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Baseball: ThunderBolts retire jersey numbers for Dylan Axelrod and Mike Kashirsky

Dylan Axelrod (left) Mike Kashirsky share moment during Thursday night jersey retirement ceremony. | Supplied photo

Dylan Axelrod (left) and Mike Kashirsky share a moment during Thursday night jersey retirement ceremony. | Supplied photo

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Updated: August 2, 2013 6:30AM



Dylan Axelrod and Mike Kashirsky long ago had cemented their legacies with the Windy City ThunderBolts. Now they have the visual proof on display at Standard Bank Stadium.

The pair became the first to have their numbers retired by the T-Bolts during a ceremony Thursday night in Crestwood.

Axelrod became the first former Windy City player to reach the major leagues and is in his third season pitching with the White Sox. Kashirsky joined him in making U.S. Cellular Field his office this season, becoming a full-time member of the Sox staff as a batting practice pitcher.

Sox closer Addison Reed and outfielder Jordan Danks also were in attendance.

Axelrod’s No. 23 and Kashirsky’s No. 1 were revealed between games of Thursday’s doubleheader between the T-Bolts and Normal CornBelters. The numbers adorn the stadium’s “party box” down the first-base line.

“It’s a tremendous honor for me and ‘Kash’ to have our numbers up there,” Axelrod said. “In the moment of seeing the numbers, it meant even more than I anticipated. It was really cool.

“ ‘Kash’ and I always joke about how he almost beat me to the big leagues. It’s cool to share this with him. We had a lot of good times in this park together. Now we’re just hanging out in the big leagues together.”

Axelrod went 3-1 with a 2.21 ERA and six saves in 22 appearances with the T-Bolts in 2009. He made his major league debut with the Sox on Sept. 7, 2011.

Kashirsky, who was the team’s bench coach during Axelrod’s tenure, briefly played for the franchise — then known as the Cook County Cheetahs — in 2000 before spending six seasons as the team’s bench coach and two-plus as its manager.

Kashirsky led the team to the 2008 Frontier League title and is the franchise’s all-time winningest manager with a 141-100 record.

“I love this place,” Kashirsky said. “I always think about it and miss it. It’s great to be back. Sharing it with ‘Ax’ was the best part. To see his work ethic and see how far he has come, it’s an honor to be up there with him.”

Reed and Danks each threw out ceremonial first pitches. Danks’ was caught by T-Bolts second baseman Mike Torres, his college teammate at Texas.

“It’s always great to see old friends like Mike,” Danks said. “I played with Axelrod all the way up through the minors and this was a really cool accomplishment for him.”

Danks was wearing a ThunderBolts shirt with ‘Kash’ and the No. 1 on the back.

“I modified this myself,” he said. “ ‘Kash’ and I hit it off right away and we’ve become really good friends.”

Axelrod, who is one of two former T-Bolts to reach the major leagues — Andrew Werner made his debut with the San Diego Padres in 2012 — hopes more players will follow his lead.

“Someone had to be the first,” he said. “I hope I can be a bit of an inspiration to these guys. There are some great players in (the Frontier League). If they get a shot, who knows?”



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