Fort Mill, SC – Each week, the Knights are giving fans a chance to name the “All Knights Stadium Team” through an online vote. The team will be revealed at Knights stadium on Thursday, April 11 — the final Opening Day in the history of Knights Stadium.
This week the focus turns to the first basemen. Below are the five finalists for the best first baseman in Knights Stadium history.
Brian Daubach – Daubach put together back-to-back impressive seasons for the Knights from 1997-1998. The Illinois native hit .278 with 21 home runs and 93 RBIs for the Knights in ’97 and then hit .316 with 35 home runs and 124 RBIs a year later. The 1998 season ranks as one of the greatest single-seasons by a Knights player in franchise history. His 35 home runs and 124 RBIs rank as the second-best single-season mark in franchise history. An International League All-Star that season, Daubach led the league that year in home runs, RBIs, slugging percentage (.634), total bases (315), and doubles (45).
Russ Morman – Morman launched 18 long balls with 77 RBIs and a .332 batting average in 1996 and then got even better. Morman’s 1997 was one for the ages. The 35-year-old slugger had his best offensive season that year, hitting .319 with a league-high 33 home runs and 99 RBIs for the Knights. He was an International League All-Star that season and earned a promotion to the Florida Marlins, who would go on to win the World Series championship that season. Morman ranks second all-time in Knights franchise history in home runs (57), third in RBIs (212), third in batting average (.322) and tied for third in runs scored (169). Brad Eldred – Power-hitting first baseman Brad Eldred spent just one year in Fort Mill, but it was a memorable one. In 2008, “Big Country” smacked 35 home runs with 100 RBIs for the team that season – leading the IL in both offensive categories. The 35 home runs are tied with Brian Daubauch’s 1998 output for second in Knights franchise history.
Jeff Liefer – Liefer appeared in parts of four seasons with the Charlotte Knights (1999-2001, and 2008). In 1999, Liefer posted an impressive .339 batting average with nine home runs and 34 RBIs over 46 games with the Knights. A year later, Liefer put up the 5th highest HR total in a season for a Knights player by smashing 32 bombs in 2000. In all, he hit .281 with 32 homers and 91 RBIs in 2000. He hit .286 with six homers in just 32 games in 2001. Liefer was originally drafted by the White Sox in the first round (25th overall) of the 1995 draft.
Ross Gload – An IL All-Star in 2003, Gload finished third in the International League with a .315 batting average that season. Also that season, the powerful first baseman launched 18 home runs with 70 RBIs. He led the IL with 266 total bases and tied for second in doubles with 40. In 2005, Gload hit .366 with 15 home runs and 45 RBIs in just 59 games for the Knights. He is the Knights franchise leader in batting average with a stunning .332 mark.