15 Jun Miners Infielder Hair Gets the Call
Trey Hair Joins Texas Rangers
Miners second baseman Trey Hair has left town. In fact, he practically flew out of town at one in the morning, tossing his belongings into his Chevy Silverado and heading south on Route 15.
On Monday night, he got the phone call.
The Texas Rangers were offering him a second shot at the Big Leagues.
There was no time for goodbyes. He’d been sitting around his host family’s home watching television and playing video games on the day off on the schedule Monday night when Miners manager Bobby Jones called with the news.
By 1 a.m. on Tuesday, Hair was in his truck and on a 650-mile drive to Hickory, North Carolina, where he joined the Rangers’ High-A farm team, the Hickory Crawdads, in the legendary South Atlantic League, also known as the Sally League, first established in 1904.
“I’m excited, that’s my only real feeling,” he said by phone Tuesday afternoon from his new home ballpark in Hickory, 75 miles southwest of Winston-Salem and maybe 150 miles to the Tennessee border.
“This will be different than Sussex County,” he said with a laugh. “The bottom line is baseball is baseball. I came to like the Sussex County area very much and now I know I’ll get to like this new environment.
“Basically, as long as I’m playing baseball, I’m happy.”
His new team, the Crawdads, are currently in last place in the South Division with a record of 13-23. On Tuesday, they began a six-game series on the road visiting the Greenville Drive, the Boston Red Sox affiliate.
After checking in at his new home – 4,000-seat LP Frans Stadium, on the banks of the Catawba River – Hair wasn’t sure if he would somehow get to Greenville or if he would first suit up when the Crawdads came home to open a six-game series next week against the first-place Bowling Green Hot Rods, representing the Tampa Bay Rays.
Ironically, Hair played for the Hot Rods in 2018, after Tampa Bay had drafted him out of the University of Evansville in the 34th round of the 2017 draft.
He only appeared in 58 games for the Tampa Bay farm team before being released. From there, he came to the Miners in 2019 and batted .324 in 94 games.
Having turned 26 years old in April, Hair has played in all 15 of the Miners games this year, batting .260 with four doubles, a team-leading six home runs, a team-leading 20 RBIs and second-on-the-team 13 walks.
He actually started the 2021 season hitless in his first three games, then broke out in a big way in Game 4, going 3-for-4 with three home runs on the road against the New Jersey Jackals on June 1.
His average was up to .294, before going 1-for-6 over his last two games, including the Miners’ most recent 4-3 victory over Tri-City on Sunday, raising the team record to a Frontier League-best 13-2.
Now, new challenges await.
“It’s a new opportunity, and that’s all you can ask for,” Hair said.
“I’m grateful to Bobby Jones for giving me the first opportunity that led to this opportunity. I’m just going to do what I’ve always done, play hard and do whatever I can to help my team win. No matter what league you’re in, you can’t do any more than that.”
Hair became the eighth Frontier League player to jump to a Major League affiliated team since the season began.
Most recently, Washington Wild Things pitcher Sean Kealy was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals organization on June 12.
Previously: New York shortstop Austin Dennis (Royals); Lake Erie pitcher Matt Muelenbach (Twins); Tri-City pitcher Samuel Perez (Twins); Joliet pitcher Bobby Milachi (Twins); Joliet pitcher Steve Moyers (Mariners); New Jersey pitcher Hayden Shenefield (Reds); Tri-City catcher Jhon Nunez (Marlins).
By Carl Barbati, former sports editor of the New Jersey Herald, Daily Record and The Trentonian.