Home' The River Weekly News : RWN 073115 Contents 19
THE RIVER - JULY 31, 2015
It’s Fastballs, Not Dunks For
6-Foot, 10-Inch Hoosier Slegers,
Tops Among Miracle Pitchers
by Ed Frank
In basketball crazy Indiana, baseball is fast becoming the
headline sport, and 6-foot, 10-inch Aaron Slegers – the fast-
ball hurling pitcher for the Fort Myers Miracle – is part of
this changing phenomina.
If you question this statement, let’s look at the facts even
before we review the breakout season of Slegers, the leading
pitcher on the Miracle staff.
Slegers teammate at Indiana University, Kyle Schwaber,
the amazing rookie catcher for the Chicago Cubs, played less
than a year in the minors before being called up. A year ago at
this time, he was catching for the former Daytona Cubs of the
Florida State League. He had been the Cubs first-round draft pick
(4th overall) in last year’s draft.
Schwaber began this week with a .391 batting average, 11 RBIs and three home
runs in just 15 games since summoned to the “big show.”
Now here’s another fact about Indiana University baseball: A total of six Hoosiers
were recently selected in the 2015 Major League Baseball draft. Are you beginning to
get the picture?
Let’s get back to Slegers, who at nearly 7 feet, was often confused as 7-foot bas-
ketball star Cody Zeller on the I.U. campus. Once a Bloomington, Indiana restaurant
owner, thinking he was Zeller, asked to pose with him for a photo. He went along with
the ruse before telling the owner of the joke.
Before long, however, the imposing Slegers made a name of his own as the Big
Ten Pitcher of the Year, leading I.U. to its first conference championship since 1949.
He was selected by the Minnesota Twins in the fifth round of the 2013 draft, and
in his first full year of professional baseball in 2014, posted a 7-7 record at Low A
He was promoted to the Advanced A Miracle before the end of the season where
he has played since.
As the week began, Slegers topped the Miracle staff with 106.1 innings pitched,
a sparkling 2.88 ERA and a 7-5 season record. Last week, he pitched seven strong
innings allowing just five hits in a 2-1 victory over the Jupiter Hammerheads.
He is the tallest player in the Twins
organization “and is having a really nice
year for the Miracle. He has steadily
improved throughout the year and July has
been his best month,” said Brad Steil, the
director of Minor League Operations for
“He has certainly pitched well enough
to be considered for promotion to Double
A Chattanooga if something opens up.
His fastball is probably his best pitch and
he does a good job of keeping it down in
the zone resulting on ground balls,” Steil
His towering presence on the mound
reminds Miracle fans of 7-foot Loek Van
Mil, who pitched here several years ago
but later was released. He played in Japan
We all know that the road from minor
league to major league baseball is a long,
long road for most aspiring athletes. And
the odds are not great as probably less
than 10 percent ever earn to wear a major
But the 255-pound Slegers has shown
in the past that he has the determination to succeed.
He played high school baseball at Notre Dame Preparatory High School in
Scottsdale, Arizona, where he was a described as a well-mannered teenager who
looked a “big giraffe.” Between his junior and senior year he grew from 6-foot 2-inch-
es to 6-foot, 9-inches, which created so much forearm pain that he hardly pitched.
“It pushed me to keep going in extra weight room sessions even in the face of
injury,” he was quoted at the time.
At Indiana, he reshaped his huge frame, shedding fat and building muscle and ulti-
mately emerged as the Big Ten Pitcher of the Year.
Through the years, dozens and dozens of former Miracle players have become
major league players.
If Slegers becomes another, at 6-foot, 10-inches, he sure won’t be hard to spot.
photo provided by Minnesota Twins
Hodges University Announces
New Identity Fraud Institute
Hodges University has announced the establishment of the Identity Fraud
Institute. The Identity Fraud Institute, which is research and education
focused, will serve as the central hub for all identity theft and fraud related
information in and throughout the state of Florida, as well as provide victim assis-
The Identity Fraud Institute includes a research center that will involve a network
of local banks and members of the retail, medical and other industries who will learn,
share and collaborate on key topics. Participants will report tips, trends and other relat-
ed information. Notices will be shared through the institute with local law enforcement
and businesses, benefitting the local market and its residents.
Citizen education will also be a prominent component of the institute. In develop-
ment is a program that will certify participants as identity theft advisors, giving them an
opportunity to also help other victims. Another goal of the Identity Fraud Institute is to
host a national conference, tentatively planned for September 2016, on identity theft
Carrie Kerskie is the director of the Identity Fraud Institute and is an identity fraud
expert, Florida Licensed Private Investigator and local resource on data breach issues,
as well as author of Your Public Identity: Because Nothing is Private Anymore.
“For more than seven years, Florida has ranked first for identity fraud complaints,
with Naples ranking fifth nationwide. Coupled with the research and education compo-
nent, Hodges University is the perfect fit for the institute,” said Kerskie.
Kerskie has already partnered with Representative Kathleen Passidomo and Senator
Garrett Richter to get FL-HB157 passed. Co-authored by Kerskie and Representative
Passidomo, it was passed unanimously by the House and Senate with support of
Senator Garrett Richter. Prior to being signed into law by Governor Rick Scott on
June 16, 2015, business identity theft was not a crime in Florida.
“HB157 was the result of a collaborative effort of the members of the Collier
County Identity Theft Task Force which brought to my attention their concerns that
Florida’s laws pertaining to fraud and identity theft were outdated and archaic,” said
Passidomo. “The law only focused on the crime and penalties, but didn’t provide a
mechanism to help victims restore their identities. It also didn’t protect businesses from
identity theft and had wide gaps in its application and enforcement. With the expertise
of Carrie Kerskie, an identity theft expert and director of the Identity Fraud Institute at
Hodges University, we created a significant piece of legislation that protects all Florida
businesses from Identity Theft; sets up a process for a victim to obtain documentation
continued on page 24
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