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Did you play high school or college baseball with a future major leaguer?

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  • Did you play high school or college baseball with a future major leaguer?

    Just thought of a great topic, and I'm very curious about the stories which might be worth sharing. Did you play high school or college level baseball with a future major leaguer? For anyone who played minor league ball, feel free to share your stories about your former future major league teammates.

    Personally, I played softball in college with Al Nipper, former pitcher with the Boston Red Sox in the 1980s and early 1990s. We were both outfielders, although he wouldn't remember. He was CF and I played LF on a dorm team in a regional college. The school was named Northeast Missouri State University at the time, and its now Truman State U. We had a great dormitory for guys to play intramural sports, and the softball teams for each floor could be competitive with the other floors. He only played CF, because he didn't have any intention of endangering his arm for the college BB season. I was incredibly average all around.

    On one play which sticks in memory, a ball was hit to him and he fielded it on two hops, and tried to get a runner at the plate. Somehow, his throw sailed the backstop into the parking lot. We chided him that the ball was last seen heading into town toward a girl's dormitory.

    Anyone with a story about someone we would recognize?
    Catfish Hunter, RIP. Mark Fidrych, RIP. Skip Caray, RIP. Tony Gwynn, #19, RIP

    A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. -- Winston Churchill. (Please take note that I've recently become aware of how this quote applies to a certain US president. This is a coincidence, and the quote was first added to this signature too far back to remember when).

    Experience is the hardest teacher. She gives the test first and the lesson later. -- Dan Quisenberry.

  • #2
    I knew Steve Bartkowski when he was 13 and played on my brother's Pony league team
    He was also the SS on 2 Colt League World Series teams and I bat boyed many games the first year (1968)
    He went on to become the overall #1 draft choice in the 1975 NFL draft

    I went to high school a year behind Dave Stieb
    He was a varsity oitfielder and I was a JV infielder
    He had a rocket arm and they had him come down and pitch as an experiment in a JV game
    he was horrible and I mean horrible
    Many years later he was an All Star Pitcher for the Blue Jays

    I played JC winter ball and played against Dave Righetti

    My dad played semi-pro ball with Red Walsh whose grandaughter Carrie Walsh is the Olympic beach volleball star

    My dad also played semi pro ball with Jim Brown who played in the first college world series for Cal against the first George Bush (Yale)

    My high school history teacher Bob La Monte became a sports agent, now mainly for NFL head coaches
    Last edited by 9RoyHobbsRF; 06-15-2012, 09:34 PM.
    1. The more I learn, the more convinced I am that many players are over-rated due to inflated stats from offensive home parks (and eras)
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    • #3
      My mom's family knew Don Stanhouse's family very well as the kids grew up in southern Illinois. I lived in DuQuoin for several years as a young boy. A lot of my extended family still lives there and in nearby towns.

      Don's brother was part of my mom's second wedding.
      Last edited by Second Base Coach; 06-16-2012, 04:11 AM.
      Your Second Base Coach
      Garvey, Lopes, Russell, and Cey started 833 times and the Dodgers went 498-335, for a .598 winning percentage. That’s equal to a team going 97-65 over a season. On those occasions when at least one of them missed his start, the Dodgers were 306-267-1, which is a .534 clip. That works out to a team going 87-75. So having all four of them added 10 wins to the Dodgers per year.


      • #4
        I played HS baseball with Richie Becker ex Twins outfielder, I believe he was the guy who replaced Puckett. He's a firefighter now in Florida.
        "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

        "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)


        • #5
          I unfortunately was never much of an athlete, so I have no major league teammates to discuss. I moved from the Chicago suburbs to North Carolina during my high school years, allowing me to be schoolmates with both Pat Misch and Landon Powell, but I never knew either one personally.

          My father, on the other hand, used to play neighborhood ball with Ross Baumgarten. He says Baumgarten used to razz him about the curveball he threw, but my father contends that Ross was just jealous.
          Baseball Junk Drawer


          • #6
            A related question is if you did play baseball in high school with a player who would later go on to be a major leaguer, was he actually a future major leaguer at the time you played ball with him?
            Holding a pitcher accountable for how many runs his team scores is like holding the designated hitter accountable for how many runs his team allows.

            An individual statistic is meaningful only if it is based strictly on what the player does and not on what the other players on his team do.

            Contrary to what most baseball fans claim, a pitched ball which is hit into play is not a strike.


            • #7
              I played against Jake Odorizzi from Highland, IL when I was in high school. He was a year young than me. My senior year (his JR year) he was touching 94 and regularly throwing 92. We faced him in a conference game. I was catching when he hit a bomb. I had a teammate hit a bomb off of him and the only other hit for us was mine. I had two hits my senior year and one of them was off of Odorizzi. I tell people he "threw me a change up, but it looked like a fastball to me!"

              Odorizzi is 4-0 at Triple A-Omaha for the Royals and I would probably expect he'll be in MLB at some point this year..
              Mike Hopper
              Former Gateway Grizzlies Intern


              • #8
                I pitched against Chris Hatcher in high school in 1987. He was a career minor leaguer who had a quick cup-of-coffee in Kansas City when rosters were expanded at the end of the '98 season. His call-up was due to a AAA season in Omaha that saw him hit .309 with 46HR and 106 RBI.

                In the first game of our double header he hit 2 of the longest homeruns I'd ever seen in person, into the back yard of the people living beyond the left field fence. I faced him twice in the second game, and although he was 0-2, it's only because he just got under 2 fastballs that ended up being fly ball outs to left. He apparently wasn't used to anyone throwing with that little velocity and it threw his timing off, otherwise I think those balls would have traveled OVER that house based on the height of the outs.

                He went on to have a good collegiate career at Iowa, as well as a very respectable minor league career.


                • #9
                  I got diagnosed with a heart condition freshman year so I didn't play any HS sports and I couldn't hit a lick so I doubt I was going to make it anyhow but I do remember playing little league ball against Brandon Guyer of the Rays. Was watching an O's game last spring and sure enough he gets his first homer in his first at bat against my O's. Was happy for him though as he's the first guy from my HS to make the bigs.


                  • #10
                    The father of my daughter's friend played high school ball with Sal Bando
                    Mythical SF Chronicle scouting report: "That Jeff runs like a deer. Unfortunately, he also hits AND throws like one." I am Venus DeMilo - NO ARM! I can play like a big leaguer, I can field like Luzinski, run like Lombardi. The secret to managing is keeping the ones who hate you away from the undecided ones. I am a triumph of quantity over quality. I'm almost useful, every village needs an idiot.
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                    • #11
                      I only mention this because of the interesting background story...I played slow pitch in Dallas with a bunch of guys who played SP with Rick Parker in Lubbock. When I found this out, I commented that he must have been a superstar playing slow pitch, hitting the ball ten miles, and they said he was NOT a standout hitter at all then...just so fast that he was almost impossible to throw out at first. He did play amazing defense and had a cannon arm. I think they told me he was out of school and baseball at the time, but some coach knew him and convinced him to come to a JuCo and play, then he transferred to UTA. Rick didn't have much of a ML career, but it still surprises me that a guy with the talent to make the majors as an OFer wouldn't have been a dominant hitter in an industrial slow pitch league.

                      I do play 38+ baseball now with a guy who had a brief ML career, and he is SO much better than everybody else in the league.
                      "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson


                      • #12
                        I played soccer with Ruben Amaro Jr. Best soccer player I've had the pleasure to have played with. If times were different, he may have taken a shot as a pro - but soccer was dying and there was no money in it. He took the route of his family, though he was nothing more than a waste of a roster spot. Now of course he's the GM of the Phillies.

                        Had he gone on to a full-time soccer career, I think he would have been awesome.
                        "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers


                        • #13
                          Deleted Post
                          Last edited by bluesky5; 08-28-2013, 10:54 AM.
                          "No matter how great you were once upon a time — the years go by, and men forget,” - W. A. Phelon in Baseball Magazine in 1915. “Ross Barnes, forty years ago, was as great as Cobb or Wagner ever dared to be. Had scores been kept then as now, he would have seemed incomparably marvelous.”


                          • #14
                            Played Jr. high baseball with John Ryder, later the bass player for 80s band Face To Face.

                            Played softball with former A's/Rangers IFer Jimmy Driscoll
                            sigpicMan, do I *HATE* the Yankees!!!!!!


                            • #15
                              I was told, though years later, that we played against Casey Blake in a state of Iowa championship tournament in 1991 or so. He lievd outside Des Moines, and all through high school we played his teams, but I didn't know him. My buddy, was our C once upon a time but was then a bartender 10-15 years later, told me about it. I followed Casey's career after that, just to see how he was doing. I really had no idea he was from Iowa.

                              In 1994, I coached my sister's 7-8th grade girls softball team. A star C on another team was a girl with the last name McNertney. I had just read Ball Four a year or so before that, and remembered the name of Pilot's C Jerry McNertney. In the book it was mentioned he was from my neck of the woods, so I looked him up and sure enough he lived in Ames, Iowa. He was born down the road in Boone, and went to Iowa State before going off to a 9 year career as a C in MLB. This was his daughter, I was told. I thought she would have to be his granddaughter, but I didn't argue. He was at the games, and became the first former MLB player I met outside of a stadium. The McNertney girl was awesome, too. Someone had certainly been working with her!
                              "It ain't braggin' if you can do it." Dizzy Dean


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