|Stephen Shackleford, image- Jay Floyd|
Right-handed reliever Stephen Shackleford closed out Reading's 4-1 win over New Britain on Sunday, their seventh straight victory. With the successful save, the 26-year-old tied Justin Friend, Wayne Gomes and Toby Borland for the most in a single season, with 24.
Shackleford, who was originally drafted by San Francisco and also played in the Seattle organization, came to the Phillies last off-season as a minor league free agent. He says the potential to make his mark in history for a team that dates back nearly 50 years is important.
"It would mean a lot to me," Shackleford told Phillies Nation. "I really like Baseballtown. Reading, the fans are awesome. They've been great to me. They've been great to everybody on the team. So, it would be great to be part of their history!"
In 42 games this season, the six-foot-two 205-pounder has tallied a 4-1 record with a 2.62 ERA and a 9.87 K/9 mark.
According to the Kentucky native his teammates and coaches have been aware of his potential to put his mark on team history, but they have not been acknowledging the subject.
"The team has been very supportive, but they usually don't talk about it. We don't tend to talk about things like that. It's just superstition. So, no one's brought it up, but I know the team is behind me 100-percent," Shackleford stated.
As they strive for a playoff spot, the recent surge with Shackleford's help has allowed the Fightins leap ahead of Binghamton and Trenton into first place in the Eastern League Eastern Division standings.
The man known to his teammates simply as "Shack" will get a chance at making the team's single season saves record all his own when the Fightins host Harrisburg on Tuesday evening at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading.