In 2001, Angel Pagan -- then a 20-year-old -- led the Brooklyn Cyclones to a league championship in the franchise's inaugural season. On Thursday, Pagan -- now a star centerfielder for the New York Mets -- returned to Coney Island for a special ceremony, and met with the fans who saw him first.
In 2001, Brooklyn's "Angel in the outfield" recorded a .315 batting average (75-for-238), 10 doubles, two triples, 15 RBI, a team-high 46 runs and a franchise-record 30 stolen bases. He was the catalyst of the Brooklyn offense, and among the most popular players ever to wear a Cyclones uniform.
On Thursday, Pagan received a proclamation from Borough President Marty Markowitz, naming July 8, 2010 "Angel Pagan Celebration Day." Pagan's #35 (the number he wore with the Cyclones) was unveiled and honored on the top level of MCU Park, and Angel then threw out the game's ceremonial first pitch, before meeting with fans.
"I have such unbelievable memories from my time here," he said. "It's great to come back and see so many familar faces. I have no words for what I'm feeling right now. It's such an honor. When I played here, it was special. We had a special relationship with these fans. We looked forward to coming to the ballpark every day to play for them...and win for them! I'll never forget that first game when Edgar Rodriguez hit a home run in the ninth to tie it up and we won in extra innings. This place was packed, and they were going nuts. I'll never forget my time on the Cyclones."