FORT MILL — Although the Charlotte Knights maybe losing ground on the race for a playoff spot, another race is ongoing by outfielder Jordan Danks.
Danks, 26, has spent parts of the last four seasons at Triple-A with the Knights and in doing so has closed in on some of the team’s top career records. During his time with the Knights, Danks has closed in on Joe Borchard’s records for games played, at-bats, hits, doubles and strikeouts.
He already owns the team records for triples with 12 and walks with 168.
Borchard played for the Knights from 2002-2005 and ranks first in games played (447), at-bats (1,668), hits (439), doubles (96), RBIs (227), home runs (78), runs scored (237), walks (156), and strikeouts (453).
Through Sunday, Danks is second in games played (369), at-bats (1,330), hits (354), runs scored, (198) and strikeouts (427). He is third in doubles with 76, just 10 out of second place, and fourth in RBIs with 165. He also recently moved into a tie with Stefan Gartrell for 10th place in career home runs for the Knights with 36.
The records that Borchard and Danks hold are just since 1988, when the team changed its name from the O’s to the Knights.
Danks said he is happy to be moving up toward the top of some of these records, especially knowing the players that have come through the organization.
“There have been some big name guys,” he said. “It would be cool to be remembered as one of those big name guys. But also, just to be in the same category as some of them is a pretty cool accomplishment.”
A native Texan, Danks has also spent time in Chicago with the White Sox this year and last year, but hasn’t caught on with the team like he wanted. He has 20 hits, including two homers, in 104 Major-League at-bats. Danks also has five stolen bases in six attempts on his resume.
“Obviously, the goal is to be in Chicago, but this year has been a little bit of a learning experience,” he said. “It’s been up and down. I know what it takes to get back up and know what it takes to stay there. I am just trying to put the two together.”
Danks said he has become wiser with time, which has helped him in trying to get a full-time spot in Chicago.
“This being my fourth year in Triple-A, it’s been good for me,” he said. “Most guys work their way through the system, but I got here pretty quick.”
In fact, Danks got to Charlotte in just 113 minor league games starting in Single-A Kannapolis in 2008, his first year in the minors and splitting time in 2009 between high Single-A Winston-Salem and Double-A Birmingham.
“I got to play with a bunch of veteran guys who were older than me, so I got to pick their brain and find out what it takes,” he said.
One key to Danks’ development, he said, was playing with his older brother, John, who is also with the White Sox organization and is currently in Chicago. John told Jordan what he could expect after being drafted by the White Sox in 2008.
“I thought I had an advantage from the get go, coming into pro ball,” Jordan Danks said. “That took a lot of pressure off in knowing what to expect.”
Growing up, the Danks brothers shared a room and that fueled their competitive natures, Jordan said.
“We have always been competitive since day one,” he said. “We have a 10 by 10 concrete slab in our parents’ backyard with a basketball goal and the right side of the goal is still missing its backboard. There were so many elbows thrown back there.”
Jordan said he was always confident his brother would make it to the majors, but wasn’t quite so sure about himself.
“When I left high school and went to college, I never expected to make it this far, but there is stuff you learn along the way and things you pick up,” he said. “Your confidence, after playing four years in Triple-A, I ended up getting myself there, it’s just a matter of staying there now.”
Danks said the one thing he needs to do is be consistent once he gets back to Chicago and take advantage of every opportunity.
“Whether it’s coming into pinch run or pinch hit for someone, just don’t give the at-bat away,” he said. “Even if you strikeout, it could be a decent at-bat and make them see you are putting forth the effort.”
However, until that full-time opportunity comes around, Danks will continue climbing the ladder toward more Knights career records one game at a time.