Idols of the Spring

Baseball Interviews About Preseason Training

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About the Book

Baseball players and fans alike feel that spring is a magical time of year. For the players, spring training is a rebirth, with high expectations for the upcoming season. For fans, it is a chance to see their favorite players return to the diamond as well as to hear about the up-and-coming players. This work is a compilation of interviews with 23 players, an umpire and a trainer: Chipper Jones, Walt Weiss, Glenn Hubbard, J.D. Drew, Jim Kaat, Craig Counsell, Ryan Dempster, Harold Baines, Andre Dawson, Mike Hargrove, Will Clark, Gary Sheffield, Davey Johnson, Shawn Green, Mike Bordick, Tim Bishop (trainer), Al Clark (umpire), Brady Anderson, Dave Cash, Al Jackson, Robin Ventura, Rondell White, Monte Irvin, Rick Ankiel, and Red Schoendienst. Each interviewee shares his own personal spring training experiences and thoughts on why spring training is such a special time of year for the players and fans.

About the Author(s)

Broward County, Florida, educator Dan Zachofsky was named as the state’s Teacher of the Year in 1994. He is also the author of October Baseball: Ballplayers Discuss Postseason Play (2005) and Collecting Baseball Memorabilia: A Handbook (2000) and a member of the Society for American Baseball Research.

Bibliographic Details

Dan Zachofsky
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 222
Bibliographic Info: photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2001
pISBN: 978-0-7864-1079-8
eISBN: 978-0-7864-8231-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments    1

Introduction    3

Chipper Jones: MVP-Winning Slugger    13

Walt Weiss: Defensive Anchor    23

Glenn Hubbard: Coach, Second Baseman Extraordinaire    33

J.D. Drew: Future All-Star    42

Jim Kaat: Commentator, Pitching Great    47

Craig Counsell: Blue-Collar Winner    57

Ryan Dempster: Canadian All-Star    66

Harold Baines: Professional Hitter    75

Andre Dawson: The Hawk    83

Mike Hargrove: Manager, Human Rain Delay    94

Will Clark: The Thrill    101

Gary Sheffield: Baseball’s Much-Acclaimed Sheff    109

Davey Johnson: The Rook    116

Shawn Green: Quiet Superstar    123

Mike Bordick: The Steady One    128

Tim Bishop: Man Behind the Player Muscle    137

Al Clark: A Man in Blue    145

Brady Anderson: The Leadoff Home-Run Man    151

Dave Cash: Team Leader and Coach    158

Al Jackson: Mr. Resilience    167

Robin Ventura: The Grand Slam Man    175

Rondell White: The Windy City’s Latest, Best Hope    181

Monte Irvin: Negro Leaguer, Major Leaguer-Hall of Famer    186

Rick Ankiel: Fireballing Phenom    196

Red Schoendienst: Revered Hall of Fame Player and Manager    201

Bibliography    209

Index    211

Book Reviews & Awards

“contains over two dozen interviews with players”—The SABR Bulletin; “a straightforward book, allowing you a peek inside the training room and smaller ballparks of spring training”—The Diamond Angle; “Spring training is a special time of the year…. Everyone is happy to be outdoors, under blue skies on the rich, green grass of a baseball diamond. In this book, Dan Zachofsky gives you some interesting, entertaining insight about the atmosphere at a major league spring training camp.”—Jim Kaat.