A Renegade Championship Summer: A Broadcaster’s View of a Magical Minor League Baseball Season

| August 25, 2016


Come along for the ride with the 1999 New York-Penn League Champion Hudson Valley Renegades. Hear from the players and coaches who made it happen, including superstar Josh Hamilton and many other household names! You’ll also get the true feel of minor league baseball, going behind the scenes with umpires, front office executives, scouts, former players and many more!

Put yourself in the dugout, clubhouse and team bus to see what really goes on with a minor league baseball team! See what kind of impact Josh Hamilton, the number one pick in the draft, had on the 1999 Renegades.

Truly a must for any baseball fan who wants to be closer than ever to the game!

“I’ve been in professional baseball for three years, and I’ve never seen the true, day-to-day feeling of the game caught the way Rick has in A Renegade Championship Summer.” – John Gilbert, Director of Group Sales, Norwich Navigators, 2000

This storybook season took place in the summer of 1999. It was my final season as the play by play voice of the Hudson Valley Renegades, a Tampa Bay Devil Rays Short Season A-Ball affiliate. I had no idea what kind of ride I was in for, but I paid close attention just in case. This season in 1999 turned out to be one of the most memorable, amazing runs in recent minor league baseball history!

I was there for every pitch and every bus ride. I witnessed every moment, as the season crystalized into one for the ages. Complete with future Big Leaguers such as Josh Hamilton, Matt Diaz, Jorge Cantu and Edwin Rodriguez, the season was a continuous series of unexpected turns.

Following the season, I spent seven months holed up in a downtown apartment, transcribing thousands of hours of taped interviews and culling pages of notes. I’d make phone calls to players – recalling my recollection of events, in an effort to piece together an accurate and exciting recap of the season. Occasionally I came up for air, and food.

My goal was to bring you – the reader – inside a real season of minor league baseball. I wanted baseball fans of all ages to have a family book which allows you to see what I saw and hear what I heard. I knew I had to finalize this season in print to share with the baseball world.

The original version of this book has sold quite a few copies over the past decade-plus, but only now can I add the final touches. Only after stepping back to watch from afar can I truly see the magic that began in 1999. As importantly, only after years of reflection can I see how truly special the Hudson Valley Renegades have become to New York’s Hudson Valley. Such a class organization, as good as it gets in all of minor league baseball.

Much of what you’ll read in the pages to follow will be as originally published after the 1999 season. When I could add something new, for the benefit of the reader, I have.

Traveling with a minor league baseball team is perhaps the most enjoyable job in all of sports broadcasting, and recalling this season helps me remember why. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did living it.


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