The Newark Bears signed infielder Alex Bardeguez last week, according to the Can-Am League website’s transactions page.
Bardeguez is from Coram, N.Y. and he’ll celebrate his 27th birthday next month. Last season, he appeared in 30 games for the New York Federals, hitting .299 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 107 at-bats. He primarily played shortstop last season, but he has some experience at all four infield positions as well as in the outfield.
Bardeguez has also played for the Sioux Falls Canaries in the American Association, the Sonora Pilots in the Arizona Winter League, the Rockford RiverHawks in the Frontier League and the Sussex Skyhawks in the Can-Am League. He attended Villanova, where he majored in commerce and finance.
In other Newark Bears news, second baseman Danny Bomback was one of three Can-Am League players named to the Independent Prospect Tournament’s All-Tournament Team last week. The Can-Am League squad advanced to the championship game in the tournament, but lost to the North American League team 5-2.
Bomback played for the Pittsfield Colonials last season, but was acquired by Newark as a result of off-season dispersal drafts for players from the Pittsfield Colonials and Brockton Rox.
The Newark Bears played in the Atlantic League for 12 seasons, and will begin their second in the Can-Am League this May. While the City of Newark’s baseball legacy is recognized at Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium, there is little evidence of the history of the current incarnation of the Bears – just a pair of banners recognizing their 2002 and 2007 Atlantic League championships.
The Newark Bears have had some famous players wear their uniform over the years: Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, the infamous Jose Canseco, 2004 Boston Red Sox closer Keith Foulke, former New York Mets stars Edgardo Alfonzo and Armando Benitez and a number of others.
While it’s clear that Henderson is the best baseball player to appear in a game for the Newark Bears, it’s not as easy to say who was the best Newark Bears player in franchise history. Henderson is definitely in the running – in 147 games for Newark in 2003 and 2004, he hit .302 with 17 home runs, 64 RBI and 46 stolen bases.
Jose Canseco didn’t spend that long in Newark, and he didn’t put up a lot of big numbers. His brother Ozzie is a different story. In 2000, Ozzie Canseco hit .299 with 48 home runs and 129 RBI in 138 games. The team added a second level of netting beyond the left field wall because his home runs kept ending up clearing the ballpark and landing in the road, according to stories I’ve heard from fans who were going to games then.