Fort Mill, SC March 11, 2013 – Each week, the Charlotte Knights are giving fans a chance to name the “All Knights Stadium Team” through an online vote. The team will be revealed at Knights Stadium on Thursday, April 11 — the final Opening Day in the history of Knights Stadium.
This week, fans can vote for a utility player. A player qualified for a utility spot if they played three or more positions during their time with the Charlotte Knights. Below are six finalists for the best utility player in Knights Stadium history:
Jeff Kunkel – Kunkel played for the Knights in 1993 and hit .281 with 11 home runs and 46 RBIs, along with 12 stolen bases that season. The Florida native also scored 65 runs, had a team-high 34 doubles, and three triples. He played first base, second base, third base, shortstop, and outfield.
Luis Lopez – Lopez played all over the diamond in 1993 for the Knights. He played 52 games at first base, three at second base, seven at third base, and eight in the outfield. Overall, in just 67 games, the Brooklyn, New York native hit .314 with 12 home runs and 37 RBIs.
Jerry Brooks – An International League All-Star in 1996, Brooks led the Knights with 34 home runs and 107 RBIs. His 34 home runs were the third highest in a season by a Knights player, although at the time, it was the second best mark in franchise history. His 107 RBIs were the best by a Knights player until 1998, when Brian Daubauch surpassed the mark with 124. He currently ranks third in a single Knights season in RBIs. He played outfield, third base, first base and even catcher (made 31 appearances behind the plate).
Bobby Smith – Smith was the club’s leader in a number of offensive categories that season and played all over the diamond. The California native, who played every infield position, as well as the outfield, amassed 28 home runs and 89 RBIs for the Knights that season. It was his finest year as a professional. In 2006, Smith returned to the Knights and .259 with six home runs and 35 RBIs for the Knights in 59 games. His 28-home run season ranks as the seventh-best in Knights franchise history.
Luis Rodriguez – Rodriguez appeared at 44 games at shortstop, 10 games at third base and 31 games at second base for the Knights in 2010 and had a solid year with the bat and in the field. The Venezuela native posted a .293 batting average with 16 home runs and 56 RBIs for the Knights that season.
Dayan Viciedo – Viciedo posted back-to-back 20 home run seasons for the Knights from 2010-2011. The Cuban native hit .274 with 20 long balls and 47 RBIs for the Knights over 86 games in 2010. The next year he compiled a .296 batting average with 20 home runs and 96 RBIs. His 40 home runs (over two seasons) rank seventh all-time in franchise history. Over his two years, he played third base, first base, DH, and right field for the Knights.