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Flashback Friday: A Sidewinder summer

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TUCSON (KVOA) - To be frank the Tucson Sidewinders absolutely dominated the Pacific Coast League in 2006. 

Tucson (91-53) is one of only two PCL teams this century to win 90-plus games in the regular season (Memphis-2017). 

The Chip Hale-managed squad stayed dominate in the playoffs winning seven out of eight games to take the first-ever Triple-A National Championship. 

Tucson beat Salt Lake three games to one in the Pacific Conference finals before sweeping Round Rock in three to win the league championship. 

Then it was off to Oklahoma City and the famed Bricktown, where the Sidewinders (98-54) dispatched of the International League Champion Toledo Mud Hens 5-2. 

Scott Hairston who played his final year of high school baseball in Tucson at Canyon del Oro High School was named the National Championship game MVP. 

Hairston led the teams with 26 home runs. 

The Tucson Sidewinder won 98 games in the 2006 on their way to the Triple-A national championship

Robby Hammock (20) and Chris Young (21) also hit 20 plus home runs while Chris Carter and Brian Barden drove in 97 and 96 runs respectively. 

Albert Callaspo hit .337 in 114 games. 

Future Arizona Diamondbacks starting catcher Miguel Montero was the primary backstop for the Sidewinders that season. 

On the mound, Dustin Nippert started 24 games and won 13 of them. Micah Owings finished 10-0 in 15 starts. 

Hale had a dynamite bullpen lefty in veteran Randy Choate (2.17 ERA, 0 HR in 43 AP), who along with Jeff Bajenaru and Tony Pena combined for 22 saves. 

Other notable names on the team, Diamondbacks top prospect Stephen Drew (.284, 13 HR in 83 games), 22-year veteran Terry Mulholland made a three-game rehab pit stop in Tucson before eventually calling it a career and Casey Daigle, the husband Arizona Wildcats softball superstar Jennie Finch. 

Every championship team has a song that puts a stamp on the season, for the 2006 Sidewinders that song was "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. It was played at Tucson Electric Park after home victories

51 players suited up for that Sidewinders squad during the 2006 season. 42 of those 51 spent at least one day of their careers in the big leagues. 

In terms of overall tenure Craig Counsell (1,623) and Tony Clark (1,559) played the most games Major League games of any Sidewinders that season, however both of those players appeared in Tucson on rehab assignment. 

Of the young prospect pool, Chris Young’s 1,465 games in the majors is tops. 

Of the Sidewinder regular pitchers that season, Choate had the most accomplished big-league career, appearing in 672 games over 16 seasons. 

Reliever Jose Valverde was next with 626 MLB games in 12 years. 

Pitcher Mike Schultz was the one game guy in the group. He pitched in one Major League game in 2007 and recorded one career strike in one inning of work. 

Even the team's broadcaster is now big time. UA graduate Ryan Radtke stayed with the franchise when the club left Tucson for Reno. He is now a play-by-play announcer for Westwood One Sports radio network

Copyright 2020 News 4 Tucson. All rights reserved. 

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David Kelly

David Kelly is the weekend sports anchor at KVOA in Tucson. He is a 28-year veteran of the sports broadcast business.

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