This year marks the 25th season of Harrisburg Senators’ baseball returning to City Island. To commemorate the anniversary and honor all of the ballplayers that have played here for the last 25 years, I’ll be posting interviews throughout the season with members of each of those past teams.
Today, we continue the series with Dan DeMent who was an integral member of the Senators for 2½ seasons through 2007. DeMent enjoyed his best season with Harrisburg in 2005 when he batted .328, scored 42 runs, drove in 44 RBI, and clubbed 14 home runs in only 71 games.
What are your fondest memories of playing here in Harrisburg?
Dan DeMent: There are so many to name. I love the city, the people/fans, playing on City Island, the weather, the list could continue… There was such a small town feel in Harrisburg. From seeing Chief Keller on a daily basis to having a great relationship with Todd Vanderwoude (GM) and all his staff, as well as having the great support from the many boosters. I look back at the times I hung out with Tim Foreman (groundskeeper) and his buddy, Stan the Cut Man (Philly FD) talking about everything and will never forget having the best bus driver in all of baseball, Art Mattingly. I can’t forget Jeannie Jacobs who took me in one season, as well as all of the boosters who treated all of the players so well. A special thanks to Barb and Paul Householder, John Bricker, and the back lot guys, Ron and Stan for always treating my family so great. I do have to say that one of my most special moments was when my daughter, Nally, sang Happy Birthday to me in front of a large crowd on Father’s Day. She had just turned three and it was very sweet.
You were always a popular player with your strong work ethic and willingness to play defensively wherever needed. How important was that kind of fan support during some fairly unsuccessful seasons (as far as wins and losses)?
DD: The fans were there no matter what and that is important because it makes you feel good playing somewhere where you feel valued as a player. I loved playing there for many reasons but the fan support was crucial, especially when things aren’t going the way you’d like.
You had 2½ real good seasons here to the point that your name is littered throughout the Senators’ record books in almost every offensive category. Does that mean something to you?
DD: Of course it does. I think I had some of my best years in Harrisburg not only because of everything already mentioned, but also because I was comfortable playing there, living there, and knowing that my family was happy and taken care of in Harrisburg. For the two and a half years I was there, I had awesome teammates and good coaching staffs so that also made a difference.
Fill the readers in on what you’ve been doing since your playing career ended and how you’ve been since last here in Harrisburg.
DD: Currently I am a hitting coach with the Tampa Bay Rays Gulf Coast League Team. This is my third year of coaching. My wife Krista and I live in Birmingham with our two beautiful daughters, Nally (7) and Fallon (almost 4). Fallon was born at the end of my last year with the Senators. During the off-season, I am a hands-on Dad and love to fish whenever I can. I also love following Alabama football (Roll Tide!). My brother, Mike, and I (along with our entire family) have been breeding thoroughbreds for several years and you can check us out at www.brigadestable.com. I would love to visit Harrisburg soon or maybe even coach there one day!
Thanks to Mr. DeMent for taking the time out of his schedule to answer our questions and be a part of the rich tradition of Senators baseball. We wish him all the best and continued success on his career as a coach.