In recognition of having been instrumental in the growth of the Northwest Independent Baseball League, as well as for having shown outstanding baseball ability and sportsmanship over the course of their NWIBL careers, long-time player\manager Todd Hall, and former Thunder standouts Jared Sanders and Mike Padgett have been added to the NWIBL Wall of Fame.
The strong leadership, clutch hitting, and steady defensive presence of Hall anchoring the infield at first base for almost a decade provided the foundation for what would become the winning tradition of Bridgetown Thunder baseball. After inheriting the Westside Thunder, ‘Skip’ later renamed the team the Bridgetown Thunder Baseball Club. Known to be as much a leader of men as a baseball talent himself, and he was a darn good ball player, Todd was a clutch slugger who specialized in using the entire field, always giving his team a quality at-bat. His ability to manage personalities and in-game strategy for a top-contending team, while also contributing at the highest levels as a player and always offering an assist to the league whenever help was needed was truly legendary. For these reasons and many more, the Bridgetown Thunder will always be Todd’s team.
After owning the all-time saves record for Oregon State University and experiencing life in the minor leagues as a closer in the Cincinnati Reds organization, the funniest thing about Jared Sanders’ career with the Bridgetown Thunder is that during his entire first year with the team he was never used as a hitter. This is an absolute shame because the man could absolutely do it all on the baseball field. After thriving as mainly a closer during his first season with the Thunder, the humble Sanders would eventually assume cleanup hitter duties and a reputation as one of the most dangerous sluggers in the league. He was a hitter that featured a minimalist approach, calm in his hitters’ stance and idle hands, then uncoiling short and precise to the ball in a way that would consistently generate the necessary backspin to drive the baseball out of the ballpark. The ‘Colonel’ was not only an offensive force, he was also a ‘shut down’ centerfielder possessing a rare combination of speed, instincts, and arm strength, and the nastiest lights-out closer in the league. Simply and honestly stated, during his five years in the NWIBL, when the Thunder were up and Jared Sanders was on the mound, everyone knew it was game over.
Before joining the Bridgetown Thunder, Mike Padgett was able to leverage his immense athletic ability to reach the upper levels of the minor leagues in the Texas Rangers organization, and the former Cal Bear returned to the west coast to terrorize NWIBL hitters for a few more years before hanging them up for good in 2013. Tall, stoic, and always primed to start the big game whenever the team needed it, the ‘Honey Padger’ featured a deceptive delivery and top-grade combination of a power fastball, a running slider and changes of pace that consistently kept the opposition off balance and uncomfortable at the plate. Admired, and respected by his teammates and players around the league, Mike was the ultimate competitor, a true professional born with a great love for the game, a heap of talent, and a strong will to succeed.
All three players were key contributors during a period which saw the Thunder rise to a 53-16 regular season record over a 4-year period (2010-2013), winning the Columbia Division championship in 2010 and the NWIBL Championship in 2012.