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Baseball

Foresters Induct 2006 Championship Team into Hall of Fame

Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia gives keynote speech at Saturday night banquet

The 2006 team’s induction marks the first time a whole team was honored in the Hall of Fame. Click to view larger
The 2006 team’s induction marks the first time a whole team was honored in the Hall of Fame. (Christian Eckert/ Noozhawk Photo)

The Santa Barbara Foresters’ Hall of Fame just became much bigger.

Nearly 11 years after winning the National Baseball Congress World Series for the first time in franchise history (the first of six eventual titles, with the most recent coming last summer), each member of the 2006 team was inducted into the hall on Saturday night.

Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia was the featured speaker, as friends, family and fans gathered at the Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center for the Hall of Fame ceremony.

The event featured a live and silent auction, as well as a buffet-style dinner provided by local restaurants and wineries.

Foresters manager Bill Pintard reflected on the importance of the 2006 team, saying: “They were the very first ones that won. Since then we’ve been in six national championship games and we haven’t lost. We have high goals and high standards. Winning’s fun and putting Santa Barbara on the map is great.”

Dylan Axelrod, five-year major leaguer for the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds, was one of the local favorites on that legendary 2006 team. Axelrod grew up in Santa Barbara, playing baseball at Santa Barbara High and City College before joining the Foresters. Axelrod and teammate Andre Miller are the only two Foresters to hold two spots in the Hall of Fame as individuals and members of a team.

“Seeing the faces is really awesome,” explained Axelrod. “It’s really special being honored for this more than ten years later. This was a special group.”

Alongside honoring the Hall’s inductees, the event was largely focused around “Hugs for Cubs,” the charity started by Pintard and his late son Eric Pintard. The charity focuses on providing support for local youths inflicted with cancer.

L.A. Angels manager Mike Scioscia (left) Foresters skipper Bill Pintard pose for a photo. Scioscia owns a share of the Conejo Oaks, a rival of the Foresters. Click to view larger
L.A. Angels manager Mike Scioscia (left) Foresters skipper Bill Pintard pose for a photo. Scioscia owns a share of the Conejo Oaks, a rival of the Foresters. (Christian Eckert/ Noozhawk Photo)

“I love what they do for the community,” said Axelrod of the Foresters organization. “More than the winning, it’s about this community with Hugs for Cubs and youth baseball. Being from here, it means a lot to me.”

Scioscia’s inspirational speech reflected Axelrod’s sentiments, offering up proverbial advice such as “baseball brings us together...,” “we’re role models in everyday life...” and “don’t be embarrassed to go out there and try and win.” Scioscia advocated for more participation in community service, urging the crowd, “wherever you live, get involved. That’s the biggest difference you can make.”

After a brief Q&A, Scioscia turned the floor over to the live auction, although he couldn’t resist getting involved when his own donated item came up, taking over the role of auctioneer much to the delight of the crowd.

After a change in the field-use policy at UCSB’s Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, the Foresters home for 25 years, the team is in the process of relocating to an undetermined park.

“We’re working really hard and we should hopefully have it finalized in the next couple weeks,” claimed Pintard. “We’re not leaving Santa Barbara, we’re not going anywhere. We’re looking for another championship.”

— Noozhawk sports reporter Christian Eckert can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports and @noozhawk. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Each on the Foresters six National Baseball Congress World Series trophies were on display. Click to view larger
Each on the Foresters six National Baseball Congress World Series trophies were on display. (Christian Eckert/ Noozhawk Photo)

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