Standout Black Players in Quakes History
In celebration of Black History Month, throughout February, teams across Minor League Baseball are taking a look back at the best Black players to suit up for their club. While some of these standout performers went on to long and illustrious Major League careers, others simply had great Minor League
In celebration of Black History Month, throughout February, teams across Minor League Baseball are taking a look back at the best Black players to suit up for their club.
While some of these standout performers went on to long and illustrious Major League careers, others simply had great Minor League careers or, in some cases, just one incredible season that went down as “a year for the ages.”
Here is a look at four of the best Black baseball players ever to suit up for the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
A fan-favorite in Rancho in 2005, Kendrick appeared in 63 games for the Quakes and then made his big-league debut the following year, cracking the Angels’ roster in 2006. Kendrick made multiple rehab appearances in Rancho while with the Angels, then returned to LoanMart Field as a Dodger, rehabbing again over four games in 2016, becoming one of only two Quakes (Adam Kennedy) to appear in a Rancho uniform for two different MLB organizations. The Jacksonville, Florida native played in more than 1600 games over a 15-year big-league career and was a career .294 hitter. He was named NLCS MVP in 2019 and later helped lead the Washington Nationals to their first championship, defeating the Houston Astros in the 2019 World Series.
Gary Matthews, Jr
A member of the Quakes in both 1996 and 1997 while coming up through the Padres’ organization, Matthews appeared in 192 total games with the Quakes. The son of former Major League slugger Gary Matthews, Sr., the San Francisco, California native debuted with the Padres in 1999 and wore the uniform of seven different major league teams, appearing in 1281 games. He was an American League All-Star in 2006 with the Rangers, before signing a free-agent contract and enjoying three years with the Angels here in southern California towards the back-end of his 12-year big-league career.
One of the most popular Quakes of all time, Lee totaled 274 games in a Rancho uniform over parts of three different seasons (1993-1995). In 2002, Lee appeared in a league-high 162 games, leading the Florida Marlins in home runs (27), while helping them to a World Series win over the New York Yankees. The two-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner went on to play for six major league teams over a 15-year career. The Sacramento, California native returned to Rancho Cucamonga to celebrate the Quakes’ 25 anniversary season in 2017, throwing out a ceremonial first pitch on Opening Night at LoanMart Field to kick off the year.
The Quakes’ all-time franchise leader in home runs (56) and RBIs (183), Jacobs played for the Quakes over three seasons (2012-2014) and was a huge fan-favorite thanks to his ability to hit long and majestic home runs. “Big Jake” played ten seasons of minor league baseball for three different organizations, but none longer than the eight he played while a Los Angeles Dodgers farmhand. The Winston-Salem, North Carolina native’s franchise records still stand today, as he’s also among the Quakes’ top-five in games played (286) and hits (273).