WINNIPEG – Reggie Abercrombie has always been a fan favourite in Winnipeg.
But after his MVP performance in the American Association finals this year, he cemented himself as a baseball legend in the city.
That was clear as the slugger was greeted with chants of ‘Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!’ by the roughly 1,000 fans gathered at Shaw Park Wednesday night, celebrating the Goldeyes’ 2016 title.
“This means the world to me. To bring a championship back to Winnipeg, the fans are my most prized possession after this thing here,” Abercrombie told the crowd, pointing to the championship trophy. “I appreciate everything y’all do, coming out every day, thank you for having our backs the whole season.”
Most of the Goldeyes are back in town after capturing the franchise’s third league title Monday night in Wichita. Manager Rick Forney was not there, but still Skyped in from his home in Maryland.
“Sorry I couldn’t be there, I had to get home and shave off my playoff beard,” Forney joked. “What a magical season, the best four-and-a-half months in Winnipeg, just a complete joy to be around those guys. Fans, I really respect and appreciate what you do for our club.”
Kevin McGovern was the winning pitcher in the clinching Game 5, and was also on the mound in the game that clinched a playoff berth for the Goldeyes.
“The best memory I had all year was when I had two strikes on the last guy to get us in the playoffs,” McGovern told the crowd. “I felt everybody stand up, and I felt like I wasn’t alone out there. Every single fan was rooting for me to finish this out. It was an amazing year because you guys were there every time.”
Also making speeches were general manager Andrew Collier, owner Sam Katz and mayor Brian Bowman, who also presented the team with Outstanding Achievement Award medals.
But the final word, deservedly so, went to Abercrombie.
“Ay! We are champions of Winnipeg and the American Association! We champs baby! We did it!”