I had contacted the Lake Elsinore Storm about coming up for the game with my friend @Thebaseballphd to talk to some of the players for our blogs. We were given permission and told 2 media passes would be left for us. We had heard that Zack Greinke would be there doing a rehab start before coming off the DL, which meant that a lot more members of the press would be there covering the game.
We arrived at 4:10PM and received our passes and were escourted to the press box and then down to the field. As we were on the field taking pictures and talking to Lake Elsinore Storm players, we saw the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes players arrive and walk down to the field to stretch out before the game. In the stand sitting next to a gentleman with a laptop open was Zack Greinke. I decided since there was barely anyone there that I would go up to him and ask him who his favorite player was growing up. My thought was to do the same thing that Dick Enberg did years ago when talking to Ted Williams, and that was bring up a topic no one has probably asked him about (in Dick’s case, it was talking about 2 innings that Ted had pitched against Detroit in 1940). As I walked up to Ted, one of the Dodgers media people walked up and reminded me Zack had a social anxiety disorder. I thanked him and walked over and waited. The gentleman he was talking to motioned for me to talk to him, so I did. I introduced myself and what I write about and asked him who was his favorite player growing up. He said, “I’ll answer your question after the game assuming I talk to anybody.” I thanked him and wished him well.
We did attend the press conference later where Greinke answered questions posed to him by the media. I didn’t bother to ask him who his favorite player was then, I asked him how many rehab starts he thought he would need before he was ready to return. He said, “I don’t know, I’ll talk to the organization and we’ll talk about it tomorrow.” I recorded the entire press conference and will be taking time over the next couple of days to type it out and post it along with my thoughts that me and the @TheBaeballPHD had after the game.
Sports has always been a part of the life of Dick Enberg. After playing college baseball at Central Michigan University, Dick moved on to graduate school at Indiana University where he started his broadcasting career calling IU basketball and football. In the late 60’s, Dick moved to Southern California where he started working for KTLA calling games for John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins and KMPC 710 announcing Angels baseball and Rams football. Over the years, Dick has broadcast Wimbledon, The Super Bowl, The Rose Bowl, The Breeder’s Cup, The Olympics and major boxing matches. He has hosted 3 tv game shows; Baffle, Three For the Money and Sports Challenge and has done voice overs for such classic movies as The Longshot and appeared as himself in The Naked Gun. If it’s a mega sporting event, chances are Dick Enberg has been there broadcasting it over the airwaves or on television. Currently, Dick is announcing for the San Diego Padres and his catch phrase “he can touch them all” ” can be heard by Padres fans after each home run hit by the Padres along with his famous expression “oh, my.”
Upon meeting Dick, I asked him who was his favorite all-time player and without a moment of hesitation Dick responded with, “Ted Williams was the greatest player I ever saw. I got to know Ted Williams and personally liked him, but Ted was the best player I ever saw.”
Personally, I love Dick Enberg as an announcer and I am happy he’s working for my Padres.
Nicknamed “The Colonel” by his friends and fans, Jerry Coleman has been involved in baseball since the age of 18. He served during WW2 and Korea as a pilot and twice earned The Distinguished Flying Cross Medal. During his baseball career, he was named the American League Rookie of the Year in 1949 and the World Series MVP in 1950.
After retiring in 1957, he became personnel director with the Yankees, which involved Jerry scouting minor league players. In 1960, Jerry made the jump into broadcasting with CBS and in 1963 moved on to do radio for the Yankees. He spent 7 years broadcasting for the Yankees and then jumped ship in 1970 to broadcast for the California Angels. After 2 years with the Angels, he was offered the chance to be the voice of the Padres, and accepted the job. He has remained the voice of the team every year since, except 1980 when he was hired to manage the San Diego Padres. His signature broadcast line of, “Oh doctor, you can hang a star on that baby!” is legendary here in San Diego, with the radio team hanging a star out the window after every great play the Padres make.
During his broadcast career he has won the Ford C. Frick Award and was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2007. In 2008, with the help of Richard Goldstein, he wrote his autobiography American Journey: My Life on the Field, in the Air, and on the Air. It is an excellent book and I recommend reading it.
On September 15, 2012, the Padres honored Jerry Coleman by unveiling a statue of him at Petco Park. It is located toward the back entrance of the park and it shows Jerry in his pilot’s uniform with a 3 part backdrop recognizing his career in the military and sports.
I was able to catch up with Jerry at the Padres Awards dinner and talk to him about players. Jerry said the best player he ever saw was Joe DiMaggio. He said of Joe; “he only struck out 369 times in his career while some great players have struck out over 1700 times in their careers. Ted Williams was the best hitter I ever saw, but Joe was the best player.”
Jerry Coleman is an American hero..a great broadcaster..and a great man. We are blessed to have him here in San Diego.
John Paciorek is a player who has the distinction of never making an out in a major league game. On September 29th, 1963 in Colts Stadium, John batted 5 times with 3 singles, 2 walks, 4 runs scored and 3 runs batted in. Injuries to his back and arm ended his career early, but his one game will go down as the greatest game a player has ever had playing in just one major league game for his career. He currently is a teacher at a private school in San Gabriel, CA and has written a book called The Principle of Baseball: All There Is To Know about Hitting.
I wrote John recently and he took the time to respond about who his favorite players are….
“To answer your first question is difficult because my admiration for players is relative to the period of my life when particular aspects of the game were more important to me. As a kid, my favorites were Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, and Babe Ruth. As a Professional player myself, the one I most admired was Joe Morgan because I knew first hand what he went through to become the Hall of Famer he did become. Presently, the two players most influential in my teaching of baseball skills are Barry Bonds and Nolan Ryan. Everything I write about Batting and Throwing a baseball is due to my observation of their mechanical techniques.”
All of the players John named except for Barry Bonds are in the Hall Of Fame, but all of them did one thing John never did….and that was make an out during their major league career.