JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former Jacksonville Suns outfielder Gabe Kapler, who won the 1998 Southern League Most Valuable Player award, will be inducted into the Southern League Hall of Fame this year.
The 2017 class will also include former Atlanta Braves left-handed pitcher Tom Glavine, who pitched for Greenville in 1986, and Tony La Russa, who played parts of three seasons and managed one season in the Southern League before going on to a Hall of Fame career as a manager.
Kapler was a dominant player in his one and only season for the Suns, driving in a league record 146 runs in 139 games in 1998. He also collected a league record-tying 47 doubles and set league records for extra base hits (81), and total bases (319).
Kapler also set team record with 113 runs scored, 176 hits and a .583 slugging percentage. He finished the year with a .322 batting average, 28 home runs and added six stolen bases.
In the major leagues, Kapler played for seven teams in 12 seasons, including the Detroit Tigers (1998-99), Texas Rangers (2000-02), Colorado Rockies (2002-03), Boston Red Sox (2003-06), Milwaukee Brewers (2008), and Tampa Bay Rays (2009-2010). He reached the postseason twice, both with Boston, in 2003 and 2004, when he was playing right field during the final out that clinched the first Red Sox World Series title in 86 years. With the Rangers in 2000, he had a 28-game hitting streak.
Jacksonville is the only franchise who has been represented in each of the first four years of the Southern League Hall of Fame. Former team owner Peter Bragan Sr. was in the innaugural class in 2014. The following year, left-handed pitcher Randy Johnson was inducted. Last year, former owner Peter Bragan Jr., two-term manager John Shoemaker and former broadcaster Larry Ward were added.