Here is a link to the original story on the team's website.
In celebration of Black History Month, throughout February, teams across Minor League Baseball are taking a look back at five of 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.”
As we gear up for the first season in Sugar Land Space Cowboys history, here is a look at five of the best Black baseball players ever to suit up in Sugar Land.
Jeremy Barfield became the first Sugar Land player to be awarded the Atlantic League Player of the Year, blasting a team-record 27 home runs in 2016. Sugar Land also went on to win its first Atlantic League Championship that season. The son of former Major League All-Star, Jesse Barfield, Jeremy ranks top-10 in the franchise’s independent history in batting average, hits, doubles, home runs and RBI.
Costes was a fixture in the Sugar Land lineup during the second half of the 2021 season. Costes hit .262 with four home runs and 19 RBIs in 40 games with Sugar Land, following a promotion from Double A Corpus Christi. One of those four home runs left his bat at 115 mph, making it the hardest-hit home run in terms of exit velocity hit at Constellation Field in ‘20. Including his time with Corpus Christi, Costes ranked fifth of all MiLB players last season (min. 400 plate appearances) with a .427 on-base percentage.
Ronnie Dawson was a consistent presence in the Sugar Land lineup during their first season as the Houston Astros Triple A affiliate in 2021. Dawson was tied for fourth on the team with 90 games played and hit .249 with seven home runs and 43 RBI. Dawson quickly emerged as a fan-favorite at Constellation Field for his upbeat style of play and ability to engage with fans. Dawson hit the first-ever Triple A grand slam at Constellation Field on May 30. Dawson also made his Major League debut with the Astros in ‘20 prior to debuting in Sugar Land.
While Deacon Jones never donned a Skeeters or Space Cowboys uniform as a player, he’s undoubtedly one of the most influential in the organization’s history. Jones was an instrumental figure in bringing professional baseball to Sugar Land in 2012. He worked with City of Sugar Land officials and leaders of the community to bring a quality baseball product to Constellation Field. Since 2012, he’s served as a Special Advisor in the Sugar Land front office. His No. 4, which he wore as a player, was retired in 2019. He became the first person to have their number retired in the organization’s history. Jones played for the Chicago White Sox from 1962-63, ‘66. He proceeded to have a decades-long coaching and scouting career, which included stints as the hitting coach for the Houston Astros and San Diego Padres.
Yes, you read the name correctly. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall-of-Famer had a brief stint in Sugar Land as a pitcher while the club was still playing in the independent Atlantic League. McGrady, who spent six seasons with the Houston Rockets, made four starts for Sugar Land in 2014. He also started the 2014 Atlantic League All-Star Game at Constellation Field. The organization honored McGrady with his own bobblehead night in 2018, as he returned to Constellation Field that night to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Although McGrady’s stint in Sugar Land was brief, he’s positively one of the most iconic players in franchise history.