FR&A Pictorial: Somerset Patriots Retire Sparky Lyle’s No. 28

Lyle's number retired15The winningest manager ever in the Atlantic League made a little more history June 14 as his number was retired by the Somerset Patriots.

Sparky Lyle, who coached the Patriots to five Atlantic League championships, 12 half champions, and nine division championships in his 15 seasons as the skipper, was visibly moved by event.

“It was absolutely wonderful,” Lyle said after the ceremony. “It’s a great honor to have this done by the Somerset Patriots.”

Among those on hand at TD Bank ball park to share in the ceremony were Patriots’ chairman, Steve Kalafer, Somerset County Freeholder Mark Caliguire and a former New York Yankee teammate of Lyle’s, Willie Randolph.

“Sparky, we would not be here today if it wasn’t for you,” Kalafer said. “We would not be playing baseball in Somerset.”

“You came as a manager and you became a friend,” Kalafer said. “Not just a friend of our family, but a friend of everyone in Somerset County. You have given us everything, all the championships, but you have given your hear and soul to us and for that, we thank you.”

A number of well-wishers also sent videotaped congratulations to Lyle, including New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi former Yankee’s manager Joe Torre, Donald Trump and a number of Lyle’s former players, including Kevin Datola, Lipso Nava and Emiliano Escandon. (To see all of the messages, click here.)

“You’re the greatest manager I ever played for, I certainly can’t imagine doing everything we did in Somerset without you,” Escandon said.

In his brief remarks to the crowd Lyle said, “You can not imagine what it feels like to see that number up there.”

“When Steven and I started this venture, all I wanted was a Ford F-150,” Lyle said. “I am so honored by this, and I want all the fans to know how much I appreciated your support through all these years and that this really is my second home. Thank you very, very much, from the bottom of my heart.”

Sparkly Lyle’s No. 28 Retired



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