Feb. 9, 2012
OTTAWA, Ontario -- Former Kentucky baseball stars Andrew Albers and Chris Bisson have been voted to the 2012 class of the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, it was announced.
Albers and Bisson will join the entire 2011 Canadian National Team as the 2012 inductees into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, which won the first gold medal in nation history in the 2011 Pan American Games during the summer with a dramatic 2-1 win over favored Team USA. The two former UK stars will be inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame on June 23 in St. Mary’s, Ontario.
The two former Wildcats earned national fame during the summer with the Team Canada run to the improbable gold medal. Albers served as one of the key pitchers on the club, pitching 6.2 innings in a start in the gold-medal winning game over Team USA, allowing only one run with eight strikeouts.
A native of North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Albers dominated Team USA in the winning effort, to clinching Canada’s first gold medal in a senior international event in the history of the country. The medal was just the second for Canada in the history of the Pan Am Games (dating back to 1967), also earning a bronze medal in 1999. The win in the Pan Am Games snaps a streak of 10 consecutive gold medals for Team Cuba in the event, regarded as the top international baseball competition since baseball was removed from Olympic competition.
Albers starred for Team Canada and Bisson served as an infielder off the bench in leading their nation to a historic accomplishment. A native of Orleans, Ontario, Bisson notched his first career international hit during the summer in the 2011 IABF World Cup as a three-run homer.
After his prolific four-year career at UK that saw him exit ranking fourth in wins in program history in 2008, Albers was a 10th round draft pick of the San Diego Padres. After making only five appearances in his professional debut after his draft selection, Albers had Tommy John surgery and was released by the Padres in the offseason of his professional debut.
He pitched for the Quebec City Capitales in the independent Can-Am League in 2010, where he saved 17 games with a 3-0 mark and a 1.40 ERA in 40 outings while making an attempt at a return to affiliated baseball. Following his independent league work, Albers returned to UK to work with UK head coach Gary Henderson and the UK staff during the fall of 2010. Henderson arranged for a bullpen session for his former ace southpaw with Twins scouts Tim O’Neill and Earl Win. They signed Albers after a trip to Fort Meyers.
During his 2011 season in the minors, Albers dominated at two levels, reaching Double-A New Britain. He posted a combined 8-2 record with a 2.16 ERA in 35 games, with seven starts, striking out 80 in 95.2 innings, with only 14 walks.
As one of the top pitchers in program history from 2005-08, Albers served as a weekend starter, closer and stopper out of the bullpen during his collegiate career. Having pitched in 81 games, Albers ranks fifth in UK annals and his 20 wins ranks fourth in UK career history. The 6-foot-1 lefty also has 12 saves in his career, the third-most in UK history.
As a major weapon for Henderson out of the bullpen in 2008, Albers led UK to 44 wins and a berth in the NCAA Ann Arbor Regional Championship game. He made 31 appearances in 2008, going 7-4, with a 2.40 ERA and five saves. As a junior, Albers started a team-high 15 games, going 6-5 with a 4.85 ERA. Overall during his career, Albers led UK to 151 wins and the 2006 Southeastern Conference Championship.
A fourth-round pick in the 2010 MLB Draft by the San Diego Padres, Bisson played in 123 games in low Class-A for the Fort Wayne TinCaps in 2011, batting .261 (109-for-418) with 11 doubles, five triples, two homers and 43 RBI. Bisson added 21 stolen bases and reached base at a .345 clip for the TinCaps.
During his three-year UK career from 2008-10, Bisson emerged as one of the top middle infielders in college baseball, becoming the first UK player to earn back-to-back All-SEC honors in over 10 years, dating back to when catcher John Wilson earned All-SEC accolades in 1999 and 2000. In 2009 and 2010, Bisson was selected second-team All-SEC at second base by the league coaches.
As a true freshman playing in the rugged SEC in 2008, Bisson was forced into action with injuries striking UK senior third baseman Chris McClendon in 2008. The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder played in 27 games with 13 starts, batting .157 (8-for-51) with three doubles, four RBI and three stolen bases. UK entered the 2009 season unsure as to its starter at second base with All-SEC standout Ryan Wilkes departing following 2008. Bisson took control of the spot, leading UK in nearly every statistical category. In 2009, Bisson batted .360 (80-for-22) with 49 runs scored, nine doubles, three triples, two homers and 52 RBI, stealing 13-of-15 bases.
In 2010, Bisson solidified himself as one of the top players in the nation, entering the season as a preseason All-America selection by Baseball America. In 51 games and 50 starts in 2010, Bisson batted .329 (69-for-210) with 12 doubles, one triple, five homers and 35 RBI, stealing an SEC-leading 32 bases in 39 attempts. Bisson, who ran up two 12-or-more-game hitting streaks in 2010, reached base safely in 49 of 51 games played and with his 32 steals, became the first UK player to steal 30 or more bases since former first-round pick Chad Green stole a school-record 55 bases in 1995. Bisson was prolific throughout the season on the base paths, going through a seven consecutive game stretch with a stolen base, swiping 11 total bases in that span. After jumping out to a hot start to open the season, Bisson was hit on the nose by a 1-2 fastball in a March 6 game against Monmouth in San Diego, breaking his nose and requiring surgery. Bisson showed tremendous toughness to return after just a five-game period, returning for a pinch-hit RBI single in the ninth inning of a game with Murray State.
During the 2010 summer, Bisson improved upon his status as a prospect with a strong showing in the prestigious Cape Cod League, leading the league in stolen bases with 36 steals in his 42-game summer and batting .269 (36-for-164). With 36 steals, Bisson equaled the Cotuit Kettlers club record and with over 30 steals, became just the fourth player in the Cape in the last 10 years and the third in the last nine years to steal 30 or more bases during a summer.
Kentucky opens it 2012 season on Feb. 17 in Spartanburg, S.C., traveling to face Wofford at 4 p.m. ET.