Aaron Fera is the next local legend up at the plate, the batter’s plate that is.
I had a great conversation with him today about life in the minors, his times growing up in the Sault and his call to the Skydome.
“Playing ball with the same guys for a number of years is a brotherhood that can never be taken away. And of course my best friends in the world are still in the Sault, and my family… as I get older I realize that close friends and family is all that matters.”
Fera is living in Georgia now with his wife and two children, where he teaches and coaches softball and baseball at Burke County Middle School.
He has many memories of playing on the Penhorwood Field, other fields in the west end and Sinclair Yards.
Names that come to mind for him as far as coaches are Mike Lebel and Neil Kirkpatrick.
As teammates and other players he remembers fondly Jay Piercy, Mike Caruso, Brian Ducharme, Dan Pino, Greg Arbor, Darrell Woods, Andrew Reid and Greg Lebel. “We pushed each other,” he said, to play better. “I can go on and on I think LOL,” he texted to me.
Fera played four years with Georgia College and State and got better every year. His runs went from 16 in the first year to 53 the last two years. In his last year he made 75 hits in 200 at bats, giving him a .375 average. Not too shabby!
Home runs went up each year too from 5 to 12 to 15 to 19 in his last year and 200 RBIs in total, 76 in his final year.
I asked him if that was what got him called up to tryout for the Blue Jays and he said, “honestly I believe my numbers in the NECBL wood bat league is what opened people’s eyes to me… but yes… good numbers 3 years in a row at GC (Georgia) against good competition… led to Toronto giving me a private workout, then the invite to the Skydome.”
What was that like for him: “a dream come true. I was there with 15 other guys… working out in front of all the scouts and Gord Ash… it was cool! Hitting was nerve racking because there were 40 scouts right behind you as you hit.”
And he even says he had a conversation with Gord Ash about the Sault: “something about the P-patch,” he remembers.
That’s Aaron Fera talking today as one of our local legends.
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This is a column about local legends past and present that brought smiles to our faces in each different neighborhood of the Sault. They don’t have to make the pros, but in our hearts, they have.