• Waft Off The Old Puff

    Posted by on May 10th, 2012 · Comments (3)

    Justin Antweil shares the story on this milestone for Jeff Nettles.

    Comments on Waft Off The Old Puff

    1. Jim TreshFan
      May 10th, 2012 | 4:06 pm

      Jeff Nettles was a teammate of Juan Rivera’s on the ’98 GCL Yankees when they both were teenagers.

    2. May 10th, 2012 | 4:41 pm

      I still can’t shake the feeling that Jeff’s future is being a salesman at one of the Flemington Car and Truck Country Dealerships…

    3. April 10th, 2013 | 9:38 am

      And, it comes to an end.

      Faces new and old reported Tuesday morning to the Somerset Patriots, but the most recognizable face in the history of the team’s lineup remained 3,000 miles away at his California home.

      Eight-time Atlantic League All-Star third baseman Jeff Nettles, 34, and the five-time league champion Patriots could not reach an agreement in the offseason to bring back the league’s career leader in hits, RBI and games for a 10th season. The only other time since 2003 that Nettles was not in spring training with the Patriots was in 2008, when he spent the full season at Double-A for the Baltimore Orioles.

      “I offered him a player-coach position when I got the manager’s position,” said Brett Jodie, who doubles as the director of player personnel. “I wanted him to make the transition where he helps the younger guys, throws batting practice, comes to the ballpark early, and only plays three or four times a week.”

      After rejecting the offer, Nettles, who has long expressed an interest in coaching, said he found no room to negotiate an alternative solution. Instead the sides parted ways with an understanding to treat it like a business decision and spare hard feelings.

      “It just wasn’t something I felt I could come back for,” Nettles said of the player-coach position popularized in recent years by Camden’s Brad Strauss and Southern Maryland’s Jeremy Owens. “I didn’t want to split my time being a half a coach and a half a player. I told them I would come back as a coach 100 percent or a player 100 percent and neither of those were an option.”

      Nettles, who got married Saturday, hit .283 with 667 RBI and 382 extra-base hits, including 154 home runs, among his 1,052 hits in 1,006 games for the Patriots. He played dazzling but error-prone defense.

      “It was going to be tough for me to run out with the extras on Opening Day,” he said. “Call it pride. Call it whatever it is. It’s just how I am. I didn’t bust my butt for 138 out of 139 games last year to run out with the extras and watch guys run out there who don’t have the passion to play for the Patriots like I did.”


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