Black History Month: The Cyclones Top Five Black Players
In celebration of Black History Month, throughout February, teams across Minor League Baseball are taking a look back at some of the best Black players to suit up for their club. We will be showcasing these players – in no particular order - throughout the month and introducing a video
In celebration of Black History Month, throughout February, teams across Minor League Baseball are taking a look back at some of the best Black players to suit up for their club.
We will be showcasing these players – in no particular order - throughout the month and introducing a video series where we chat with each player about their time in Brooklyn and where life has taken them since their time on Coney Island.
First up is Cory Vaughn. Without a doubt, Cory Vaughn was the most prolific power hitter in Cyclones history during their time in the New York-Penn League. His 14 home runs and 56 RBI were both franchise records, until the Cyclones became a full-season affiliate following the 2019 season. Cory also led the NYPL with a .557 slugging percentage and a .953 on-base percentage. The 4th Round selection in the 2010 MLB Draft was a New York-Penn League All-Star in 2010 and made it all the way to Triple-A Las Vegas with the Mets in 2015 before finishing his career in the Independent Atlantic League with Southern Maryland.
Dante Brinkley – One of the stars of the 2004 Brooklyn Cyclones squad, Dante was named to the New York-Penn League Post-Season All-Star team following one of the best offensive seasons in franchise history. Dante led the team by hitting .316 (74-for-234) with 47 runs scored, nine doubles, one triple, six home runs and 30 RBI in 62 games for Brooklyn. He also stole 14 bases and finished the season with a .396 on-base percentage. Brinkley also had a 12-game hitting streak during the season, which still ranks among the longest in franchise history. Selected by the Mets in the 23rd round of the 2003 MLB Draft, Dante was eventually traded to the Marlins as part of a package for Paul LoDuca and made it to Triple-A Albuquerque in 2008.
Chris Hilliard – This 38th round selection in the 2008 MLB Draft went from Itawamba Community College to become the winningest pitcher in Cyclones history. The southpaw spent parts of three seasons on Coney Island, including the 2010 campaign that saw him tie the franchise record with nine wins in a single season. The following year, Hilliard returned for a short stint with the ‘Clones, securing four more victories to finish his career with 13 wins in a Cyclones uniform.
Richard Lucas – Selected in the 4th round of the 2007 MLB Draft, Richard had two stints with Brooklyn, but spent the entire 2011 season with Cyclones and was a key cog in the offensive machine that led the team to the New York-Penn League Playoffs. Lucas was a 2011 NYPL All-Star after hitting .300 (75-for-250) with 46 runs scored, 19 doubles, three triples, six home runs, 41 RBI and .857 OPS. The Jacksonville, FL native made it to Double-A Binghamton in 2013 before ending his career in the Independent Frontier League with the Normal CornBelters in 2014 and 2015.
Desmond Lindsay – The 2016 Sterling Award Winner played with the Cyclones for parts of two seasons, getting a taste of Brooklyn in 2015 (14 games) before his award-winning 2016 campaign. Lindsay missed the early part of the season with a hamstring injury but made up for lost time, hitting in 24 of 32 games to end the year. As just a 19 year old, he hit .339 (19-for-56) at home and tied a franchise record with a seven-RBI game on August 12, 2016 against West Virginia. The Bradenton, FL native finished his professional career with Double-A Binghamton after an injury-riddled career.