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Sombrero’s Unsell acquired by NBL’s Herts Baseball Club

Via the Confederation of European Baseball:

This evening Herts Baseball Club confirmed the acquisition of pitcher and infielder, Robbie Unsell, from the Richmond Flames. This is arguably the biggest player transaction so far this winter in the National Baseball League (NBL).

The 25-year-old American who is now based in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, confirmed his decision late last night. He said: “Herts’ home ballpark has been one of my favourite places to play at since joining the League three years ago. The Club has some of the best facilities in Great Britain and fantastic organisation, which makes it a very attractive club to play for.” He added: “I am also really impressed with the club’s marketing efforts and the promotion of baseball in the UK. That’s why the prospect of playing for Herts is exciting for me.”

Herts Falcons Manager, Lee Manning, is also excited to have Unsell in his team: “Robbie would be one of the first players in the starting lineup in any of the NBL teams, so for us this is a major boost. I am looking forward to working with him.’

Unsell makes the move to Hertfordshire as a free agent after spending the last three seasons with the Flames. During that period he has become one of the most valuable players in the NBL picking up a large collection of awards. He is considered one of the best short stops in the country and was given the NBL Short Stop Fielding Award in 2011. Last year he was also added to the Richmond pitching rotation and his performances on the mound were phenomenal. He had the lowest ERA (earned run average) of 0.90 and WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched) 0.98. We have to go back to Troy Kantor of the 2008 London Mets (ERA 0.51) and Simon Pole in 2002 with the London Warriors (ERA 0.62) to see the kind of pitching stats which Robbie Unsell had last year. He deservedly received the 2011 NBL Most Valuable Pitcher Award*.

Unsell will also bring a lot to the Herts Falcons offensively. His speed around the bases has caused havoc for opponents over the years winning the Most Stolen Bases title in 2009 (21) and 2010 (23). Last year he led the league in On-Base Average (.589) and in Runs Scored (42) confirming him as one of the most dangerous lead-off men in the country. The arrival of Robbie Unsell in Hertfordshire will open up the opportunity to compare his speed with that of the 2011 MVP for the Herts Falcons, the lightning-fast Sri Lanka National team player, Mahendra Prasad.

Unsell’s time with the Flames proved to be one of the most successful periods in Richmond’s history. They won the NBL title in 2010, runner-up in 2009 and reached the postseason playoffs in 2011. Herts is one of the biggest sleeping giants in British baseball. Will Robbie Unsell’s arrival bring the same kind of success for Herts?

The Falcons have struggled in the last two years in the NBL, however Unsell sees this as an exciting challenge and an opportunity to turn the team around. ‘I honestly think that with a few additions, we can have a real positive impact on the Herts team this year’ he said.

Aspi Dimitrov, President of Herts Baseball Club, explained how significant Robbie Unsell’s arrival is for the club as a whole. He said: ‘Whether it is fans of MLB baseball clubs or Premier League football clubs, new players can bring a lot of excitement in the hope of success on the field of play. However, acquiring players like Robbie means a lot more to our club. It will add value in every department. It enables us to market our club and the game of baseball much better. Members and fans of the club can look forward to seeing the highest quality of baseball at Grovehill Ballpark. Adding such talented players will also inspire the players of the Herts youth teams to emulate them.’

Herts expect to make several other recruitment announcements shortly. Dimitrov added: ‘We are in advanced discussions with more players and we hope that Robbie will be the first of many more players to join Herts this year and for many years to come.’

Photo: Rob and David Freese on National TV

I awoke this morning to find an email from the Sombrero’s Robbie Unsell, who despite being in the middle of a crucial semester of veterinary school, flew home from London in order to watch his beloved Cardinals in the World Series.  Attached to his email was the above photo and a suggestion to “look to the right of David Freese.”  After scouring the crowd I found this (which has been cropped and zoomed):

That’s Rob to the right of Freese, gripping his white rally towel in a state of drunken, sexual euphoria.

Sombrero’s Robbie Unsell making history in the British Baseball Federation

While most of the The Golden Sombrero’s writers and contributors remain involved in the game (coaching, scouting or playing), Robbie Unsell is in a league of his own.

Since moving to London to attend the Royal Veterinary College after graduating from Grinnell in 2008, Unsell has emerged as a star two-way player in the British Baseball Federation.

Earlier today Joe Gray published an article highlighting the league leaders, and Unsell’s name is practically plastered everywhere. The shortstop for Richmond, he leads the league in runs scored (29), triples (4), walks (20), and is currently tied for the lead with 26 stolen bases – he captured the stolen base crown in 2009 and 2010.

And we’re just getting started. Unsell also leads the league with a .463 batting average, and is two points off the lead in slugging percentage with .780.

On the bump, the right-hander’s five wins are two shy of the league lead.  He also leads the league with a minuscule 0.61 ERA, 0.91 WHIP and 11.22 K/9.

Continue to check back as we track Unsell’s progress toward becoming one of the most dynamic and successful players in the history of the BBF.

This may sound cheesy, but we’re damn proud of you, Bob.