the team, we had to get infront of the whole team and tell the most embarrassing moment and sing a minute of your favorite song.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

EE: My favorite teammates would be Reid Roper and Nick Dolsky because we spent 3 years together or Kevin Johnson and Mason Pingel (the funniest kid in the world) who spent 2 years with me.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

EE: Since leaving Rochester I finished my degree and am currently pursuing a professional career in baseball.

What was your biggest realization while playingfor the Rochester Honkers?

EE: Biggest realization was that the kids like myself who came from a small school (NAIA) can compete with the athletes that come from the NCAA schools.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

EE: I try to stay in touch with as many as possible through facebook and text a few of them.


Mike Wagenheim

2008, 2009, 2010 Rochester Honkers Radio Broadcaster

Photo of Mike for his position at Nicholls State University

What’s your favorite memory while working for the Rochester Honkers?

MW: That’s a no-brainer: calling the decisive game of 2009 NWL championship series. That team was so much fun and they were loaded with talent.

What's your favorite non working memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

MW: I enjoyed my once-a-summer breakfasts with the Roellinger family. It was incredibly kind of them to invite me into their home. I will also never forget manager Rusty McNamara’s comment, “I’m about to fill this bus with uppercuts” on the bus ride home after a particular bad loss, when the team was a bit too jovial. I still use it to this day. Mac was the perfect guy for that team.

Who was your favorite teammate when you worked for the Rochester Honkers and why?

MW: I didn’t have teammates, obviously, but I loved the press box staff at Mayo Field. We always found a way to keep ourselves entertained.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

MW: I took over as the play-by-play voice at Nicholls State University and currently serve as the Assistant Athletic Director for Communications at the school.

What was your biggest realization while working for the Rochester Honkers?

MW: I’m not sure if I really had any grand revelations. I was older and more experienced than most of the young guys broadcasting in the league and had been through the grind a few times already. It allowed me to have more fun.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

MW: I still stay in touch with general manager Dan Litzinger. One of my colleagues, Erik Solberg, served as the Voice of the Honkers in 2014..


Michael Broskowski – Western Illinois University

2012, 2013 Rochester Honkers Radio Broadcaster

Photo of Michael Broadcasting for the Burlington Bees

What’s your favorite memory while working for the Rochester Honkers?

MB: My favorite memory while working in Rochester would be playing in the prison softball game and getting crushed by the prison team twice. It was also awesome to find out they listened to the games in the jail cells at night.

What's your favorite non working memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

MB: My favorite non working memory would be just hanging out with Kim, Dan and the rest of the office after games, it is what I miss the most about my time in Rochester. Had a lot of fun and also learned a lot.

Who was your favorite player when you worked for the Rochester Honkers and why?

MB: My favorite player during my time in Rochester would have to be Reid Roper. He is the definition of class, a great guy and was fun to watch him play in the field as well as come in to close out games, throwing 90+. In the two years I spent in Rochester we had so many great guys it was fun being around them.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

MB: Since I left Rochester I am working as the Director of Broadcasting and Media Relations for the Burlington Bees in Iowa, the Class A affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels in the Midwest League. I broadcast all 140 games and serve as the media contact and I am in charge of player appearances around town to get them out in the community. I also work sales in the off season and help where needed. My side job in the off season is serving as the play-by-play broadcaster for the Southeastern Community College men’s basketball team in Burlington.

What was your biggest realization while working for the Rochester Honkers?

MB: My biggest realization was what running a baseball team all entails and what makes a baseball organization run. Right away in my first season I recognized how hard Kim and Dan work and what they put into the operation and I gained so much respect appreciation right from the start. I also learned some valuable lessons along the way such as be careful what kind of pranks you play when across the border in Canada.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

MB: I stay in contact with most of the former interns and staff members as well as the players. Social media helps a lot in the regard. Some of the former players have moved on to the pros and have gone through the league I am currently working in. Caught up with Jordan Milbrath, Max Murphy and Mitch Brown this season, was nice seeing some familiar faces again.


Ryan Ruiz – Central Arizona

2010 Field Manager Rochester Honkers

Top Photo of Wife Carissa, Oldest Daughter Brooklynn, Ryan

Bottom Photo of Daughter Blake Audrey Ruiz

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

RR: My favorite memory managing the Rochester Honkers would have to be clinching the first half. Our players had so much fun that first half. They learned how to play relaxed and it helped us throughout the playoffs. That team was one of the most fun teams on and off the field I have been around. From road trips, to before games, after games, pranks, etc.,  they just had a lot of fun. The way baseball is supposed to be played.

What's your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

RR: My favorite memory was being able to use my experiences as a college and professional baseball player to help assist these guys how to handle themselves on and off the field. One thing I remember that was great was the coaching staff sitting down before and after the games to talk baseball.  We had a great staff and we were able to make each other better.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

RR: I did not have a favorite player. All of these guys had a significance in my life to be a better person and coach. My favorite part of being the manager for the Honkers was that these guys pulled for each other and had a chemistry that only championship teams would know. Seeing some of these players make it to the next level and have success is what the Northwoods League is all about.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

RR: After the Honkers I ended up coaching at Grand Canyon University for two more years where we reached the Division II world series in Cary, N.C. in my last year. I am no longer coaching in the game, but I am currently a University Development Representative at Grand Canyon University helping students to obtain their Bachelors, Masters, and even Doctoral degrees. I have been blessed with a second daughter Blake Audrey in September. Her sister Brooklynn loves having a little sister!

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

RR: The biggest realization I had while managing the Rochester Honkers is to cherish every day we have. The memories I have that summer will always stay with me throughout my life. We have an opportunity to help develop and make this world a better place. I attribute my experiences in Rochester and coaching in the Northwood’s League a big part of that.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

RR: I stay in contact with Litz and a lot of those players from that year through text, social media, etc. We went through a summer to remember and I know we will never forget.

I want to thank Dan and Liz and the whole organization of the Rochester Honkers for giving me the ability to coach some of the best college baseball players in the country.


Winston Wood

1994, 1995, 1996 General Manager of the Rochester Honkers

Photo of Winston & Family at his wedding in July 2013

Back Row (L-R): Wife Teri, Patchouli Band Members Julie & Bruce, Winston

Front Row (L-R): Their kids Claire (12), Max (10), Isabella (13), & Will (12)

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

WW: As a non-player, I will answer this in #2

What's your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

WW: Being with the Honkers as GM on day 1 of the franchise’s existence and building it up from scratch is a particularly meaningful, enduring memory. Working with Dan Litzinger, Dick Radatz, Tom Carr, and Larry Owens, as well as with members of the local media like Pat Lund, Dan O’Hara and Matt Montgomery, it was very gratifying knowing that together we were establishing a new sports franchise that residents in the surrounding communities would be able to enjoy for years to come.

Who was your favorite player when you worked for the Rochester Honkers and why?

WW: Probably my favorite player in my 3 years with the Honkers was Dan Kneeshaw. In his 2nd season with the Honkers in 1995, he helped us out with some front office duties so I got to know him better than most of the other players that came through Rochester during my tenure. I remember being impressed with the confidence and directness he exhibited at such a young age.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

WW: Immediately after leaving the Honkers after the 1996 season I moved back to my hometown in California to attend business school at Santa Clara University. After getting my MBA in 1998 I began a 2nd career in finance working for Household Credit Services, Metris Companies, HSBC and now Target. In 2000 I moved back to Minnesota and in 2001 rejoined the Northwoods League as an umpire supervisor. This year I completed my 14th season in that role. In 2013 I married my wife, Teri. We each have two kids from a previous marriage and reside in Minnetonka, MN.

What was your biggest realization while working for the Rochester Honkers?

WW: That Dan Litzinger and I comprised the best looking front office in the Northwoods League!

Do you stay in contact with former co-workers? If so, who?

WW: I am facebook friends with Dan Kneeshaw and keep in contact with Dan Litzinger. I have also had contact with Larry Owens.


Shea Harris – Gardner-Webb

2006 Rochester Honkers

Photo of Shea playing for the Camden Riversharks of the Atlantic League

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

SH: Striking out 3 times being the beer batter at  La Crosse, hearing a fan tell me to stop striking out because he can't drink no more beer…walking back to the dugout, sitting down after my 3rd strikeout and everyone laughing their butts off with me….it was one of those days….and definitely taking the team picture the night of winning the championship…. Oh and one more favorite on the field moment was hittin a home run in batting practice off the $10,000 Pepsi sign and everyone on the team going crazy because we had that great team comradery….

What's your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

SH: Learning how to ride a horse for the first time….my host family had a lot of land and a couple horses and my host dad took me out riding for the first time….it was just an amazing experience.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

SH: I loved Danny Lyons who I ended up playing against in the Atlantic League and Efren Navarro Jr….both great guys and I gave Efren a ride to the park almost everyday….we clicked pretty well….

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

SH: I went on to play Minor League Baseball in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, the American Association, and the Canadian-American Leagues after coaching 1 year at the Division 2 level and am now coaching at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ having recently finished my career of 7 years….family is important to me and its great having an opportunity to coach for my hometown university here in Jersey….

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

SH: I would have to say that its real tough going from aluminum to wood bats and that having the opportunity to win the Rawlings Silver Glove and a championship there was the toughest but most fun experience….while I was there it felt like I was in a movie….definitely amazing playing with guys from around the country that come together for the ultimate goal of a championship and possible opportunity to end up playing minor league ball….

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

SH: I have gotten in touch with more than a few teammates because we all have at least that one special year….2006 was incredible and I'm sure none of us will ever forget it….even though many of us have taken different paths over the last 8 years I'm sure I'll be in contact with that special group of players throughout my lifetime….


Jimmy Waters – Kansas State

2010 Rochester Honkers

Photo of Jimmy Today!

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

JW: I have many favorite memories while playing for the Honkers.  I'll try and keep it to just 3.

1. Our Series with Alexandria. I think I had like 4 home runs in two games on the same night or something.

2. In a game at Willmar my college teammate Wally Marciel was pitching for Willmar and I hit a home run off him in the First Inning. Mike Strong was pitching for us and I believe it was the second inning and the umpire was not having a good day behind the plate. After the 3rd out Mike had a few words with the Umpire and proceeded to get thrown out of the game. With Mike being my buddy I felt I had to defend him so I ran in from left field and gave the umpire my two cents which landed me with Mike out in the parking lot. Luckily Wally was not to mad about me hitting a home run off him and he lent us his car, so we were able to go grab some dinner and make it back before the game was over.

3. All the dugout antics and pranks that went on. I remember one time I was due up third and I started smelling burnt rubber and was thinking "what the heck is that". I look down and my shoe is essentially on fire. Phil Haig had successfully got me the the "HOT Foot" prank.

What's your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

JW: 1. My host family was the best! The Bruemmers truly took Mike Strong and I in like family. I truly appreciate everything they did for us that summer. I've had 4 different host family before Rochester and a host family can make or break your summer. They certainly made ours.

2. During the all-star break my The Bruemmers took Mike Strong, Mitch Caster, Chris Elder, and myself on a canoeing trip. That was perhaps my favorite day that summer.

3. On my birthday all the guys went out in downtown St. Cloud. I believe we just clinched our playoff spot for the first half of the season earlier that night too. From what I remember it was half price drinks and karaoke night. So to say the least things got interesting.

4. Our trip to Thunder Bay was after my birthday and we decided we wanted to celebrate my birthday again in Canada. I believe the name of the place we went was Scuttlebutts or something like that. This place had a PA system and I think between Phil Haig, Mitch Caster and Mike Strong they announced "Happy Birthday Jimmy Waters" at least 20 times. So to say the least everyone in this place knew it was my birthday. I also remember running out of Canadian currency and opening a tab on a visa gift card that had $20 on it. I'm not sure how this was possible but 15 guys drank on a $20 visa gift card for 4 hours.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

JW: Honestly I'd have to say I enjoyed playing with everyone on this team. There was a core group of us that did everything together and we all clicked real well.

I know I'll leave someone out but I'd have to say Mitch Caster, Phil Haig, Sean Martin, Josh McKeon, Mike Strong, Dan Pellegrino, Matt Dittman, Ryan Hambright, Richie Jimenez, Davey Wright, Chris Elder, Anthony Hutting, Arik Sikula, Ian Kadish.

I'd also have to say I really enjoyed our coaching staff that summer. Ryan Ruiz and Andy Judkins were absolutely a blast to play for.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

JW: After Rochester I went back and finished out my senior season at Kansas University. After Kansas I played two years professionally in the Frontier League Baseball.

Once I decided to end my baseball career, I moved back to my home town in Council Bluffs, IA. I decided to help expand my families business.

Currently I'm part owner and Director of Operations at 3rd Degree Screening, INC. My company performs background checks and coordinates drug testing for employers nationwide. We also perform background checks for many youth organizations including volunteers and coaches.

When I'm not working at 3rd Degree Screening, INC. I reside in Omaha, NE. I'm an assistant wrestling coach at Creighton Prep High School and I also give private baseball lessons in the Spring and Summer.

What was your biggest realization playing for the Rochester Honkers?

JW: To enjoy everyday you get the chance to play. It is such a small portion of your life that you get the opportunity to play everyday and you need to take advantage of it.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

JW: Yes I do.  I probably keep touch with Mike Strong and Chris Elder the most. These days with all the social media (twitter, instagram, facebook, snap chat) you are able to keep in touch and see what everyone is up to instantly. I believe I could pick up the phone and call any of these guys and pick up right where we left off. I will sometime get a group text together and text some of the guys random inside jokes we had. So if any of them are reading this "BUFFALO"


Johnny Coy – Wichita State

2011 & 2012 Rochester Honkers (Signed in 2012 but did not play)

Photo of Johnny from Summer 2014

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

JC: My favorite memory while playing for the Honkers was the players I got the chance the play with! Great talented players who were all around good guys. And of course another great memory was how awesome the fans were at every home game.

What's your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

JC: My favorite non playing memory would have to be my host family. I was very lucky to be paired with such a wonderful family. I was very fortunate to get to spend that summer with Tracy, Mike, Payton and Rylie Schnell! I miss them that's for sure.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

JC: It's hard to narrow it down to just one player that was my favorite Honker to play with that summer. Up and down that lineup were great guys who I really got along with and enjoyed playing with every day that summer.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

JC: Since I left Rochester at the end of the summer in 2011. I graduated at Wichita State, and I am currently back home in Saint Joseph, Missouri. I am currently getting my Masters in education and once that is completed I plan on teaching at the high school level. I am a substitute teacher in the same school district. I am also coaching baseball and basketball at the high school level. In the summer time I also coach a college summer baseball team, the Saint Joseph Mustangs who I played for during my first two summers in college.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

JC: I also do stay in contact with several players from that 2011 team. Guys like Tony Kemp, Elliot Engel, Erik Mattingly and Kevin Johnson just to name a few. The one guy I keep in contact with probably the most is Anthony Hutting. I met so many guys that summer who i got to know really well and will probably be friends with that 2011 team for life.


Mitch Karraker – Oregon

2009 Rochester Honkers

Photo of Mitch for his position as the Oregon Ducks Baseball Administrative Assistant

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

MK: The best memory I have is dog piling on the field when we won the Northwoods League Championship.

What's your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

MK: The relationships I created with the players that summer.  We had a bunch of great guys that enjoyed being around one another.  We had lots of fun on and off the field.  That was my first experience in a collegiate summer ball league and I couldn’t have asked for a better team and organization to be with.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

MK: Scott McGough was a guy I played with at Rochester and at the University of Oregon.  He is an all around great individual who always does things the right way.  An absolute competitor on the mound with nasty stuff it was fun to play with him.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

MK: I finished my playing career at Oregon and since then I have been in several different roles on the Oregon staff.  I finished my masters degree this summer in Education and coached a summer team in the West Coast League, the Klamath Falls Gems.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

MK: There are a lot of good baseball players out there.  It was my first experience playing with guys all of the country.  Going into it I thought I was a pretty good player but after watching some of the individuals I played with and against, I knew I could be a better player and improve in some areas.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

MK: It is hard to stay in contact with a lot of the guys because we all go our separate ways.  I talk to Scott McGough and Danny Pulfer probably the most out of anyone, mainly because I played school baseball with them as well.


Jake Toohey – Illinois

2003, 2005, 2006 Rochester Honkers

Photo of Jake & Wife Erin

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

JT: The 2006 summer season had quite a few amazing memories.  The best one has to be the night we won the championship.  After a long, grueling season it was a great feeling to sweep through the playoffs and win it all at Mayo Field.  The celebration that followed did not disappoint either.  A lot of guys had their families in town for the game and we had a good time out on the deck in left field.  It was weird hearing about some of the guys from Thunder Bay (our opponent in the championship series) driving their own cars down to Rochester for the end of the series so that they could take off and get home afterward.  We kind of got the sense that they just wanted the season to be over.  After the season we had, I don't think anyone on the Honkers felt that way.

What's your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

JT: The All-star weekend in 2006 at LaCrosse was probably the best off-field memory of the summer.  We had 6 guys on the All-star team, and also had Chris Jones in the Home Run Derby.  Everyone from the front office and coaching staff was there, too.  After Jones won the Derby, we were all celebrating and having a good time.  Without going into too much detail, Jones was feeling like the biggest rock star in the world that night, so we decided to play a pretty elaborate prank on him, with everyone from the Honkers in on it.  We punked him pretty good.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

JT: Tough question to answer.  I played in 2003, as well, and Jimmy Conroy (also a teammate at Illinois) is still a good friend of mine, to this day.  From that 2006 team, Chris Jones and Eric Hoffmann were probably my two best friends on the team.  That team was a very tight knit group, so pretty much everyone got along.  It was funny because we were from such different backgrounds.  Jonesy is from Orange County, Hoff is from northern Minnesota, and I'm from Chicago, but we just became good friends right away.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

JT: After 2006, I went back to Illinois and finished my degree and college career in Champaign.  I signed with the Schaumburg Flyers of the independent Northern League after the season and played one season there.  After that, I decided to hang 'em up and joined the real world.  I live in downtown Chicago and I do business development for a software development company called Adage Technologies.  I got engaged in November 2014 and got married in May of 2015.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

JT: It is going to sound a little cliche, but the 2006 Honkers team made me realize that the key to having success as a team is to have the right kind of people in the clubhouse together.  That is not always the case, since great teams have been filled with guys who didn't like each other.  But we had a lot of guys that fit into their roles, and embraced their roles for the betterment of the team.  No one had an ego, and everyone truly enjoyed coming to the ballpark every day.  I played on a couple teams at Illinois that had as much talent as any other team in the conference and we ended up being pretty bad.  Our 2005 team won the Big Ten Championship after everyone checked their ego at the door and came together as a unit.  I think the 2006 Honkers team was like that from the very first day we got together and the credit for that team attitude goes to our coaches Greg Labbe, Kazu Nagai and Mike Saddler.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

JT: Jimmy Conroy and I are still good friends.  I was at his wedding in Nashville over the summer and we hung out a lot in Chicago, before he moved down there.  I wish I kept in better touch with some of the guys, but it does get tougher as you get older.  One funny thing happened a couple of years ago.  I was out to lunch with a co-worker at Portillo's in Chicago.  I was sitting there enjoying my sandwich and I heard, "Jake Toohey?!?" from out of nowhere.  I look up and it was Matt Reynolds, our ace from 2006 and current left handed reliever for the Arizona Diamondbacks.  So we caught up for a little while.  At the time he was with the Colorado Rockies and they were in town to play the Cubs.  Since Matt is a Chicago-area native, he had brought some of his teammates to check out Portillo's, a Chicago staple.  So that was fun random run-in and it was cool to hear some quick stories about his times in the Big Leagues.  I still keep track of the guys that are still playing. Efren Navarro, Jr. has been up in the Big Leagues a couple of times, too.  It's pretty cool when you see a former teammate in the MLB.


Aaron Senne – Missouri

2007, 2008 Rochester Honkers

Photo of Aaron for his MBA

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

AS: I had just finished my first collegiate season at Mizzou and then I came back and hit a home run into the trees in right field in my first game with the Honkers that summer.

What's your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

AS: My first one would be when Brett Featherson was was challenged before a game at Mayo Field to stuff as many large marshmallows in his mouth as he could fit at one time. I think he got up to 38 marshmallows before he started drooling marshmallow all over himself and they started falling out.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

AS: All of us got along really well. I didn’t have one favorite teammate, however I hung out alot with Shaver Hanson and Tim Rademacher.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

AS: After my two summers with the Honkers, I finished my playing career at Missouri and played three years or professional baseball in the Miami Marlins organization. I had a difficult time staying healthy for those three years and eventually I decided that a better route for me was to go back to school to get my MBA at the University of Missouri. I will complete the masters program next December.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

AS: The biggest realization I had was that playing in the Northwoods League was going to be a lot like minor league professional baseball with the bus trips and playing every day.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

AS: With social media these days it is fairly easy to stay in touch with some of my former teammates. Every once in a while we will shoot each other a message or call one another if something happens that reminds us of a time when we were teammates on the Honkers.


JP Moran – Illinois-Chicago

2003 Rochester Honkers

Photo of JP Today!

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

JPM: Favorite memory is when we’d take pregame BP – and turn BP into a home run derby.

What's your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

JPM: My host family was awesome!  Still in touch with them today.  Marnie/Jeff/John/Mary/Grace/Luke Bigler – that family was the highlight of the summer and I’d say 99% of my memories from that summer were times spent with the Bigler family.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

JPM: Joe (catcher) – can’t remember his last name.  Played at Wichita State.  Witty, smart-ass kind of guy and we clicked.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

JPM: Worked as a personal trainer in Chicago, IL for 7 years – ran my own business(entrepreneur).  Currently I’m the General Manager for a packaging company in Pleasant Prairie, WI – LMI Packaging Solutions.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

JPM: Kinda strange realization, but it was that there were bigger and better things out there for me then baseball.  I realized the life of a bus traveling baseball player may not be what I thought it was.  Great summer – don’t get me wrong, but I missed the city.  I missed the energy, the people, the freedom, made me appreciate Chicago and made me realize that there were things that were more exciting to me than Baseball – which had been life to that point.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

JPM: I really don’t – no.


Devin Goodwin – Delta State

2008 Rochester Honkers

Photo of Devin Playing for the Kansas City T-Bones

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

DG: Being able to play baseball everyday and doing it with a good group of guys for the season I played in Rochester.

What's your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

DG: I hung out a lot with my teammates, we all got along really well and had a good time on and off the field. My host family was great too!.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

DG: We all got along, but probably Justin Hilt who was from New Jersey.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

DG: I finished up at Delta State, then was drafted by the Cardinals. I have played two seasons with the Kansas City T-Bones and in the offseason I coach high school football and baseball along with work at a radio station.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

DG: There were a few things. The first was that it got you ready for playing minor league ball. We played or traveled everyday and you had learn how to take care of yourself. The other was that I could compete with guys at a higher level since I only went to a Division II school, while most guys in the league play in Division I. Playing against them made me realize that if you put your work in, you could play well along with move up to a higher level.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

DG: I keep in touch with some of the guys that I played with. Phil Haig came and visited me down in Jupiter for the Cardinals training camp when I was drafted. Zach Robertson, Aaron Senne, and Brian Gump are other guys I keep in touch with too.


Toby Gardenhire – Arkansas-Fort Smith

2002, 2003, 2004 Rochester Honkers

Selfie Photo of Toby and Wife Lindsay

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

TG: My favorite memory from my time playing with the Honkers came when we played in Brainerd in 2002.  The first day there my dad showed up and they made a big deal out of it.  Everyone cheered every time I came up to the plate and clapped when I made plays.  You would have thought I was playing for the home team.  The next night he came again, but he didn’t tell anyone and hid the whole game.  That night I was the beer batter and everyone booed me like crazy the whole night.

What's your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

TG: My favorite non playing memory was definitely my host family.  Dean and Sue Rich and their kids were so good to me the entire time I was there.  They were truly like a second family.  They had to put up with me for three years and I don’t know how they did it.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

TG: I had so many great teammates when I was playing there that it would be impossible for me to narrow it down to just one.  I ran into guys playing college ball every year during the season and it was like we never left Rochester.  And I also ran into teammates when I was playing pro ball and we got to catch up on old stories.  Some of those guys are still playing now in the big leagues, which is really cool to see still to this day.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

TG: I got drafted by the Twins and spent 7 years in the minor leagues after I left the Honkers.  I made it up to AAA and played there for two years before I took a coaching job.  I am now the head coach at the University of Wisconsin Stout.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

TG: My biggest realization while playing for the Honkers was that I realized how much fun baseball can be.  The NWL is like playing pro ball.  When you are playing in front of thousands of people every night with all your friends, it doesn’t get much better.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

TG: Dusty Bensko was my roommate in pro ball when we got drafted in 2005.  He played with me for the Honkers in 2002.  He was in my wedding and I was in his.  He is one of my best friends in the world and I met him playing in Rochester.


Brian Gump – UC Santa Barbara

2008 Rochester Honkers

Photo of Brian at BCS National Championship Game

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

BG: Tons of great memories. Getting to play ball with and against so many talented players from all over in a minor league setting was great. Personally, robbing 2 home runs in one inning in center field at Mankato was pretty sweet.

What's your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

BG: I'm split between watching Letterman and Conan and chatting after every home game with my lovely host mom Sonia Thorn and hanging out at the Rochester Athletic Club with all the teammates working out, playing basketball and relaxing and then there's my short time getting to do some color commentating on the radio when I was hurt at the end of the summer.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

BG: Thats a difficult one to answer. A few names come to mind, Devin Goodwin, Aaron Senne, Austin Wates, Eric Stephens, assistant coach Brent Biggs and Tony Ballesteri. Everyone on that team was solid. So much fun on and off the field.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

BG: I was drafted again, this time in the 26th round by the Phillies, enjoyed playing a few years in their organization where I won 3 championship rings, got released, decided to try pitching professionally, did that for about a year and a half in Indy ball (even for the St. Paul Saints for a bit after being traded to them) and then hung up 'em up last June. Now I work at a PR firm, The Brand Amp (shameless plug I know) in Seal Beach, CA and coach a 12U travel team of great little men.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

BG: My summer with the Honkers gave me my first real taste of what pro ball was going to be like and introduced me to "the grind" of playing every day and traveling non-stop in the heat of summer. Rochester was an excellent place to get that first taste and I left with very fond memories. I also fell in love with Minnesota, I've definitely got a soft spot for the state. I need to get back and take advantage of the great fishing finally.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?

BG: I stay in loose contact with a few of the guys. I'm Facebook friends with several of them so it's easy to see what they are up to and drop them a note from time to time. I played against Goodwin in pro ball so that was cool too. I also give my host mom, Sonia, a call or two a year to check on her and see how her and family and grandson Teddy are doing.


Ben Sickler – St. Scholastica University

1996 Rochester Honkers

Photo of Ben in Recent Newspaper Article

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

BS: 1996 All-Star game, walking out to the mound for the save in Waterloo. And winning the division and playing for league championship.

What's your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

BS: Rochester Athletic Club pass and Pre game AWA wrestling starring Sheik Adnan el Casey

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

BS: Scott Poepard – Was so talented and made the game look so easy. Plus he was good at schmoozing the bartenders for free post game beverages.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

BS: Graduated college, got married, had 3 children. Currently a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist at FirstLight Health System in Mora, MN

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

BS: That I better pursue my education. The interest from professional baseball teams for 5'9" pitchers is nil!


Luke Reiland – Campbell University (NC)

2005 Rochester Honkers

Photo of Wife Abi, Stepson Gage, Daughter Oakly, and Luke

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

LR: My favorite memory while playing for the Honkers had to be; just the entire experience.  From day 1 the entire summer was one I will never forget.  If I did get up before noon on the day of a home game, then i went to the RAC (Rochester Athletic Facility) and sat by the pool for a couple hours.  If I didnt get up before noon, then I just hung out at home for a while and slowly made my way to the field for 2pm batting practice.  This was the most laid back, enjoyable summer I can remember.

What's your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

LR: My favorite non baseball memory of that summer was no question my host family.  I had the luxury of having my best friend Brett Jensen play in Rochester the summer of 2004, so he hooked my up with his host family; The Bigler Family!  Hands down the most amazing, kind, inviting, fun, accepting family I have ever met.  Jeff, Marnie and the kids were so much fun to be around the entire summer.  Most mornings I was awoke to the kids screaming and jumping on my bed in a frantic attempt to get me out of bed.  Of course, most mornings, this was around 11am-12pm, so it was time for me to get up anyway.  I believe that my experience in Rochester that summer would not have been even close to as enjoyable as it was without the Biglers.  I still stay in contact with them often and visit them as often as my busy schedule allows.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

LR: This might be a cop out, but my favorite teammate had to be my high school best friend Brett Jensen.  We played high school ball together at Eagle Grove High School in Iowa for 4 years and then 1 year together at Iowa Central Community College.  It was pretty sweet to be reunited with him for a summer of baseball for one last go around.  He also lived with the Biglers, so it made for a pretty special summer.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

LR: Alot has happened in the last 8-9 years….Wow, its weird to think its already been that long.  The year after Rochester, I went back down to Campbell University in North Carolina and finished my final year of Baseball.  I then moved back to Iowa where I graduated from the University of Northern Iowa.  From there I joined the workforce and started selling fitness equipment.  I have been in the fitness industry since, now with my 2nd company and selling it commercially in the Des Moines, Iowa area.  In 2013, I got married, had a little baby girl (Oakly), built and purchased a house, and started a business!  My wife and I own Crossfit 8035 in downtown Des Moines.  Needless to say the last 12 months have been a wild ride.  Id like to say that things have started to slow down, but that would be a fallacy.  With a now 6 month old, 5 year old step son, a full time job, and a business to run, things wont slow down for a long time!…..Just the way I like it!

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

LR: The biggest realization I think I had during this whole experience probably came after I was done playing baseball.  I think I took that summer for granted a little bit.  I didn’t realize how good I really had it that summer.  Looking back, if I had 1 place to go back and relive, that 4 months in Rochester would certainly be at the top of my list.  Not a worry in the world (other than my 0 for 4 performance the night before).

Do you still stay in contact with former teammates? If so who?

LR: With all of the social media now, its rather easy to stay in contact with a lot of guys.  Of course I stay in contact with Brett (Jensen), but also Matt Marek (who I played 4 years of college ball with), occasionally the "Rochester Mayor" Dan Lyons.  There were a few guys that played with Rochester that I played Junior college ball with at Iowa Central that I check in on once in a while. (Tim Flattery, Eric Hoffman).


Danny Pulfer – Oregon

2009, 2010 Rochester Honkers

Photo of Danny playing for the Clearwater Threshers

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

DP: My favorite memory would be winning the 2009 Championship.

What's your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

DP: I definitely had 2 great host families in my 2 seasons with the Honkers. The Dalys and the Higgins’. My time spent with them was cherished and I still keep in contact with them both.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

DP: I am not sure if I can pin one favorite.  You meet so many characters over both seasons.  I think Phil Haig is a guy I talk about most, just because he is the funniest kid I have ever met. But I will always remember guys like Corey Jones, Jon Tommasini, PJ Sequeria, Danny Brock, The Johnson brothers, Arik Sikula, Aaron Dunsmore, Nick Ramirez and of course my college teammates Scott McGough, and Mitch Karraker.  And that was just 2009.  2010 the kid that stands out the most would be Mitch Caster, as I’m sure everyone will remember him, may he rest in peace.  That team was amazing too. Jimmy Waters, Davy Wright, Richie Jimenez, the Captain Dan Pelegrino, Devin Thaut, my college teammates Ryan Hambright and Andrew Mendenhall, and of course Phil again.  My point is there couldn't possibly be one particular teammate I remember because those teams made an impact that I am very grateful for.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

DP: I left Rochester at the end of the summer of 2010, and went on to get drafted 19th round to the Arizona Diamondbacks, I have since been released but am playing in the American Association League with the Gary South Shore Railcats.  I have since been back to Rochester to visit my host families a couple of times.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

DP: Biggest realization while playing for the Honkers was the everyday grind of games every day and long bus rides day in and day out.  But that was professional baseball is like and that's when I realized this is what it would take.

Do you still stay in contact with former teammates? If so who?

DP: I am always in contact with my old college teammates that played with me, but outside that Nick Ramirez was my best friend from home and I still talk with him very now and again, but not too many guys are still in contact.  But if I ever saw any of them again, I am sure no time would be lost.  That's the thing about baseball, it’s always constant.


Ryan O'Donovan – Butler

1997 Rochester Honkers

Photo of Wife Tricia, Daughter Rachel, Son Will, and Ryan

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

RO: Winning the NWL Championship in 1997 at Waterloo. We popped some champagne (21+ only, of course) and celebrated like kids.  It was great and it meant a lot to us.

What’s your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

RO: Mike and Barb Sarr, my host family, were awesome!  I still keep in touch with them 17 years later.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

RO: Our team in 1997 was great.  We all got along well and we all wanted to win badly.  I remember we won the first 11-12 games of the year.  After that first loss you would've thought a family member died.  I think we expected to win every game that year.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

RO: I completed my M.S degree in Counseling at Butler University.  I currently live in Cambridge, MN and work at Anoka-Ramsey Community College.  I am the Director of TRIO Upward Bound, a federally funded program that helps high school students in our area get ready for college.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

RO: It was my first in depth experience swinging the wood bat.  It was an adjustment early on but turned out to help my development as a hitter.

Do you still stay in contact with former teammates? If so who?

RO: Connect occasionally through Facebook.  Unfortunately, though, I don't see or communicate much with former teammates.  Many of us are spread out across the country.  Would be great to have a reunion at Mayo Field!


Scott Albin – Nevada

1997, 1998 Rochester Honkers

Photo of Scott, Wife Stacey, Daughters Hannah (8) & Paige (4)

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

SA: This question could create a book, honestly. I have so many great memories of my two seasons playing for the Honkers. At the top of the list would be my teammates and how quickly we became so close in both seasons, we built some great friendships. I will break down some memories based on seasons. In '97, it would have to be winning the Northwoods League Championship, personally I had a decent summer on the mound but winning it all took the cake, it was my second championship in consecutive years. In '98, it was a bitter sweet, season. I personally had the season of my career, setting records, pitching in the All-Star game with about 9 other Honkers, but we couldn't bring home the championship, very heart breaking for me. I wanted this group to experience the feeling of winning a championship, we were so close knit as a team and most of the guys were there in '97. I begged and pleaded with Fleenor to let me pitch in Game 2 of the Championship series to get us to Game 3. Out of all the success I had that season, it was incomplete without that ring. But '98 was a summer that I will never forget on and off the field.

What’s your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

SA: We had epic bonfire parties, almost every night we were home. My partner in crime, Lawrence Whitley, and I developed an ideal routine that worked extremely well for us. It involved partying, running the next day and lifting every other, I would shut down the partying and drinking two nights before each start and get smashed after the game on the nights I started. He was the best wing man anyone could have asked for and we took care of each other.

I had the best host family in the business, the McGuines. Paula and John took me as if I was one of their own. Katie and Nate accepted as their big brother as well. We became so close that summer that we still talk to this day. One bond I have with them is our love for the Green Bay Packers, we have been talking about my family meeting up with them to go to Lambeau Field for a game. When I played in St. Paul for the Saints, they were there to watch a few games and when I got released from the Montreal Expos in 2001 and my wife I were headed to St. Paul, we stayed with them for about a week until we went to St. Paul. They will forever be a part of me and my family.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

SA: This is possibly the toughest questions to answer. I would have to say Lawrence Whitley. We both played at the University of Nevada-Reno, so we had that bond to start but he and I drove 24 hours from Reno to Rochester and back without stopping over night. We rarely did anything without each other and most nights he would stay with me at the McGuines. He and I had so many experiences that we talk about to this day, most stories only he and I know about and will take to our grave.

Other than him there was Randy Meadows, Kevin Davis, Valentino Pascucci, Steve Madril, Jeremy Vidalis, Jeff Stevens (who was my catcher and caught almost every start in '98), Josh Pride, Steve Yo, Tod Fox, those were all my favorite guys, side note also the guys we partied with the most.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

SA: Since I left Rochester, I had the privilege to play 4 seasons of Professional baseball, 2 seasons in the Montreal Expos organization with Randy Meadows and Valetino Pacucci, reaching AA before getting released in 2001. Then I finished my career with 2 seasons with the St. Paul Saints. I worked for Oakley for 8 years and coached baseball at Carson City High School in Carson City, Nevada for 6 years. I earned my Bachelor's degree in Speech Communications with a Minor in Spanish in December of 2000 and got married in October of 2000. I have 2 daughters, Hannah (8) and Paige (4) and am currently working for a pest control company as a General Manager in Training and living in Mansfield, Texas. I am also a Certified Personal Trainer, with Specializations in Performance Enhancement and TRX.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

SA: This was what I wanted to for a career. I gave us a taste of what pro ball is like and I loved it.

Do you still stay in contact with former teammates? If so who?

SA: I keep in contact with some of the guys through Facebook (Kevin Davis, Steve Madril, Jeremy Vidalis, Randy Meadows, Shawn Leimbeck and Litz of course!) and Lawrence Whitley and I talk on the phone every once in a while.


Peter Burg – Saint Scholastica

2008 Player, 2011 Coach Rochester Honkers

Photo of Peter Burg Coaching First Base for St. Scholastica

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

PB: My favorite memory has to be getting 2 hits in my only two at bats in the final game of the season, tying me for the NWL record in career batting average at 1.000.

What’s your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

PB: I really enjoyed playing softball against the inmates. I was particularly glad that the inmate doing bicep dips for 2 straight hours didn't decide to join in on the game or someone might have gotten hurt.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

PB: My two favorite teammates were also teammates from St. Scholastica; Adian Kummet and Sean Claugherty. It was great to have a couple of Saints playing along side me that summer. Both are still great friends today.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

PB: Since I've left Rochester, I've lived in Duluth for 6 years. I am now the pitching coach at the College of St. Scholastica. In the summer of 2011, I took advantage of the opportunity to return to Rochester and coach the Honkers.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

PB: I gained a great deal of respect for professional ballplayers playing in Rochester. I looked at the opportunity as an internship for professional baseball and that really showed me what a grind playing every day was. Showing up each and every day for the ballpark and staying for 8+ hours was the true test of whether you loved the game. For me, there was nothing I would rather be doing and I had the best summer of my life!

Do you still stay in contact with former teammates? If so who?

PB: I stay in contact with Adian and Sean. Adian is actually my roommate so I get to see him every day and I speak with Sean about once a week and we see each other quite a bit. Every once in awhile, I get to catch up with guys like Phil Haig, Austin Wates and Zach Robertson.


Brady Ballard – Illinois

2000 Rochester Honkers

Photo of President/CEO of Historic Dodgertown Peter O'Malley (former owner of Los Angeles Dodgers), Vice President Craig Callan, & Vice President Brady Ballard

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

BB: Kangaroo Court sessions held by Judge Fleenor

What’s your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

BB: Hanging at the Archer household, Kim was my host mom w/ Cali & Sean

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

BB: Iowa boys, Vitense – Mattiace – Jensen, we had our Big Ten rivalry before and after, plus they were good dudes.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

BB: Peaked in the Frontier League and went into the business of sports.  Recently the GM of Daytona Cubs (Chicago High-A) and now VP of Historic Dodgertown, a multi-sport destination for tournaments and camps.  Lourdes High School is scheduled to visit this spring.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

BB: There were a lot of good ballplayers from all over at different Divisions.  And that my girlfriend at the time would end up my wife.

Do you still stay in contact with former teammates? If so who?

BB: Not really, living in FL for 10 years hasn’t helped.  Stay in touch with Litzinger for his elaborate knowledge in the business of sports!


Jesse Zimmer – Waldorf JC / Northern Iowa

1998, 1999 Rochester Honkers

Photo of Jesse, Wife Amy, Daughters Sienna & Leah

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

JZ: I had so many awesome memories while playing with the Honkers.  If I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be the night we won the Northwoods league championship in St. Cloud.

What’s your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

JZ: First of all, my host family was terrific. I enjoyed the good times we had on the van rides (no bus for us).  We always found ways to keep ourselves entertained.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

JZ: I really can't pick a favorite teammate.  The players I played with had great personality and all loved the game of baseball and competed hard every game.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

JZ: I have been teaching Middle School physical education for the past 13 years in my home town of Princeton MN.  I am also the head varsity baseball coach.  I am married to Amy Zimmer and we have two great girls, Sienna 7 and Leah 5.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

JZ: I learned a lot while playing in Rochester.  Using a wood bat was a tough adjustment.  I learned a great deal about humility because I struck out much more than I ever had in the past.  I had to learn patience and how to deal with failure often.  I also realized how hard it was to play almost everyday, with long distant travel, hotels etc… It was a grind, but I love every moment and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Do you still stay in contact with former teammates? If so who?

JZ: Yes, mostly through facebook.  Jon Kent, Jeremy Vidales, Scott Albin


Larry Owens – Wabash Valley / Louisville

1994, 1995, 1996 Rochester Honkers Coach / Field Manager

Photo of Larry & His Family (L-R): Dawson, Grayson, Larry, Easton, Wife Kelly, McKenna

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

LO: The 3 summers as a whole is my favorite memory. It was the closest thing to minor league baseball that the players and us as coaches could get. Plus the friendships and fun we had with the front office staff during each summer. They made it easy to have fun.

What’s your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

LO: "Going over the hitters" after games with Radatz, Litz, Winston, Lund and friends! Andrew Thompson buried my fungo in the warning track in front of our dugout during a game. I gave him the night off and he drove me crazy on the bench. He was bored and so used to playing every day. That was the last time I gave him a night off. haha.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

LO: I was a coach and manager so I didn't have a favorite teammate but some of players I most liked to watch play were Kevin Lucas, Mike Maslowski, Dan Kneeshaw, Jason Washam, Josh Bishop and I'm sure I'm missing a few more.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

LO: Following Rochester I coached in Cape Cod the summer of 1997. Went on to coach college baseball at Austin Peay State and the Univ of Memphis. I then began a 9 yr career in professional baseball where I was the pitching coach for the San Diego Surf Dawgs of the Golden League (Independent Professional Baseball) for one year. Then I spent a year as an area scout for the Boston Red Sox. The next 7 yrs I was a minor league pitching coach for the Chicago White Sox till this past Sept when I accepted a Head Coaching position at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY where I get to live at home and spend more time with my family.

Do you still stay in contact with former teammates? If so who?

LO: I touch base with Dan Litzinger from time to time. I have not run into any of the players from my time in Rochester in 1994, 1995 & 1996.


Brett Lindgren- East Carolina

2007 Rochester Honkers Coach

Selfie of Brett & His Little Buddy Owen Phelps, son of Erik & Erin Phelps. Erik is a pilot in the US Navy stationed in Honolulu. Photo taken at the University of Hawaii when UC Davis played there

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

BL: I have two favorite memories while coaching for the Honkers in 2007. The first is a 8th inning come from behind victory at Battle Creek that snapped a losing streak. The game was televised on ESPN U. Craig Fritsch pitched 7 scoreless innings and in the top of the 8th Joe Southers had a pinch hit double to give us the lead. The second memory is watching Brett Featherston play chubby bunny with marshmallows in front of our dugout prior to the game.

What’s your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

BL: When we went to go eat after the game at Waterloo. We ate at a restaurant that was right on the lake. Following a seafood dinner with lots of dessert, the team took to the sand volleyball pit in back to play a game. Unfortunately our nice dinner was a mistake by Gregg Labbe, Dave Martinez and myself as we allowed the team to order more food than our stipend. That was a fun phone conversation with Dan.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

BL: All the guys I coached during that summer were unique. We had good chemistry and a few players who were returning to Rochester for their second or third summers. We didn't win as much as we would have liked but I enjoyed going to the field everyday to work with the guys.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

BL: After leaving Rochester I continued coaching college baseball. I spent five years at Cal State Fullerton, a year at Santa Clara University and I'm now in my third year as an assistant coach at UC Davis.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

BL: I realized how much time and effort Dan and Kim put into the season and making it the best possible experience for both fans and players. They really create a family atmosphere around the ballpark and do a great job taking care of the players who come to be Honkers. It is a long summer but definitely a summer you will remember the rest of your life. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

Do you still stay in contact with former teammates? If so who?

BL: Every once in awhile I will run into or talk to one of the guys from that summer. I see David Flores around because he is coaching at a JC in my area. I also speak with Dan every couple months.


Arik Sikula – Marshall University

2009, 2010 Rochester Honkers

Photo of Arik, Toronto Blue Jays, Class A Midwest League Lansing Lugnuts

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

AS: I have a lot of vivid unforgettable memories playing with the Honkers. Being on the mound, getting the third out of the 2009 NWL championship game. Having my then coach, now friend, Joe Cotton milk a cow. Seeing the terrible umps either, A) call a third strike to end the game as the catcher was throwing it back to me, or B) seeing the whole infield from Thunder Bay get ejected. Too many great times.

What’s your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

AS: A story I always tell is playing the inmates in softball. Those guys loved it and we had a ball. Not many times do you get the opportunity to play softball vs inmates (hopefully). They beat us pretty bad.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

AS: I can't limit that to one person. Obviously, one of my bestfriends/brother was on my team Ian Kadish from Marshall. Rochester brought me with Scott McGough, Drew Beuerlein, Drew Bowen, Joey Housey….I could go on and on. It's really fun seeing a lot of guys I played with four years ago either on the opposite team or on tv.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

AS: After I left Rochester, I Graduated from Marshall University with a 3.8 and was drafted by the Blue Jays. I am about to enter my fourth year of professional baseball. This past year I was named a Blue Jays organizational all-star as well as an all-star in the Puerto Rican winter league.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

AS: Playing in Rochester puts you through a minor league season. The style is the exact same. Playing in Rochester I realized that this is what I wanted to do. I want to make it to professional baseball and make a career of this. I think the experience that I received in Rochester helped me get where I am today.

Do you still stay in contact with former teammates? If so who?

AS: I run into people (Austin Wates) who played for Rochester after me. Ian Kadish, Joey Housey, Scott McGough, Brian Flynn, Joe Cotton


Scott Poepard – Kansas State

1994, 1995, 1996 Rochester Honker

Wedding Photo of Scott, Wife Brooke, Daughter Kyra

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

SP: I have so many great memories of playing with the Honkers that it is hard to choose. I think playing for the town of Rochester and the community was probably the best memory. That city, the community, and the people of Rochester were so supportive of us and really took great care of us!

What’s your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

SP: Van rides home with the Radio Flyer (Eric Peterson), my AMAZING host family and how they took me in like I was one of their own. I cannot thank the Michael and Barb Sarr family enough! To this day, they are like my second family!

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

SP: I met so many great ball players and great guys in general that I cannot choose one.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

SP: After a short stint in the MN Twins organization and 2 arm surgeries ending my career, I returned to Kansas State to finish up my degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management with a Minor in Business. I moved to the Denver, CO metro area and currently work for the Echo Brewing Company in Frederick, CO. I was married in 2011 to my beautiful wife Brooke, adopted her amazing daughter Kyra (11) and we had our first child of our own in 2012 named Kierson Daniel.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

SP: My biggest realization while playing with the Honkers was that baseball was the bulk of our lives. We lived, breathed, and loved the game of baseball. We all had each other's backs and built some great friendships in the process.

Do you still stay in contact with former teammates? If so who?

SP: I have lost contact with most of the guys I played with back in 1994 and 1996.


Matt Meyer – Boston College

2004, 2005 Rochester Honker

Wedding Photo of Matt and Wife Lindsay

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

MM: I think my favorite memory would be the game we played and Brandon McCarthy hit 2 home runs in the same inning, and knowing the history of how long it took him to come back from the horrible accident he had down at University of Florida. Another one of my favorite memories would have been the game that Adam Sanabria threw a no hitter. It was great to see all the incredible individual accomplishments, as well as all the great wins we had as a team.

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What’s your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

MM: My favorite non-baseball memory would probably just be the fun bus rides and all the hilarious stuff Nate Yoho did in the back of the bus. The group of guys on that team definitely were some of the funniest guys I have ever played with.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

MM: It is definitely tough to pick just one teammate that would be my favorite, but I think Nate Yoho and I got along pretty well. He was a great teammate and just an all around good guy. Another guy that I got along with real well was Danny Lyons because we were both local guys and grew up playing against each other, and it was nice to be on the same team for a change.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

MM: Since I left Rochester I went on to play professional baseball for 8 years for the Cleveland Indians, St. Louis Cardinals, and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and made it as high as AAA. As of right now I am finishing up my degree at Boston College and am married to my wife Lindsay Meyer and we have a baby due this upcoming June.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

MM: My biggest realization while I was in Rochester had to be the amount of talented baseball players there are, and how much talent and hard work you have to put in to see results and have success.

Do you still stay in contact with former teammates? If so who?

MM: I have stayed in contact with some teammates I played against Gus Milner, Danny Lyons, Don Czyz, Toby Gardenhire, and many others. Nate Yoho came to one of my games when we played the Iowa Cubs. Also, Facebook has been a great tool to keep in touch, and see how all the guys I played with are doing.


Kevin Davis – Middle Tennesse State

1998, 1999 Rochester Honker

Family Photo of Kevin, Son Grant (6), Wife Stacy, Daughter Morgan (9)

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

KD: The fondest memory I have is level of competition that the league provided. Every night we played against eventual pros. The best personal memory I have holding records for saves, appearances and games finished. I think I still hold a few of them.

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What’s your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

KD: By far the best memory of that summer is meeting my eventual wife. Stacy Groettum was an intern for the Honkers. We began dating in mid-June 1998 and eventually got married in 2002. The funny thing about the situation is Litz had strict rules against employees dating players. So we had to try and hide the relationship. Once he found out he was good with it. I believe he still uses our wedding picture as a warning to interns.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

KD: Lawrence Whitley. We were much alike but yet so different. I was from Southern Indiana and he was from the West Coast.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

KD: Blew my arm out and had Tommy John surgery. Recovered and played 2 more years at Middle Tennessee State University. Graduated and moved back to Indiana. Got married and began teaching and coaching. We have 2 children Morgan 9 and Grant 6. Three years ago I became the Athletic Director at our High School.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

KD: That there are some very talented baseball players out there. Also the Northwoods league prepares you for the life in Pro Baseball. More than anything, I realized I could play at that level.

Do you still stay in contact with former teammates? If so who?

KD: Yeah, Facebook allows me to stay in contact with a lot of my former teammates from my college team to the Honkers.


Phil Haig – University of Illinois, Florida International

2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 Rochester Honker

Family photo of Phil at his sister's wedding

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

PH: My second year when I had to leave early due to a Torn Labrum and Detached Bicep tendon, I was at the final game at home when we won the championship… I also remember the following year, my 3rd, we got the championship again and my final start was 7 innings in game 2 of the championship at home and Mitch Caster closed out the game to send us to game 3. I'll never forget that game, I still remember my reaction after knowing I was finished and also I still can vividly picture what Mitch did after he got the final out.

What’s your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

PH: I have so many non playing memories from Rochester I feel like I'm going to leave something pretty awesome out. First I like to think I had the greatest host family (The Bigler's) any summer ball player could ever have, I still stay in touch with them all and see them whenever possible….. I remember lighting broken bats on fire in front of the dugout to “heat up” our offense, sure enough it always worked until Litz got fearful of the smoke coming from the dugout….. I remember Myron Noodleman and his dance and I could and still can mimic his every move, constantly fitting at least 7/8 guys in cab rides home while on the road back to the hotel, buying a slingshot my freshman year with a couple other team mates, Tony Balisteri and Drew Gagnon, and during BP or free time we would walk around field trying to hit birds or any other thing that was moving.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

PH: This is a tough one because I had a hard time not liking someone and I know I'm going to get a call from someone for leaving them out, I'll go by year. My first year I'd say, Peter Burg, Tony Balisteri, Aaron Johnson- When you have a Canadian, a Kid from Brooklyn and Two Minnesotans, things can get interesting really fast…. Second Year, Aaron Johnson, Aaron Dunsmore Zach Robertson, Brett Mitchell, Once again if I surround myself with a couple of Canucks things are bound to get wild. My last year and most favorite year and group that I'm closest to because we all went through some pretty tough adversity once that season ended and our former team mate Mitch Caster died on his drive back to Wichita. That entire team was awesome and dear to me, Jimmy Waters, Chris Elder, Sean Martin, Grant Muncrief, Matt Dittman, Mike Strong, Dan Peligrino, Davy Wright and of course Mitch Caster

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

PH: I am currently working as the Pitching Coach at Sam Houston State University. Somehow I landed on my feet and working hard at what I love, and will continue to send pitchers up your way..LOL!

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

PH: That summer ball with the right team and the right town and the right coaches is hands down the best times of your life. I have told each player and person that has ever asked that my summers in Rochester were the absolute best times of my life!!!

Do you still stay in contact with former teammates? If so who?

PH: I stay in contact with a lot of my former team mates, Aaron Johnson, Sean Martin, Jimmy Waters to name a few but have had a hard time trying to find a way to their parts of the country to see them again. I also have stayed in touch through social media with former coaches Rusty Mac, Joe Cotton and Andy Judkins


Jimmy Conroy – University of Illinois

2002, 2003

Photo at Jimmy & Kristy's Wedding

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers? 

JC:   There were so many great memories the 2 years I played in Rochester.  To be able to play in a league that replicated the grind of professional baseball with some of the best players in the country was an amazing experience.  If I had to pick a memory that really sticks out in my mind was being a part of a bench clearing brawl against our rival and nemesis Waterloo Bucks.  It really brought our team together.  I remember I was charting pitches in the dugout.  I look up and to my disbelief no one was in the dugout.  Next thing I know I am on the field and people are flying all over the place.  The first person I come face to face with is Skip Handelsman, the head coach of Waterloo at the time.  He startled me because he's a bear of a man.  Luckily, he's as gentle as a cub.  I actually saw Skip a couple years ago in South Carolina and we laughed about that day. No one got hurt except my old University of Illinois teammate "DD" that played on Waterloo and started the scuffle…serves him right.

What’s your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?

JC:  Former teammate Jake Toohey and I got a really hearty laugh when we came back from a 7 day road trip to find that my 2001 Cutlass Supreme (tinted windows and state of the art factory speakers) was stolen.  I had a bad habit of losing my keys back in college.  So I figured I would just leave my keys under the seat of my car….. FAIL!  The Rochester police found my car deserted on a side road 5 miles outside of town.  The thieves only took my CD player.  Tells you how sweet the car was.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?

JC:  There were so many hilarious, unique individuals when you are on a team of baseball players from all over the country.  Its really tough to pick 1 guy so I'll give you the guys that stick out in my mind:The speedy enigma known as Mike Miller, dancing prowess of Chris Nowak and text book head-first sliding into first base by Joel Bocchi.

Watching Andre Ethier take batting practice was always impressive. I remember thinking The Force is with that one…

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?

JC:  I graduated from the University of Illinois and played a couple of years of professional baseball in the Yankees farm system (2005 and 2006).  After I hung up the cleats I landed a job at Wilson Sporting Goods HQ in Chicago where I held several positions.  I married my beautiful wife Kristy last June and currently live in Nashville, TN.  I am a Territory Manager for Wilson Sporting Goods (Wilson/DeMarini/ATEC) in Tennessee & Kentucky.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?

JC:  Rochester was where everything first clicked for me on the mound.  I did a lot of reading about mechanics and the mental side of pitching on bus trips the summer of 2003. I learned more about baseball and pitching that season over any other period of time in my life.  I first realized that summer I had the ability to pitch at the professional level.

Do you still stay in contact with former teammates? If so who?

JC:  Yes, Jake Toohey.  We were roommates in college.  He was at my wedding and we hung out in Cabo San Lucas for another teammates wedding last October.  We literally like to butt heads when we see one another.James Gilbertson – Rochester Community Technical College
2011 Rochester Honkers
Photo of James and his dog

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
JG: My favorite memory while playing with the honkers was everything. Whenever I think about the Honkers so many thoughts come to my mind. Road trips to games, working out and playing basketball at the RAC, and just hanging out with the guys on the field getting tips on pitches and goofing around.

What's your favorite non-playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?
JG: I had a lot of fun off the field. Hanging out with my host family, the Testers (Dave, Jackie, Sabrina, and Nick), was always a blast! Since I was going to school in Rochester after I played with the Honkers, they showed me around town, took to me the best restaurants and helped me get my bearings down on where stuff was and that helped a lot! Plus playing in the back yard with Nick and his friends was fun too! Other things I'll always remember were hanging out with the guys, whether we went to the RAC or just drove around town.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?
JG: There are too many guys to name! Just playing with guys like Johnny Coy, Tony Kemp, Reid Roper, and everyone else was fun! Not only did they make you better but they were eager to give tips and advice. I learned things from these guys and others that I don't think I would have learned anywhere else!

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?
JG: Since playing with the Honkers I played one year of baseball at RCTC and graduated from there with a degree in Law Enforcement. I have also graduated from a police academy in Wisconsin. Right now I'm looking to be hired by a police department, while also playing ball and coaching high school baseball.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
JG: My biggest realization was how much work it takes to play at that level. Its a long season and it takes a lot out of you mentally and physically. I also learned that even though I played at a D3 junior college, there were a couple of times where I knew I could play with these D1 guys.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?
JG: I keep tabs on a couple of guys and send them a message once in a while. Mostly through Facebook.

Bryan Karraker – Central Arizona / New Mexico State
2010, 2011 Rochester Honkers
Photo of Bryan in his final year at New Mexico State

What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
BK: My Favorite memory while playing for the Honkers would have to be in 2011 when I got the nod to the bump in the late innings of a game against Mankato at home (I was an outfielder). I struck out the beer batter and the crowd rushed the field, chanting my name. Okay maybe the beer batter hit a 430ft bomb to dead center, but I looked good out there and got to pitch in a Northwoods league game.

What's your favorite non-playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?
BK: My favorite non playing memory would be all the times our team went out to the local watering holes/cliffs on days off. People from Minnesota might think it's not a big deal because there are about 10,000 of them but when you come from the desert in AZ, any body of water bigger than a cup of water and a swimming pool is an amusement park in and of itself.

Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?
BK: This is officially the hardest question anyone has asked me since I left Rochester in 2011. I can't crown just one champion. The entire 2010 and 2011 teams were filled with some of college baseball's greatest names. Devin Thaut, Davy Wright, Anthony Hutting, Brett Hambright, Ryan Hambright, Jordan Jaksomething, Jimmy Waters, Tony Kemp, and I think Ryan Ruiz played on that team too. Needless to say it was a team full of legends.

What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?
BK: Since leaving Rochester in 2011, I've had three birthdays, well over 1000 meals, and paid all my bills on time. Upon graduating in 2012 from New Mexico State University I headed home to Phoenix where I currently own a Screen-printing and Embroidery business with indoor batting cages.

What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
BK
: My biggest realization while playing for the Honkers was how fortunate I was to be presented with the opportunity to meet some great people, teammates, and life long friends in such a short period of time. I also realized that New Mexico State doesn't hand out nearly the amount of clothing/gear Oregon University does.

Do you stay in contact with former teammates? If so, who?
BK: Here and there but not as much as I should, however now that I feel guilty about it, I will be making a more valiant effort. This questionnaire has me reminiscing about two of the greatest summers I've ever had. From the long bus rides and great games, to Minnesota's finest; Pizza Ranch, it doesn't get much better than when the Geese Flock together.