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Chris Widger

Sport: Baseball

Born: May 21, 1971

Town: Pennsville Township

Christopher Jon Widger was born May 21, 1971 in Wilmington, DE and grew up in Pennsville. Chris was 14 when he went out for the Pennsville Memorial High School baseball team, a regional power despite its relatively small enrollment. He hadn’t started the growth spurt that would create a 6’3” pro, but he showed solid skill at bat and behind the plate. Chris became the everyday catcher as a sophomore in 1987. The team had its best year in 1988, when Chris led the Eagles to victory in the Diamond Classic, a tournament among the top teams in South Jersey. The Eagles did not win a state title during Chris’s prep career, although the Eagles were South Jersey Group I champions his senior year. Chris accepted a scholarship from George Mason University.

Chris played for coach Bill Brown’s Patriots from 1990 to 1992. He started his freshman year and was allowed to call his own game—something he said prepared him for the pros. George Mason was basically a .500 team while Chris was there, but they did qualify for the NCAA Tournament his junior year. They lost to Georgia Tech and beat Rider before being eliminated in the East Regional by Cal.

Chris was selected in the third round of the 1992 draft by the Seattle Mariners. He reached the majors in 1995 but could not dislodge starter Dan Wilson. The M’s traded Chris to the Expos after the 1996 season. He split the catching job with Darrin Fletcher in 1997 and Chris took over full-time in 1998. That season he gunned down 47 would-be base stealers, the best mark in the NL. Chris also got it done with the bat. Over the next three seasons he clubbed 42 for Montreal.Late in the 2000 campaign, Chris was traded to the Mariners. He sat out 2001 with an injury and then signed a free agent deal with Yankees in 2002 and with the Cardinals in 2003. In 2005, he became a member of the Chicago White Sox. He backed up AJ Pierzynski and helped the club win the AL Central. The White Sox went on to sweep the Astros in the World Series.

Chris split 2006 between the White Sox and Orioles and then called it a career at 35. He retired with 55 homers and 222 RBIs in 613 big-league games. Chris returned to Pennsville and started giving batting lessons and serving as a volunteer baseball and basketball coach. He started a landscaping business. In 2011, he joined the coaching staff at Pennsville Memorial. In 2012, he was hired as pitching coach for the Camden RiverSharks and became their manager in 2015. Chris quit in 2016 when the team moved to Connecticut. The Kansas City Royals hired Chris to be a bench coach for the Class-A Blue Rocks, across the river in Wilmington, enabling him to stay close to home.


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