The word “character” gets thrown around a lot, but it’s best defined when truly personified by individuals who display it. San Francisco set-up man Jeremy Affeldt is an individual that defines character through his actions. Along with bringing heat with his mid-90s fastball, Affeldt brings the game a lot of heart. In addition to earning a reputation as one of the more reliable set up men in the game, and an important part of San Francisco’s World Champion success in 2010, Affeldt has been one of the leagues’ most devoted players in terms of charitable activities. The 9-year veteran has lent himself to a number of causes along the way, most notably Not For Sale, a non-profit organization devoted to the cause against anti-child-slavery in Thailand, and Generation Alive, an organization devoted to exposing situations of social injustice and oppression around the globe. His efforts have been recognized in a variety of ways including being recognized as San Francisco’s nominee for the 2010 Roberto Clemente Award.


Much like the JPX-800 irons, power is the name of the game for Chicago outfielder Carlos Quentin. Since his first full season and breakout campaign in 2008 when he registered 35 HRs and 100 RBI, Quentin has carved his niche' as one of Chicago's most-consistent power hitters. Truly a fan favorite for his slugging prowess and his affable and laid-back demeanor, Quentin has earned nicknames "TCQ" (THE Carlos Quentin) and "Q-perman" which is carried out in-stadium through Superman-like imagery of Quentin brandishing a "Q" on his chest like the classic American superhero. An All-Star in 2008, the strapping 6'2", 230 lb slugger truly embodies the "Q-perman" moniker.


After seeing limited action during brief stints in the big leagues in 2008 and 2009, young catcher Bobby Wilson saw the most-extensive action of his career in 2010, appearing in 59 games for Anaheim. Known for his solid defense and natural instincts in handling pitchers and managing games, Wilson provides a level of security for Anaheim as he enters 2010 as the team's back up to starting catcher Jeff Mathis.

While it may come as a surprise to some, Wilson credits golf as a unique platform for he and his teammates to develop a deeper sense of camaraderie and establishing the personal bonds that are critical to being a Championship team.


Not many people can say they've been able to slay a dragon. But in 2009, Jeff Mathis did just that with his heroic 11th inning walk-off RBI double that defeated mighty New York in one of the most dramatic playoff victories in baseball's last decade. The moment was made even more significant by its "David vs Goliath" nature, as the humble back-up catcher with only sporadic big-league experience instantly attains hero status by defeating baseball's most consistently dominant franchise. Entering 2011, Mathis begins the season for the first time since turning pro in 2005 as Anaheim's starting catcher. He's one of the league's most defensively skilled catchers (lifetime fielding percentage of .985), well-known for his ability to handle starting pitchers and is consistently ranked amongst baseball's best in terms of pitchers' ERA during games in which he's behind the plate.


As far as baseball pitchers are concerned, the aces and closers tend to get the attention, while the unsung heroes tend to be the workhorses who churn out innings by the dozen over the course of each season. Arizona’s Zach Duke is a workhorse. Since his impressive rookie season where he was the first Pittsburgh rookie to win his first five starts, including a dazzling 9-strikeout performance in his big league debut, Duke’s workhorse status has been well earned over his six years in the big leagues.  Duke has averaged just north of 6-innings-per-start over the course of his career, and was among the league leaders in innings pitched and starts in each of the 2006 and 2009 seasons. Duke’s impressive performance in 2009 earned him his lone All Star selection.


After bouncing from a starting role to the bullpen over the course of his first two big-league seasons in 2006 & 2007, Chad Billingsley elevated his status to that of baseball’s elite starting pitchers in 2008. That year saw Billingsley put forth a dominant 16-win season in which he eclipsed the 200-strikeout plateau.  Over the past three seasons (2008-10) Billingsley has solidified his status as an elite fire-baller averaging more than 180 Ks and just north of 13 wins, while solidifying a 3.55 lifetime ERA and an opponent batting average of .248. An All Star in 2009, Billingsley is a member of a strong starting rotation in Los Angeles that’s expected to anchor the team throughout the 2011 season.


There aren’t many big-league pitchers more intimidating on the mound than 6’4”, 300 lb Los Angeles closer Jonathan Broxton. As is the case with many closers, the equation is simple with Broxton. Hitters know he’s going to come at them with nothing but straight heat. The only question is whether or not they can handle it.  After two seasons as one of the league’s most-effective set up men, Broxton earned the role of closer in Los Angeles midway through 2008. In only 69 innings of work, Broxton registered 14 saves and 88 strikeouts, following up the next season (his first full-season as the team’s closer) in 2009 with an All Star season in which he amassed 36 saves, striking out 114 hitters in only 76 innings.  Broxton enters 2011, his third year as Los Angeles’ full-time closer looking to build on his impressive career numbers of 77 saves, 493 strikeouts over 379 innings and a 3.11 ERA.    


Over the past four seasons, Milwaukee outfielder Corey Hart has become one of the most dangerous hitters in the big leagues, amassing more than 80 HRs and 320 RBI over this span. These numbers become even more impressive considering this period includes a 2009 season shortened significantly by injuries. Hart was named to the All Star team in two of these four years (2008 & 2010). Known for his imposing 6'6" frame, Hart showcased his power-stroke on a national stage at the 2010 Home Run Derby where he amazed baseball fans by tallying 13 home runs in his first at bat. He went on to finish third in the competition. Hart is a key member of the dangerous Milwaukee lineup, loaded with elite power hitters that many believe will be as productive an offensive force as the league will offer in 2011.


The silent superstar for San Francisco's young pitching staff is fire-baller Matt Cain. Few would argue that Cain is among the game's most dominant, albeit under-appreciated starting pitchers, and his impact during the Giant's 2010 Championship season was invaluable. Over just five full seasons since his debut as the most anticipated pitching prospect in 2005, Cain has been the picture of consistency and production. In just over 1,000 innings pitched, Cain has registered more than 900 strikeouts, an ERA of 3.45 and a WHIP of 1.22. While his win-loss record may not seem as impressive (57-62), those numbers are incredibly deceiving. The truth is that Cain's run-support has not been as consistent as his own performance, failing to register wins in a host of games where he's held opponents to little or no runs. This fact is supported by his consistently being among the league's leaders in quality starts. His post-season dominance in 2010 was capped off by 7 2/3 scoreless innings in Game Two of the Fall Classic against Texas, becoming only the fifth pitcher in postseason history to register more than 20 innings without yielding a single earned run. This propensity to deliver when it's needed most has earned him the nickname "Big Game Cain."

event name: 
Minneapolis CC
event venue: 
Minneapolis CC, Boys JO's
start date: 
Wed, 06/29/2011 (All day)
end date: 
Wed, 07/06/2011 (All day)
address line 1: 
1301 2nd Ave S.
postal code: 
Host Location Phone Number (Optional): 
(612) 335-6000
event type: 
Meet Mizuno