A's Battle Through Tough Season with a 16-16 Record
It had been a while since the Al Thomas Club last watched the playoffs from the sidelines. The 2006 season, once filled with hope and purpose, succumbed to a barrage of injuries and resulted in the A's serving as spectators come playoff time.
Season-ending injuries to catchers Andy Doyle and Andy Hambelton, 2b Matt Thayer, rf Chris Malloy, pitchers Leo Corcoran, George Grant and Paul Bonner, along with several additional injuries and job requirements forced the Thomas Club to fight through one of its toughest seasons in history.
Several bright spots evolved from the team's misfortune though, as several players to the occasion and blossomed with the increased playing time. Rookie Liam Powers finished second in the league in Rookie of the Year voting, hitting over .400 in his inaugural campaign, having been recruited at cousin Brian's wedding last January. Second-year player Jim Flavin took advantage of his opportunity to play more and showed a nice flair with the bat, hovering on or above the .300 mark for most of the season. Flavo also added a couple of solid pitching performances down the stretch.
Versatile Chuck Killens displayed some exciting pop in his bat and proved he could help the team in many areas. Veteran George Grant had made some enormous progress on the mound before his injury, and should prove a valuable weapon in the future. John Kenny served as a strong presence on the mound, at the plate, and in centerfield, and should help the team from the start in 2007. Mark Daly has always been a workhorse in any capacity for the team, but this year went above and beyond the call of duty, catching nearly every game for the last 5 weeks of the season, and doing a great job!
Many believe this team was still feeling the after effects of losing in Game 7 of the Finals the year before, and that, combined with horrible luck and brutal injuries, served as a recipe for mediocrity in 2006. Fueled by the drive to regain its championship caliber, the Al Thomas A's should be right back in the thick of things in 2007. Several free agents are already in the mix, and there are rumors of an influx of young Milton talent as well. Stay tuned.......