Schwarber’s number the eighth to be retired in Middletown history

Credit: Journal News

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Kyle Schwarber honored at Middie basketball game with jersey retirement

Credit: Journal News

Major Leaguer was a standout for Middie baseball team

MIDDLETOWN -- The next couple of months will be pretty special for Kyle Schwarber and his family.

What is a shaping up to be a fun and exciting time for the 2011 Middletown High School graduate started Friday when his Middie baseball uniform No. 12 was retired during a ceremony at halftime of the Princeton-Middletown varsity boys’ basketball game.

Middie baseball players held the gigantic jersey replica as the public-address announcer read off the lengthy list of Schwarber’s accomplishments. Schwarber delivered a few remarks at the conclusion.

“I want to thank the whole Middletown community,” he said, wearing a purple Middletown baseball cap and jacket with his pregnant wife, Paige, standing by his side. “I love Middletown. It’s in my heart. It’s in my blood.”

On deck? Induction into the Middletown High School Athletic Hall of Fame on March 5. Whether Schwarber will be able to attend that ceremony depends on when Paige delivers the couple’s first child.

The Hall of Fame ceremony was scheduled for this month but was postponed due to COVID-19.

Schwarber’s number is the eighth to be retired in Middletown sports history, but the first for a baseball player. He also played linebacker on the Middie football team.

The number retirement ceremony originally was scheduled for the football season when Schwarber was in town with the Washington Nationals to face the Reds, but he was traded before the series to the Boston Red Sox.

The Schwarber party took their courtside padded folding chairs across from the Middie bench in the last minute of the warmup period.

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Major League Baseball player Kyle Schwarber had his No. 12 retired on Friday night by Middletown High School. Nick Graham/STAFF

Major League Baseball player Kyle Schwarber had his No. 12 retired on Friday night by Middletown High School. Nick Graham/STAFF

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Major League Baseball player Kyle Schwarber had his No. 12 retired on Friday night by Middletown High School. Nick Graham/STAFF

Stored in a room behind the top row of the stands before the ceremony were the large replica jersey and a framed posted listing many of his post-Middletown accomplishments at Indiana, with Team USA and with the Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals and Boston Red Sox. The poster was titled “Kyle’s Journey” with the subtitle “Once A Middie, Always a Middie.” In the middle was a photo of Schwarber finishing a home run swing.

A student was spotted Friday wearing a Schwarber Red Sox No.18 jersey.

Also on hand was former Middletown football and track star Darrell Hunter, who played football at Miami and in the National Football League in 2006 with the Atlanta Falcons.

Schwarber, a 28-year-old left-handed batter, was a two-time Great Miami Conference first-team all-conference pick – as a catcher in his junior year and designated hitter in his senior season, when he was named co-GMC baseball Athlete of the Year after leading league in hitting and home runs. He played three seasons at Indiana, helping the Hoosiers to the first College World Series appearance in program history. He was drafted in the first round as the fourth overall pick of the 2014 MLB draft by the Chicago Cubs and rolled through Chicago’s minor league system and before joining the Major League team in 2015.

Playing left field in the third game of the 2016 regular season, Schwarber suffered a left knee injury that was supposed to sideline him until Spring Training 2017, but he returned in time for the World Series and played a key role in the Cubs’ championship, batting .412 to help them win their first World Series in 108 years.

Since then, he has played for the Nationals and Red Sox and in six postseasons during his seven-year career. He’s a free agent after signing a one-year, $10 million deal last year with Washington. He finished the 2021 season with 32 homers and a career-high .266 batting average.

MIDDLETOWN HIGH SCHOOL RETIRED NUMBERS

Basketball

11: Shelby Linville

13: Jerry Lucas

14: John Fraley

42: Butch Carter

51: Archie Aldridge

Baseball

12: Kyle Schwarber

Football

1: Cris Carter

83: Todd Bell

SOURCE: Middletown High School athletic department

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