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June 17, 2010

Jon Adkins Now Louisville's All-Time Saves Leader

There’s a moment in the 1988 classic “Bull Durham” when Susan Sarandon’s Annie Savoy is urging Crash Davis to let The Sporting News know about his pursuit of the all-time Minor League home run record.

“247 home runs in the minors would be a dubious honor, if ya think about it,” the Kevin Costner character responds.

With all the baseball headlines being filled with perfect games and team milestones, it’s easy to forget the guys that are busting their tails to make it to the Majors.

Or in some cases…back.

Like Annie, I think it would be great to see a friend succeed on any level and before the season even started, I told Louisville Bats closer Jon Adkins that when he earned his tenth save this year…I was going to write about it.

Adkins is a guy, like Davis, that has seen his time in “the show”, but also…has found himself in plenty of Minor League ballparks. Last year, his travels took him overseas to Korea where he led the Korean Baseball Organization in saves with 26.

This past December, he was back in the states, inking a Minor League deal with one of his former clubs, the Cincinnati Reds. Following spring training, he ended up in the same place he was in 2008…Louisville.

Tonight, in front of 8373 fans at Louisville Slugger Field, Adkins became the team’s all-time saves leader.

“It's a great honor,” Adkins told The Hall exclusively following the game. “A lot of great players have come through there and the team has a lot of history too. But, at the same time it means you've been in Triple-A too long as well. It was special being able to break the record at home.”

Adkins entered the game, appropriately enough, against the Durham Bulls with two outs in the ninth. He needed just three pitches to get shortstop Angel Chavez to ground out weakly in front of the plate and unseat Mark Grater to become the Louisville franchise leader in saves with 40.

“Anytime you can break a record of any kind, it's special,” Adkins added. “Louisville has some of the best fans in MILB baseball. They support us through good times and bad. I enjoy every game I play at Louisville Slugger Field.”

In his last stint with the Bats, Adkins was the team’s Co-MVP and an All-Star. Prior to this season, team Vice President/General Manager Dale Owens welcomed the righty back with open arms.

“He is a great pitcher and a great influence on younger players in the clubhouse,” Owens told The Hall back in December. “He certainly has the talent to pitch in the Major Leagues.”

After the game, he was just as enthused.

"I'm very happy for Jon. I don't care what level you participate at you want to be the best," Owens told the Hall exclusively. "In the history of the Louisville franchise, no closer has done better. It's a nice accomplishment and one I'm sure he'll be very proud of long after his career is over."

It remains to be seen if Adkins, who saw action in four Spring Training games for the parent club, will get the call north this season, but one this is certain…The Hall of Very Good will be with him every step of the journey.

Someone might even have to tell The Sporting News about it.

BallHype: hype it up!

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