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Legends On Deck

Antoan Richardson From the Farm to the Yankees

New York Yankees, Antoan Richardson Batting

Antoan Richardson from the Farm to the Yankees.

Photo by Keith Allison on Flickr

Antoan and Brian Armbrister

On summer weekends, Antoan would hang out over at the Armbrister’s home with his childhood friend Brian. In the meantime, Brian played baseball on the weekends at Freedom Farm. So he convinced Antoan to play with their team without his mom’s approval.

One weekend, Brian loan Antoan a baseball pant to play a game, and they had a good game. But in the meanwhile at Brian’s house, Antoan mom was early to pick him up and asked why you so dirty? They said because they were playing baseball. Consequently, Mom said she didn’t want him to play. So weekend visits at Brian’s house stopped.

After a while, Brian and Antoan were sorting ways to get him back on the field. But in the meantime, most of his friends started playing, and Freedom Farm became the spot to hang out because baseball was life for them.

Freedom Farm Baseball League played on an actual farm. Founded by Greg Burrows Sr in 1989, the farm was called Freedom Farm. Where on Saturdays before game time, the players had to move cows, goats, and sheep dropping of the field. Plus on occasions, a herd sheep or a few ducks would interrupt an inning or two.

So at Freedom Farm where Antoan played, there was horses, cows, sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, and baseball.

So after a while, Brian began to hang out at Antoan house, hoping that Mom would soften up and forgive him. And that was a start; And so she decided to let Antoan play baseball with Brian at Freedom Farm, and he caught on to the game very fast.

Unpaid Bills

Brian joked that Antoan still may have a lot of unpaid bills, for the number of windows broken at his parent’s and neighbors houses; Along with himself and Herbert Brown, saying that they broke plenty windows.

On another occasion, one of Antoan game was going live on the air; So he invited all his classmates to the game. That turned out to be a bad idea, with his classmates in the stands, Antoan got strike-out four times.

Antoan Richardson From the Farm to the Yankees

In 1998, Antoan Mother sent him off to high school in Florida; American Heritage High School, in Delray Beach Florida, where he played on the football and baseball teams. The following year he was joined by three more friends out of the Freedom Farm League in 1999, Greg Burrows, Geron Sands, and Greg Jones; Eventually opening the door to the school for many more players, mostly from the Freedom Farm League.

Drafted four times

In his senior year at American Heritage, Antoan was drafted in 27th round of the 2001 MLB draft, by the Orioles. Antoan decided on college with his two best friends to attend Palm Beach Community College. The Os again drafted Antoan in the 27th round of the 2002 draft. After graduating PBCC, Antoan went on to Vanderbilt University in 2003. His two friends Greg Burrows and Geron Sands went on to Nova Southern University. After Antoan second season with the Commodores, he was drafted by the Diamond Backs in the 13th round of the June 2004 MLB draft.

His steady climb in the Minors

Eventually, in his senior year, Antoan was drafted in the 35th round of 2005 MLB draft by the Giants. And he started his steady climb in the Giants system where he went to the AZL Giants in the Rookie Arizona League. From 2005 to 2009 Antoan Richardson moved up through the Giants Minor League System. After four years of moving up through the Giants system. Two thousand nine saw his playing time cut, and the Double-A Connecticut Defenders released Antoan.

Another Opportunity

As a result of this, Antoan signed with the Schaumburg Flyers of the Independent Northern League, where he finished of his 2009 season. The Missippi Braves invited Antoan to their spring training in 2010, at the end of spring training the Braves was very Impress with Antoan’s game in spring training. But there was no roster space for him. As a result, he returns to the Flyers.

First Major League Called Up

The Missippi Braves signed free agent Antoan Richardson on May 27th, 2010. Where played two seasons, before getting his first call-up to the Major Leagues on September, 4th 2011; Become the sixth player from the Bahamas to do so. He played in nine games, collecting a hit in his first MLB at-bat, he finished with two hits in four at-bats, and two runs scored.

A light Moment for Antoan, in a 2016 Spring Traning game

 

Antoan Richardson from the Farm to the Yankees

I remember sending Antoan a Facebook message in 2014, hey I said, where are you playing this year? Antoan replied, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. I said who? He answered the Triple-A team of the New York Yankees, oh! Interesting, I said. Then after a successful season with the RailRiders, the New York Yankees selected the contract of Antoan Richardson from Scranton/Wilkes-Barra RailRiders.

Antoan Richardson from the Farm to the Yankees

Antoan Richardson A Yankees! Wow!!!

Do you know what that meant for a baseball fan in the Bahamas?

I end this story with, My Journey Home by Antoan Richardson. This story is worth it all, “Antoan Richardson from the Farm to the Yankees!!!”

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Jeff Francis

Office Assistant at Wynn Bahamas Ltd
Jeffrey was born on April 29th, 1961, in Nassau, Bahamas to Rejoiner Ann Rolle and Jerome James Francis Etienne.

Married to Andrea G. Rolle-Francis, they have two daughters; Janae Latoya Francis, a graduate of Allegany College of Maryland, and Jessica Lee Francis a graduate Potomac State College West Virginia University in Kyser West Virginia.

Jeffrey was coaching the sport of baseball from 1980 at the age of 18 years old because he loved the sport as a kid. He started listening to the game over the radio out of Miami Florida in the late 60s and in the early 70s started playing the game locally in various local leagues right up to the premier senior league; a league where all of the current Bahamian minor leaguers played.

In 1982, Jeffrey had an invite to a three day tryout with the New York Yankees in Hollywood Florida, which was an awesome experience that is lasting a life time memory for him.

Jeffrey has been following the Bahamian baseball players in the minor leagues since 1999 with Angelo Burrows, but found greater interest with the signing of Antoan Richardson in 2005. He also writes a year end review on their play on his Facebook page, Baseball Bahamas, and he has a website with the same name. He has a great following and would love to expose the baseball players to a bigger worldwide audience.

He has a good relationship with all the players because he personally coached most of them.

His favorite MLB Team is the Detroit Tigers from 1969.
Jeff Francis
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