SIOUX CITY, IA - With players arriving and spring training just days away, the Sioux City Explorers have finalized their 2013 roster with two key signings. The X’s have agreed to 2013 contracts with power-hitting outfielder Palmer Karr Jr. (acquired in trade from Laredo for player to be named later) and 2012 returner, Wally Backman, Jr. Under league classifications, both players are of veteran status and join pitchers Richard Salazar and Josh Rainwater, as the teams’ veterans.
Karr Jr. has played in the independent ranks for eight years. In 2012, he split time between El Paso and Laredo of the American Association, hitting a combined .313 in 90 games. The Birmingham, AL native collected 110 hits, 24 doubles and 14 home runs, while producing 58 runs batted in.
Karr began his career with the Pensacola Pelicans of the Central League in 2005 and split time with the Pelicans, the Laredo Broncos of the United League and Fort Worth Cats in 2006 before moving to the Alexandria Aces in 2007 and 2008. He was selected to two United League All-Star games with the Broncos in 2006. The 30-year-old played with the Brockton Rox of the Can-Am League in 2009 and was selected as a Post Season All-Star. The 2010 and 2011 season was spent with the Shreveport-Bossier Captains of the American Association, where he played with current X’s pitcher, Richard Salazar.
Over his eight seasons, Karr has hit .288/.359/.491 in 612 games. He has collected 672 hits, 139 doubles, and 108 home runs and has produced 434 runs batted in. Defensively, the 6’2” outfielder has a career .974 fielding percentage, spending most of his time in left field.
“I am thrilled we have landed Karr, as he gives us the big bat we have been looking for in the middle of our lineup and I’m excited Wally will return for his 3rd year as he is a proven clubhouse leader that provides us another weapon on offense, stated X’s Field Manager Stan Cliburn on the pair of signings.
The 2013 season will mark Jr.’s third year with the X’s and tenth overall in professional baseball. In 2012, the 27-year-old Prineville, OR native appeared in 95 games for the Explorers, compiling a .292 batting average in 363 at bats. On the season Backman collected 106 hits, 20 doubles, 4 triples and 2 home runs while driving in 31 runs. In his two seasons in an X’s uniform, Backman has tallied 223 hits, 37 doubles, 6 triples and 9 homeruns while collecting 93 RBI’s.
Originally selected by the Texas Rangers in the 30th round of the 2004 Amateur Draft, Backman Jr. spent four seasons in the Rangers system, reaching as high as single-A Clinton of the Midwest League. After being released from Texas, Backman Jr. continued his career in independent baseball.
As the name implies, Backman Jr is the son of former Major League infielder, Wally Backman, Sr., who won the World Series Championship with the New York Mets in 1986. Backman, Sr. is currently managing in the Mets organization for the Las Vegas 51’s (AAA) of the Pacific Coast League.