Top Five Black Players in Charleston RiverDogs History
In celebration of Black History Month, throughout February, teams across Minor League Baseball are taking a look back at five of the best Black players to suit up for their club. While some of these standout performers went on to long and illustrious Major League careers, others simply had great
In celebration of Black History Month, throughout February, teams across Minor League Baseball are taking a look back at five of the best Black players to suit up for their club.
While some of these standout performers went on to long and illustrious Major League careers, others simply had great Minor League careers or, in some cases, just one incredible season that went down as “a year for the ages.”
Here is a look at five of the best Black baseball players ever to suit up for the Charleston RiverDogs.
Having starred collegiately at Fresno State, Judge was selected in the first round of the 2013 draft by the New York Yankees. The California native made his professional debut by playing 65 games with the RiverDogs in 2014. Judge hit .333 with nine home runs and 45 runs batted in during his time in the Lowcountry, earning a selection to the South Atlantic League All-Star Game.
The 6'7 slugger made his MLB debut in 2016 before bursting onto the scene in 2017. Judge was named American League Rookie of the Year and finished second in the MVP race following a campaign in which he hit .284 with 52 home runs and 114 RBI.
The outfielder has been a focal point of the Yankees lineup for each of the last six seasons, making the all-star team three times, receiving MVP votes following three seasons and twice winning the Silver Slugger award.
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays drafted Crawford in the second round of the 1999 draft and then spent a full season with the RiverDogs in 2000. In 135 games, the outfielder from Houston batted .301 with 38 extra-base hits and 55 stolen bases.
Two years later, Crawford began his 15-year career in the big leagues by appearing in 63 games for the Devil Rays. He was a staple in Tampa Bay for nine seasons before closing his career with two seasons in Boston and four in Los Angeles with the Dodgers. Crawford finished his career with a .290 batting average, 136 home runs, 766 RBI and 480 stolen bases.
His accolades include four all-star selections, two seasons after which he received MVP votes and a stellar 2010 campaign that saw him win a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award.
A dozen years after his brother, Dmitri, was selected fourth overall by the St. Louis Cardinals, Delmon became the first overall pick of the Devil Rays in 2003. He spent the entirety of his first professional season with the RiverDogs in 2004. He lived up to high expectations by hitting .320 with 25 home runs and 115 RBI in 131 games. Young added 26 doubles and 25 stolen bases.
In a career that concluded in 2015, Young suited up for five different teams (Tampa Bay, Minnesota, Detroit, Philadelphia, Baltimore). His career totals included a .283 batting average, 109 home runs and 566 RBI.
Young finished second to Dustin Pedroia in the 2007 American League Rookie of the Year vote and received MVP votes following the 2010 season when he set career-highs with 21 home runs and 112 RBI.
Arriving as the second overall pick of the 2003 draft, the Devil Rays prospect spent the first 101 games of his professional career in the Holy City. Upton compiled 35 extra-base hits, 46 RBI and 38 stolen bases for the RiverDogs.
Upton made his Major League debut the next season at the age of 19 and then arrived for good in 2006. His MLB career lasted 12 seasons, eight of which came in Tampa Bay. Prior to the end of his career he also made stops in Atlanta, San Diego and Toronto. His final numbers included 262 doubles, 586 RBI and 300 stolen bases.
The 20-year old from Georgia put together the most dominant season on the mound in Minor League Baseball in 2022. His outstanding performance came in the midst of the RiverDogs run to their first championship in franchise history.
Bradley went 9-3 with a 1.76 earned run average during his time in the Lowcountry. At the time of his promotion, he led the league in wins, ERA, opposing batting average and WHIP. Following the season, he was named Minor League Baseball's Top Starting Pitcher.
The Tampa Bay Rays selected Bradley in the fifth round of the 2018 draft out of Redan High School in Stone Mountain, GA. He was ranked by MLB Pipeline as the #21 prospect in the Rays farm system entering the season, but now sits at #6. Baseball America has him slotted at #58 in their latest top 100 prospect list.
Randolph deserved mention in this list for his career accomplishments despite playing in Charleston prior to the arrival of the RiverDogs franchise. One year after being selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the draft, Randolph took the field for the Charleston Pirates in 1973. In 121 games, he posted a .280 batting average, with eight home runs and 51 runs batted in. He also walked 90 times against just 54 strikeouts and stole 43 bases.
His time in Charleston was followed by a remarkable 18-year MLB career, that included 13 seasons and the 1977 World Series title with the New York Yankees. In 2,202 games at the sport's highest level, Randolph compiled a .276 batting average with 445 extra-base hits, 687 RBI and 271 stolen bases. He struck out just 675 times while working 1,243 walks.
Prior to his career concluding in 1992, Randolph played for the Pirates, Yankees, Dodgers, Mets, Brewers and Athletics. He was a six-time all-star, received MVP votes following two seasons and was the American League Silver Slugger at second base in 1980.