MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — Friday marked a special night at Toyota Field as more than 30 former Huntsville Stars players were honored ahead of the Rocket City Trash Pandas game. The game is a part of an entire reunion weekend for the former players.

Before the Trash Pandas, the Huntsville Stars brought Minor League Baseball to the city for decades. They played at Joe Davis Stadium, which is now the home to Huntsville City Football Club (HCFC).

On Friday morning, some of the former Stars players joined fans for lunch at Toyota Field.

Former Stars outfielder Rocky Coyle told News 19 he wouldn’t have missed this weekend for anything, “It’s probably been the highlight of my year, probably the last 20 years. There’s a deep love that we have for one another. This is one of the best groups of guys that you could ever want to play with… I wouldn’t miss it for anything. We drove eight hours… I’m so thankful to be here and for them to do this.”

The former players returned to the diamond ahead of the first pitch at the Trash Pandas’ Friday night game against the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. All former players were recognized in a special ceremony, before signing autographs for fans in the concourse.

The Trash Pandas wore specialty Stars jerseys and caps, to further honor the former team. The game-worn, autographed jerseys were auctioned off, with the proceeds benefitting The Rocket City Trash Pandas Foundation and Friends of Rescue, Inc.

(Photo: Rocket City Trash Pandas)

Of the players scheduled to appear, 13 were members of the 1985 inaugural Huntsville Stars team that went on the win the Southern League Championship, while nine eventually reached the Major League. The group represents the entirety of the Stars’ tenure, beginning as an Oakland A’s affiliate before finishing as a Milwaukee Brewers affiliate.

The full list of players is below:

  • Charlie O’Brien – 1985 Stars, Played 15 MLB seasons for eight teams from 1985-2000, including a World Series Championship for the Atlanta Braves in 1995
  • Greg Cadaret – 1985-87 Stars, Pitched 10 MLB seasons for eight teams from 1987-98
  • Francisco Matos – 1990-93 Stars, Played for the Oakland A’s in 1994
  • José Tolentino – 1987-87 Stars, Played for the Houston Astros in 1991
  • Steve Phoenix – 1991-94, 1997 Stars, Pitched for Oakland from 1994-95
  • Rob Nelson – 1985 Stars, Played five MLB seasons for Oakland and San Diego from 1986-90
  • Bert Bradley – Pitching Coach for the 1991-92 and 1997-98 Stars, Pitched for the 1997 Stars, Pitched for the A’s in 1983
  • Wally Whitehurst – 1986-87 Stars, Pitched seven MLB seasons for three teams from 1989-96
  • Donovan Hand – 2008-11 Stars, Pitched for the Brewers in 2013 and Reds in 2015
  • Rocky Coyle – 1985-86 Stars, Hit the game-winning home run in the 9th inning of Game 5 of the 1985 Southern League Championship Series to give the Stars their first title
  • Chip Conklin – 1985 Stars
  • Scott Whaley – 1985-86 Stars
  • Bob Hallas – 1985 Stars
  • Rick Stromer – 1985-86 Stars
  • Wayne Giddings – 1985 Stars
  • Brian Guinn – 1985-86 Stars
  • John Marquardt – 1985 Stars
  • Mark Bauer – 1985 Stars
  • Dave Wilder – 1985-86 Stars
  • Brad Fischer – 1985-87 Stars Manager
  • Hunter Morris – 2011-12, 2014 Stars, 2012 Southern League MVP
  • Brian Criswell – 1986-88 Stars
  • Stan Hilton – 1986-87 Stars
  • Russ Kibler – 1987-88 Stars
  • Benji Grigsby – 1994-95 Stars
  • Joe Kramer – 1986-97 Stars
  • Roy Anderson – 1987 Stars
  • Kevin MacLeod – 1990 Stars
  • Jimmy Jones – 1987-88 Stars
  • Doug Scherer – 1986-87 Stars
  • Damon Farmar – 1986 Stars
  • Darrin Duffy – 1987-88 Stars
  • Kyle Heckathorn – 2011-12 Stars

Joining them will be former Stars front office members Larry Schmittou, Dan Harrison, Larry Smith, Jay Grider, John Rocco, Bill MacKay, Kirk Giles, Cynthia Giles, Kent Pylant, Dave Demonbreun, Larry Ketchum, Jimmy McGucken, Rick Davis, Don Rizzardi, and Charlie Crute. Dale Tafoya, author of the newly released book One Season In Rocket City will also be in attendance.

The Trash Pandas series against the Blue Wahoos is the last homestand remaining in the regular season. You can purchase tickets here.