Cape League Unveils 2024 Hall of Fame Inductees

HYANNIS – Officials have announced the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame inductees for 2024.

The class includes 4 National Baseball Hall of Famer Todd Helton, former Cape League MVP and current major leaguer Nick Senzel, pitcher Pat Neshek, batting champions Andrew Calica, Todd Cunningham and Brick Smith, and Falmouth manager Jeff Trundy. 

The Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame induction ceremony is scheduled for November 17 at the Wequassett Resort in Harwich. Tickets are available here.

The 2024 Cape League season begins with a full slate of games on Saturday, June 15th.

The following is a run-down on the inductees from the Cape League: 

Andrew Calica, Wareham

The UC Santa Barbara product won the 2015 Cape League batting title with the Gatemen hitting an impressive .425 and led the league in on-base percentage (.480). His batting average that magical season was the fifth highest in Cape League modern history, trailing only Ken Voges (.505 in 1963), Sam Nattile (.443 – 1981), Buck Showalter (.434 – 1976) and Terry Steinbach (.431 – 1982). During four seasons in college, he hit .288 with 28 doubles and 43 stolen bases, including his 2015 season when he hit .329. The speedy Calica was drafted in the 11th round by Cleveland and spent next four seasons (2016-19) in the minor leagues, hitting .292 overall with 15 homers, 125 RBI and 56 stolen bases. He played with Akron in Class AA Eastern League in 2018, batting .278 with six homers, 49 RBI, 78 runs scored and 27 stolen bases.

Todd Cunningham, Falmouth

The switch-hitting outfielder out of Jacksonville State University led all Cape League batters in 2009 with a .378 batting average, winning the Thurman Munson Batting Championship Award. He also led the league that season in hits with 59 and on-base percentage (.458), while finishing second in both runs scored (31) and slugging percentage (.458). With the Commodores that season, he had 12 extra-base hits with 22 RBI and drew 19 walks, leading to an All-League selection. The Jacksonville, Ala. native stayed locally playing at Jacksonville State, hitting .346 over three seasons with 22 homers, 118 RBI and 36 stolen bases. He was drafted in the second round of the 2008 MLB draft by the Atlanta Braves, played eight games for the big club in 2013 and appeared in another 39 games in 2015. His final appearance was 2016 when he played 20 games with the Angels. He spent the next three years in the minor leagues, last working as a coach for the Kansas City T-Bones of American Association of Professional Baseball. He has recently been an MBA candidate at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Todd Helton, Orleans

Hailing from the University of Tennessee, where he still holds several records, Todd Helton was National Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year in 1995 and enshrined in the Vols’ Hall of Fame in 2017. He helped lead Orleans to the Eastern Division title in 1994, where he hit .308 with nine doubles and 22 RBI, and was named to the East All-Star team as the starting first baseman. Although he didn’t hit any home runs in a game, he won the Home Run Contest at the All-Star Game held at his home field, Eldredge Park. Helton was drafted by Colorado in the eighth round of the 1995 draft and made his major league debut against the Pirates on August 2, 1997. Over his 17-year career with the Rockies, he amassed 2,519 hits, 369 home runs, 1,406 RBI, 1,401 runs scored, and a .316 batting average, among other team records. He was a five-time All Star, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, and a four-time recipient of the Silver Slugger Award. Helton retired from baseball in 2013 and the Rockies retired his jersey number 17 the following year. He will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame this summer.

Pat Neshek, Wareham

The outstanding closer led the Gatemen to 2001 Cape Cod Baseball League championship with a 4-2 record in 14 games, which included six saves, 29 strikeouts and only one earned run while compiling near-spotless 0.41 ERA. Known for his unorthodox pitching style, Neshek’s submarine delivery finished with sidearm motion, developed after a baseball struck his forearm in high school. From Butler, he was selected by Minnesota Twins in sixth round of 2002 Major League Baseball Draft. Neshek made his MLB debut for the Twins in 2006, and pitched for them until 2010 (except for 2009, missed due to Tommy John surgery). He was selected to the MLB All-Star game in 2014 and 2017. He also went on to pitch for San Diego, Oakland, St. Louis, Houston, Colorado and Philadelphia in a 13-year career which ended in 2019. His career marks include a 36-25 record, with a 2.82 ERA and 471 strikeouts. An avid autograph collector, Neshek has created and runs his own website for his fans to interact and talk about collecting autographs. His 1970 complete Topps set is thought to be one of the best-rated in the world.

Brick Smith, Hyannis

The slugging first baseman out of Wake Forest helped Hyannis win the 1979 Cape Cod Baseball League championship by batting .360 in the playoffs with a home run and eight RBI. The following season, he returned to the Mets and led all Cape League hitters with a .391 batting average (50-128) to capture the Thurman Munson Batting Championship Award. He was first in OBP at .536, and third in slugging percentage (.648) and walks with 40. Smith had 10 doubles, a triple and seven home runs, driving in 40 that season. He made the Cape League All-Star team both seasons and in 1980 was named the All-League designated hitter. He was also the recipient of the Daniel J. Silva Sportsmanship Award. He was drafted by Seattle Mariners in 5th round of 1981 Major League Baseball Draft and played during 1987 and 1988 seasons with Mariners. After his baseball career, he returned to Charlotte, N.C. to teach history at Providence Day School. He spent more than 35 years there as a teacher, coach and administrator. He coached Providence to two state championships in baseball and one in basketball.

Nick Senzel, Brewster

In 2015, the Tennessee Vols standout won the Cape League MVP and Outstanding Pro Prospect, leading the Whitecaps to a 24-19-1 record. The hard-hitting infielder batted .364 with four homers and 14 stolen bases and led the league with 15 doubles, 34 runs, 33 RBI, 86 total bases, 21 extra base hits and .558 slugging pct for the Whitecaps. As a junior at Tennessee in 2016, Senzel’s 25 doubles led the SEC and he was named to several All-America teams. Nick was selected with the second overall pick in 2016 MLB draft by the Reds and impressed in his rookie season in Cincinnati with a .258 average with 12 HR, 20 doubles, 55 runs scored, 42 RBI and .742 OPS. Senzel is currently in his sixth year in the big leagues, now playing for the Washington Nationals.

Jeff Trundy, Falmouth 

The affable Trundy’s life in baseball began early during his Maine childhood, followed by a stellar playing career at UNH. After serving as a grad assistant coach at Colorado earning his master’s degree, he returned to Maine as coach at Cony HS for 20 years. Jeff was inducted into the Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013.  A native of West Minot, Maine, Trundy began his Cape League tenure in 1995 as an assistant coach, first with Cotuit and then Falmouth, where he became head coach in 1999. Last year, Trundy hit the magical 500-win mark and through 2023, he’s amassed 513 wins. He was selected by fellow managers for the Mike Curran Manager of the Year Award in 2004, 2016, and 2019. Known throughout the league and beyond as “Gentleman Jeff,” he’s a great ambassador for the Cape League, with his emphasis on coaching and mentorship, playing the right way, and ensuring the best possible experience for his players.  Jeff is a teacher and baseball coach at Frederick Gunn School in Washington, CT, and has served as part-time scout for Toronto Blue Jays.

The 2024 Cape League season begins with a full slate of games on Saturday, June 15th. All ten teams will play a 40-game regular season schedule, to be followed by a three-round postseason, culminating with the Cape League Championship Series in early August.  Additionally, the annual Cape League All-Star Game will be held at Guv Fuller Field, home of the Falmouth Commodores, on Saturday, July 27th.

 

About Grady Culhane

Grady Culhane is a Cape Cod native from Eastham. He studied media communications at Cape Cod Community College and joined the CapeCod.com News Center in 2019.



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