Crestwell Pratt, a special performer in prime years
Several months ago when the pastors met the parliamentarians in that special fundraiser softball game to aid former female pitching great Andrea’Gorgeous’Knowles, a big unassuming chap lurked in the concession area prior to the start of the game.
It had been quite a few years since I had the pleasure of chatting with Crestwell Pratt, but, there he was, still looking quietly-dangerous. There was that brief moment of a flashback to 30-plus years ago. Pratt would come to the plate in baseball or softball, appearing just big and harmless during those days before undergoing an immediate transformation into a feared slugger.
There have been few before his time, during his heyday or since, who could unleash raw power on a delivery like Pratt. Today, he focuses a lot on his Christianity, thus the reason he was on hand at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex to play for the pastors.
Many of those attending the game knew nothing at all of Pratt’s diamond performances, but the parliamentarians’hurler Godfrey Burnside knew and he refused to let Pratt become a factor. During the game, he gave the big fellow the free pass every time up.
The game ended up a nail-biter with the pastors prevailing just barely, thanks to another former professional, Ken Adderley’s glove work in the outfield. Had Pratt been thrown anything worth whacking at, the game would probably have been a blowout for the pastors. He was that good and although, now 52 going on 53, he can still shine in fun games.
Pratt is one of those forgotten superstars. When one thinks of the brawny sluggers through the years, Tony Curry, Edmundo Moxey, Will Culmer, Colin Thompson, belonging right in the middle of the group is Pratt.
He was of course one of the scores of professional players the Bahamas Baseball Association(BBA) produced for four decades, from the 1950s into the 1980s. Pratt was signed by the Cincinnati Reds’organization in 1980 and played five seasons in the minor leagues. He never made it to the majors but throughout minor league camps, his power was known.
During his first season in Eugene, Oregon, with the Eugene Emeralds, he played in just 62 games but showed promise for extra-base hitting with 10 doubles, eight triples and the same amount of home-runs. He had 92 hits and batted at a .368 clip.
The very next season was a coming out one for him. With the Tampa Tapons, he played in 122 games, had 23 doubles, stroked three nine triples and powered 10 homers to go along with 61 Runs Batted In(RBI).
Then, there was the 1983 season with the Tapons. Pratt played in 127 games. He slugged 27 doubles, six three-baggers and clouted 21 home-runs. He drove in a career high 102 runs and batted .320.
Making it to the major leagues just was not in the cards for him. His significant contribution to Bahamian sports power however is well-documented. He was one of those quality athletes who deserve to be profiled as we stroll down memory lanes on occasions in this column.
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