The West Michigan Whitecaps, Detroit’s Low-A affiliate, has announced the newest class for the team’s Hall of Fame. This year’s honorees, the third ever class, includes Tigers head groundskeeper Heather Nabozny, Current Cincinnati Reds catcher Ramon Hernandez, and Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya. The trio will be inducted at a banquet at Frederick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids on January 19. Tickets can be obtained by contacting the Whitecaps.
Nabozny served as the ‘Caps first ever head groundskeeper and has served the same position for the Tigers since 1999 when she became the first ever female head groundskeeper in the major leagues.
Hernandez, a 12-year major league veteran and former American League All-star, played one season for the ‘Caps in 1996 when West Michigan was an Oakland affiliate. That season, Hernandez batted .255, but lead the club with 12 home runs and 68 RBI in leading the team to the Midwest League title. he has produced 149 career major league home runs.
Like Hernandez, Zumaya’s stay in West Michigan lasted only one season. After being selected in the 11th round of the 2002 June draft, Zumaya spent his first full season as a professional in Grand Rapids. In 19 games, all of them starts, Zumaya wound up 7-5 with a 2.79 ERA. In just over 90 innings that season, he struck out 126 batters.
In his five year major league career, which has been marred by injuries, the flame-throwing right hander has fanned 210 batters in 209.2 innings, posting a career ERA. Zumaya is said to be on schedule for Spring Training after fracturing the tip of his elbow while throwing a pitch last June.