The Herts Falcons have added another piece in their 2012 NBL jigsaw with the signing of three-time National Baseball League champion, Michael Osborn.
Osborn has spent the last 14 seasons in the NBL and is the longest serving active NBL player with 14 consecutive seasons (tied with Rob Rance of the Bracknell Blazers). He played 8 years with the London Warriors between 1998 and 2005 winning the NBL title in 2000. He spent the next six seasons with the Richmond Flames lifting the championship trophy twice (2006, 2010). This year Osborn will be wearing the Herts jersey. “I have been part of very successful teams in the past and I hope that the experience I will be bringing to the team will help us have a fruitful season.“ said Osborn.
He shared his optimism about Herts’ chances “Getting Herts back in the habit of winning is very important and with the arrival of several new players we will be very strong competitors this year”.
For players who have experienced so much success it is often difficult to decide which one was their best year. “Winning the Championship in 2010 probably rates as my most enjoyable moment and season, but I can think of several other seasons which were as fulfilling.” He emphasised that “All these seasons had a common denominator: the players were good ballplayers but also great guys. I think we will have both at the Falcons and that’s what I’m personally looking forward to. The team atmosphere promises to be fantastic and that’s one of the main reasons I have chosen Herts.”
Osborne is one of the most effective pitchers in the NBL. He led the NBL in wins last year (7) and in 2009 (6) when he also won the strikeouts title (57). He has a career ERA of 4.44, and leads in career wins among active players in British baseball (37). He has a career batting average of .303, and has power with 8 home runs. Judging by his performances over the years, Herts fans will be very pleased to see one of the most reliable and consistent players in the NBL join the team.
Marquee pitchers of MLB teams are reluctant to move to teams with “hitter-friendly ballparks” as that can often take its toll on their career stats and Hall of Fame credentials, but Osborn does not seem to be concerned about Grovehill Ballpark being the field with the highest number of home runs since it was opened in 2010. “I’m not worried at all and I hadn’t actually given it a thought to be perfectly honest. It comes down to making fewer mistakes than the opposing pitcher. Hopefully, I can add some home runs to my personal account as a hitter!”
The signing of Michael Osborn is another in a series of high-profile player transactions concluded by the Herts Falcons this Spring, including Robbie Unsell, Ryan Bird, Cristobal Hiche, Jake Michels among others. Herts fans will have the opportunity to see most of the new arrivals in a Herts jersey for the first time in the opening game of the 2012 Herts Spring League this Saturday, 17 March 2012, when the Falcons will face the Lakenheath Diamondbacks at Grovehill Ballpark. First pitch 10:50am.
NBL stats courtesy of projectcobb.org.uk