For the first time in his career, Kevin Frandsen will play in a AAA All-Star
Game this year after being selected to represent the Lehigh Valley IronPigs in
this year's game, which will be held July 11 in Buffalo. Frandsen joked about
the honor and wasn't afraid to let it be known that it was the first time he was
selected to an all-star team other than in the Arizona Fall League.
While Frandsen isn't a veteran of all-star games, he is the type of player
that could help a major league team. He's played in the majors with San
Francisco and with the Angels, holding a .243 career average in 228 major league
games. In 2008, Frandsen may have been in position to truly show what he could
do to help a major league team when Omar Vizquel went down with an injury and
Frandsen was named the team's opening day - and until Vizquel returned -
everyday shortstop. Only problem was that Frandsen got hurt in that opening day
game, suffering a torn Achilles, the same injury that has kept Ryan Howard out
of the Phillies lineup since he suffered the injury last October. In Frandsen's
case, it caused him to miss the opportunity of playing everyday. Instead, his
2008 season with the Giants consisted of just that one game and the 0-for-1
performance that he posted.
Now, at 30 years of age, Kevin Frandsen is a different player. He's gotten
more major league experience, but he's also spent a lot more time in the minors
and has learned a lot about the game of baseball. "I don't think I
could help a major league team, I know that I could help a major league
team. The last couple of years, I've felt more and more that I'm really ready to
play at that level and contribute," said Frandsen, who last played in the
majors with the Angels in 2010. In his time with AAA Lehigh Valley covering last
season and this season, Frandsen has hit .296 and has been a regular in the
"He's hard to take out of the lineup," admitted Pigs manager Ryne Sandberg. "Just when you think he might need a day off, he'll go out and
get a bunch of hits and you know you don't want to sit him down then." This
season, Frandsen has started in 51 straight games and has appeared in 62
straight games with the IronPigs.
This season, Frandsen started the year 0-for-21 and finished the first month
of the season with just a .197 average. Since then, Frandsen has hit safely in
38 of his last 54 games and is hitting at a .323 clip with 20 multi-hit games,
including getting hits in six straight at-bats, tying an IronPigs franchise
record. Even early on, Frandsen was hitting the ball hard, but just wasn't
getting hits to drop in for him. "There was one road trip where I thought I
could have had at least seven or eight hits, but I was hitting the ball right at
guys," remembers Frandsen. "I never lost confidence though, because I
know I can hit."
When you watch Frandsen on the field, he's easy to spot with his bright red
and yellow cleats. They cause fans to ask why he wears the flashy shoes, but
it's nothing even remotely resembling a fashion statement. Instead, it's to pay
tribute to his brother, D.J., who passed away from cancer in 2004. D.J. fought
cancer for 19 years. A good friend of the Frandsen family was former major
league pitcher Dave Righetti, who wore the number 19 and gave it to Frandsen
when he reached the majors. The recurring number 19 and the brave way that D.J.
fought cancer led the Frandsen family to form a foundation; "19 For
Life," which is dedicated to carrying out the things that D.J. Frandsen
believed in, like giving back, making a difference and never giving up.
Frandsen's shoes, made for him by Nike, feature DJ on the back of the shoe
and the words "Go The Distance" on the inside of one soul and
"Never Give Up" on the other. Frandsen has those same words tattooed
around his left wrist. "When you're dealing with something like that
[cancer], you have to go the distance," explained Frandsen. "You can
never give up."