On August 24, Jon Hunton notched his recording breaking 41st save of the year, breaking his own mark from the previous season, according to the Atlantic League.
Jon Hunton has seen a lot of baseball games over his 11 seasons, but only in the past couple years has he gotten the recognition he deserves. Not that Hunton has been overlooked. Standing 6'9" and tipping the scales at 260, it's pretty hard not to notice him on the mound. In all seriousness, Hunton has developed into one of the most reliable relievers in the independent game.
No one ever looks to break a record. if you did, you'd ultimately fail. There are too many variables going against you. You need talent, a little luck, and the opportunities. But when the opportunity presents itself, you have to run with it.
“It's an accomplishment that I had set forth before the season, and even last year I wanted to break the record, but I fell short,” Hunton told Courier News/Home News Tribune beat writer Mike Ashmore. “But a lot has to do with your team and giving you the opportunity. And the opportunities were given to me quite a bit because of the offense we've had, so I appreciate everything that they've done for me as far as giving me the opportunities to do my job. It's a great feeling.”
Hunton has been very successful in his career. Though he's never made that elusive appearance in the majors, he's put together some very good years.
After being drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 11th round of the 2004 MLB June Amateur Draft from Lamar University, he spent the first two years of his career toiling around Single A. He spent the next two years in the independent leagues where he put together an unbelievable season.
In 2008, as a member of the Fort Worth Cats, Hunton appeared in 48 games, went 5-1, saved 23 games and posted a 0.81 ERA. He gave up five runs all year and struck out 71. The following year he signed with the Oakland Athletics and made it to Triple A in 2010.
The last four years has seen Hunton hone his craft as a reliever for the Long Island Ducks, Grand Prairie AirHogs, and Laredo Lemurs, but the last two years with the Somerset Patriots, is where he has really developed as one of the best closers in independent baseball saving 79 games, including 42 in 2014.
At 31, there's no doubt in anyone's mind that he's still got a lot to give to the game. For some, the results are in the most improbable places.