In 2006, former Rider pitcher James Hoey made his major league debut for the Baltimore Orioles, facing the Minnesota Twins.
Four years after his 35th and last previous major league appearance in 2007, Hoey is back in the major leagues with those very Twins, after being recalled from Triple-A Rochester on April 17. He pitched for the Twins the next day – ironically, against the Orioles –and retired all four batters he faced.
Hoey was selected in the 13th round of Major League Baseball’s First-Year Player Draft in 2003 following his junior season at Rider, when he was a first-team All-New Jersey selection. He won his final five decisions at Rider to finish 6-4 with a 2.24 earned run average that season.
In his three seasons at Rider, Hoey won 12 games and saved 10. He appeared in 23 games as a sophomore in 2002, a Rider record that stood until 2010 when Tyler Smith pitched in 31 games.
A 2000 graduate of Hamilton West High School, Hoey was an All-State selection for the Hornets, as well as the New Jersey Pitcher of the Year.
This season, prior to being recalled, Hoey pitched 6.2 innings over four games for Rochester and was 1-0 with a 2.70 earned run average. He allowed just five hits and one walk with eight strikeouts before being called up.
Hoey was traded from the Orioles to Minnesota in December. He has pitched in 193 games, 183 as a reliever, mostly as a closer, for seven different minor league teams, and is now with his second major league team.
Hoey has 49 professional saves and 308 strike outs in 268 innings.
The 6-foot-6, 220 pound Hoey began the 2006 season in a low Single-A league in Delmarva, and moved up to a higher-A in Fredericksburg, before being promoted to AA Bowie in August. He made his major league debut later that month.
Hoey is the sixth Bronc to reach the major leagues.
Dan Napoleon from the 1960s was the first and played with the Mets and Cardinals.
Rider Hall of Famers Jeff Kunkel ’84 (Rangers, Royals), Ed Whited ’96 (Braves) and Kevin Barry ’01 (Braves) made it to the majors, along with All-American Jack Armstrong (Reds, Indians, Marlins, Rangers).
Former Bronc John Barr ’79 is also associated with a major league team, serving as the special assistant to the general manager for scouting of the World Champion San Francisco Giants.