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Religiously watching baseball

Posted by: Peter Abraham - Posted in Misc on Mar 19, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

My pal Sam Borden, the Journal News columnist, did a nice piece yesterday on an author who wrote a book about Jewish ballplayers.

To me, that has always been one of the great things about baseball, how much we as fans can identify with certain players. Unlike football players, who are largely anonymous, we feel like we get to know baseball players.

I remember a few years ago, some Native Americans in Minnesota came to visit Joba Chamberlain. Derek Jeter always gets some applause in Detroit. When I was a kid, we all followed Jerry Remy when he played for the California Angels because he grew up a few towns over. The local paper always identified him as “Jerry Remy, of Somerset.”

New Jersey folks might pull for Mark DeRosa. On Long Island, Craig Biggio was their guy.

What about you? Anybody you keep tabs on just because?

UPDATE, 1:36 p.m.: Nearly 100 comments already on this post, pretty cool. Everybody, it seems, has their favorite.

Somebody asked me who I rooted for. I’m a fan of Kansas City’s Mike Aviles. He went to Concordia College in Bronxville, N.Y., and I wrote a feature story on him back in 2002. I always check the boxes to see how he does. Westchester representing.

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394 Responses to “Religiously watching baseball”

  1. BoogieDown March 19th, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Dustin Pedroia. Because I’m a dwarf too.

  2. Fred Vincy March 19th, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Absolutely. I was a huge Ron Darling fan, even though I hated the Mets of that era, because he was a fellow Yalie.

  3. o'mel March 19th, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Easy! Shane Victorino.

    And anyone that comes from here or played here.

    Sid Fernandez and Benny Agbayani from the past.

    Nowadays, we follow Kurt Suzuki and the relievers sprinkled around the league. Yes, that includes the anime character Brandon League.

    Hopefully, we’ll be following some of the little league champs in the future, too.

  4. JP March 19th, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    I followed Jerry DiPoto’s career because he went to my High School. It was pretty cool when he briefly became the Rockies closer, and very not cool when he battled cancer.

    Apparently he’s doing well, and was on the short list of Mariners’ GM candidates, which would have been funny, because he could have just dug out his old High School jacket.

  5. lowshun March 19th, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    I keep tabs on Frankie Catalanotto – Fellow Paison from Smithtown, Long Island. I’ve always thought he’d be a good Yankee.

  6. Garym(Yanks and More) March 19th, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Yeah there is a couple of minor leaguers that i actually know from my town so yes of course them and i love getting to meet minor leaguers and then they make it so of course you keep an eye on them.

  7. Giuseppe Franco March 19th, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Zack Grienke.

    Love his talent.

  8. mel March 19th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    I think we can claim Ron Darling, too. Born, but not raised here. Probably one of the first players with Chinese blood as well.

  9. Observer283 March 19th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Dellin Betances. Yes, there are many other reasons to follow him other than where he grew up. But as someone who grew up in the Bronx, I always have love for people who grew up in the “outer boroughs.” Dellin’s from Brooklyn, so there you go.

    I also follow Ohlendorf because my fiance is a Princeton alum.

  10. Vince March 19th, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    Melido Perez was the first Yankee I ever rooted for, no clue why.

    BJ Upton and Victorino are my favorite non Yankees right now based on how they play. Cole Hamels is my favorite non Yankees pitcher largely based on the SI piece on him a few months ago.

    A random one?

    Quentin Mcracken. He went to South Brunswick high school, but not the same one I went to. I just liked it had the same name.

    Kevin Barry in the Braves organization. He finally got his shot a couple of years ago, he was the first out of my high school to make the majors.

    Namewise: Shigetoshi Hasegawa, Esteban Yan and Jesus Colome.

  11. gayle March 19th, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    Fantastic article as always by Sam. Agreed Sandy Koufax for those of us in the Jewish faith was meant to be adored he was taught in Hebrew School almost like a character in the Bible, someone to look up to who put his faith and beliefs above something else.

    Growing up for me it was always the Phillies Lefty, Michael Jack, Sarge, The Bull, Tug, The Minister of Defense also Willie Montanez. Any one of those guys were always at the top of my list and Aaron and Brett Boone also because top of my list just because of their Dad and what he meant to us Philly fans.

  12. Billy March 19th, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    I grew up with Tim Redding. His career has been up and down to say the least. He’s a nice guy and nice to see him making a decent salary with the Mets.

  13. Patrick March 19th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Ryan Braun because he is my Uncle’s, wife’s nephew. No blood relation but its pretty cool regardless.

  14. jedi March 19th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Jason Marquis because he grew up in my hometown of Staten Island South Shore Little League!

    Other than that, I keep tabs on players of filpino decent because of my heritage like Benny of past and Geno Espineli of the future. And the current players like Jason Bartlett and Tim Lincecum who have filipino blood in them.

  15. Vito March 19th, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Dave LaPoint from Glens Falls, NY back in the 80′s and early 90′s. He was left handed so he managed 10+ years in the bigs with just about every team. He was the hometown guy. Dave Palmer of the Expos and Randy St. Claire also pitchers from the area around the same time. These days Brendon Harris of the Twins is the guy from Queensbury, NY. My wife actually babysat for him a few times when he was 8 or 9 years old. My 10 year old ball playing son, along with many other kids around here, follows Harris religiously.

  16. ALB3 March 19th, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Rocco Baldelli

    He’s from my home town and he’s so talented – Red Sox or not, he’s a great guy and I wish him all the success in the world.

  17. mattseattleusa March 19th, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Gowing up in Norwalk, CT, I kept tabs on Mo Vaughn, a Norwalk Native. I often ran into Mo at Duchess, a local fast food joint in Norwalk. When I was in High School, Mo and Kevin Morton were both on the Red Sox and the Red Sox had a “Norwalk, CT Day” at Fenway. My family was good friends with the Mayor of Norwalk at the time, so I got to go. So, that day, I showed up with all my Yankees’ stuff on, even though the Sox were playing the Brewers. The Mayor forbid me to wear Yankees’ stuff, since I was going to be on the field with him presenting plaques to the players. So, I ended up changing into a Mo Vaughn shirt and a Boston Celtics’ cap! hahaha Later that month, I saw Mo at Duchess right after a Yankees game against the Sox. I had a “Boston Sux” shirt on; and he sees me and goes, ‘Thanks for not wearing that on Norwalk Day!’ And then proceeded to buy my friend and I food! Mo really is a great guy. Great idea for memories, Pete!

  18. Steppenwulfnyc March 19th, 2009 at 12:45 pm

    Jason Grilli and Matt Morris because I was in a fist fight involving those 2 guys at Seton Hall. Always route for ‘em

  19. sevrox March 19th, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    Brien Taylor – because he went to East Carteret High School in Beaufort, NC, and I went to West Carteret High School in Morehead City.

    Oh…wait a minute…

  20. Incognita March 19th, 2009 at 12:47 pm

    I became a fan accidentally. Flipping channels I saw a mischievous smile so exactly like that of my son, who died as a teenager, that I was transfixed looking at the screen. In fact I wondered if I was having some sort of psychotic moment. To find out whether that was the case I began watching his team. He was a new player, not famous yet. I made excuses to turn on games when family members were around to see if anyone else noticed, and a couple of other people were as startled and amazed as I had been. The player was then only a little older than my son had lived to be. His name was Derek Jeter. That’s how I learned about baseball, and the Yankees, and the strange world of fandom.

  21. vinny-b __NYY fan and WBC promoter__ March 19th, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Pete:

    well my best friend’s 1st cousin, is JD Drew. And they look like twins.

    I don’t root for him though

  22. Tim March 19th, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    John Lannan Nationals Pitcher – Went to my high school – Chaminade – on long Island. In his first MLB game he hit Chase Utley on the hand and then Ryan Howard on consecutive at bats, My philly fans in my fantasy league sent a text from saying “thank your alumni, your ruining the phillies season.”

    http://www.baseball-reference......jo01.shtml

  23. Elizabeth March 19th, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    I like to follow any long-time Rochester Red Wings, because that’s my home town. I was so excited to see Denard Span have success with Minnesota, Garrett Jones hit against us with the Pirates, and Darnell Mcdonald possibly making the majors this year.

  24. DC March 19th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Micah Owings, David DeJesus, and Shooter Hunt because I went to Rutgers and I am currently at Tulane.

  25. Bill March 19th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Tim Redding. He went to my school, Churchville-Chili.

  26. Michael Kei (Igawa) March 19th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Now THIS is blogging!

    Curtis Granderson
    Torii Hunter
    CC Sabathia

    African Americans I think can excel at their positions

    …for a couple of years I’ve been looking forward to seeing Austin Jackson, imagine a black CF being the face of the NY Yankees!

  27. Bernadette March 19th, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Humberto Sanchez from the Boogie Down Bronx. He grew up just blocks away from The Stadium and I have lived just a few miles north of there for over 20 years. I had him on the internet radio show that I co-host:

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/A.....-Their-Own

    What a nice young man! I hope he’ll get a chance to pitch in the new Stadium sometime this year.

  28. Brett March 19th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Jack Cust cause I played against him in high school

  29. mel March 19th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Incognita,

    Sorry to hear about your son, but that’s a fantastic story…

  30. Tom March 19th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    David DeJesus.

    Went to RU when he was there.

  31. Stormrider6 March 19th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    Jim Johnson, reliever for the O’s – he’s from the town across the river and struck me out in a little league all star game. I feel a little better knowing he’s made something of himself.

    Also, the singer for my band in college went to Apopka and played with Zack Grienke, so I keep up with him. Apparently, he’s a really weird guy.

  32. matt March 19th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    My guy has always been Ron Villone. We are both from New Jersey and Ron played for Team Italy in the 2006 WBC. When he was with the Yankees in 2006 we went to catch a game at Fenway. While the pitchers were long tossing in the outfield I said “How about a ball for a guy from Jersey Ronnie?” next thing he turned around and banked the ball of the green moster and into my hands. I know he isnt the most sexy name but its always good to see the local guy make good. It’s gonna be tough rooting for him now being that he’s cross-town.

  33. Tim Sherman March 19th, 2009 at 12:50 pm

    I grew up in a small western NY town called Hornell, NY and in the 50′s we hosted a low level Brooklyn Dodgers farm club, the Hornell Dodgers of the NY Penn league. So players such as Maury Wills, Tommy and Willie Davis and yes even Don Zimmer came through my hometown on their way to the bigs. The local paper always wrote stories about “Hornell’s Don Zimmer” and “Hornell’s Maury Wills”. Also, current Baltimore Orioles manager Dave Trembley served as the Junior Varsity baseball coach at the local High School during his brief tenure in Hornell as a teacher. So my hometown is a good baseball town with a long history. We currently are home to the Hornell Dodgers of the New York Collegiate Baseball league, a summer “wooden bat” league for college prospects, and among the current major leaguers who have played for the latest version of the Hornell Dodgers are Tim Hudson, Dallas Braden, 2003 (Oakland A’s),Josh Kinney, 1998 (St. Louis Cardinals),Rajai Davis, 2000 (Pittsburgh Pirates) among others.

  34. tampayank March 19th, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    have followed the Great Mariano Rivera religiously; my Mom is from Panama so that’s what drew me to following his nearly perfect career:)

  35. Michael Kei (Igawa) March 19th, 2009 at 12:52 pm

    >o’mel

    >”the anime character Brandon League”

    You just blew my mind!

  36. Jake March 19th, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    My wife’s friend is married to Matt Diaz of the Braves. He hangs out around town and has played some softball with some of my friends down here too, but I haven’t got to meet him yet.

  37. Derek March 19th, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    I follow Josh Hamilton because I played against him in High School. In a pre-season game he hit consecutive homeruns off of me on pitches nowhere near the strikezone, and also struck me out twice with six consecutive 97 mph fastballs.

  38. Chief March 19th, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    I used to follow Al Leiter very closely; he is from Bayville, NJ and I live 10 minutes from there. I have also played on the field/complex he sponsored money for numerous times.
    I also follow Todd Frazier, who is in the Reds organization. He was drafted #34 overall in ’07 and grew up in my hometown of Toms River; he was on the ’98 Little League World Series team and had outstanding careers at Toms River South High School and Rutgers.

  39. mel March 19th, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Michael Kei,

    lol. Somebody called him that on a game thread here on the blog.

    I forgot to add that by extension, I cheer for Japanese players as well. Yes, even the great Sunglassed One.

  40. Joeshi! March 19th, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    the great (im joking) Jack Cust grew up in my hometown so i follow him. mostly to laugh at how bad he is tho

  41. Doris from Rego Park March 19th, 2009 at 12:55 pm

    Mel Hall-

    He fathered our current housekeeper, Lydia.

  42. Peter Abraham March 19th, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    You guys have had some great responses. This is why I love baseball so much. It really is. We all identify with somebody.

  43. V March 19th, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Albert Pujols went to college 10 minutes from where I grew up ;-)

  44. Chief March 19th, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    I also follow Matt Albers, who plays for the O’s. He is the cousin of a teammate of mine.

  45. Patrick March 19th, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    “…for a couple of years I’ve been looking forward to seeing Austin Jackson, imagine a black CF being the face of the NY Yankees! ”

    Why does the race of our players matter in the slightest?

  46. Elizabeth March 19th, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    This is the best blog post here in ages. I love the conversation and lack of arguing.

  47. Frank March 19th, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    I’m a hugely insecure narcissist, so I ‘ve always followed Alex Rodriguez’s career with great interest.

  48. Mike March 19th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Rocco Baldelli and Chri Inanetta .

    Both from Rhode Island !

  49. BC March 19th, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    JOSH HAMILTON because his life story is incredible. His priorities (God first, family second, baseball third), his taking responsibilities of his choices, his dedication to his faith, his calling to share his message, his discipline, his courage to break the strongholds and addictions in his life, and his natural unbelievable baseball ability makes cheering for this guy a no-brainer. I admire Josh Hamilton and hope he continues to do well.

  50. Doris from Rego Park March 19th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Also- Ray Rice is from New Rochelle

  51. mel March 19th, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Frank,

    Haha’s. I was wondering why there was nothing on Al when he’s got Dominican and Miami ties.

    Do you do your Daily Affirmation, too?

  52. number 2 for prez March 19th, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    You may not have heard of him yet…..RAJAI DAVIS!!

    He is currently a outfielder for the Oakland A’s.Came up with the Pirates… Played next to Bonds in SF. Bonds said he is the fastest ball player hes ever seen! Rajai is from the town I grew up/live in….Willimantic, CT….He stole home in our towns little leauge championship to win the game about 15 years ago(I was the catcher and dropped the ball). I guess I have a pretty good excuse!

  53. Tom March 19th, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Casey Blake

  54. John March 19th, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Being from CT, always kept tabs on Jeff Bagwell, a Killingworth native who went to Xavier High. Mo Vaughn was another CT native, but he went to the darkside of the Red Sox, so there was no need to check in with him.
    Sadly, another son of CT is Carl Pavano himself. But I believe the state legislature passed a law trading the rights to Pavano to Delaware, so he is no longer our concern.

  55. ANSKY March 19th, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    You know … I’m a bit surprised nobody said (or admitted) they keep tabs on Alex Rodriguez. For better or for worse, way too many people keep tabs on EVERYTHING he does. Not only that, they keep tabs on everything he doesn’t do, too.

  56. mel March 19th, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    I’d like to follow Josh Hamilton when he gets to NY.

    I never understood the god before family thing, tho.

  57. Ant928 March 19th, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Well I didn’t “follow them” since they were long since retired but thanks to their time in NJ…and YES I bowled at the now defunct Astrobowl Lanes – Yogi and Scooter.

    I still remember one story…I was dating a girl years and years ago who worked in a Pharmacy in Montclair (not saying which one). So I went to pick her up from work and she was kind of shaking her head. I asked what was up and she said “Well this old guy came in and a bunch of people came up and he was giving autographs…but I didn’t know who he was.” So I asked “What’s his name?” She says “Something Bear”. So I boggled “Yogi Berra?!?!” She says “Yeah is he an actor or something?”

    Though this was not the only reason…we broke up not soon after. :)

  58. Doris from Rego Park March 19th, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    My beliefs (in order):
    1. Unit
    2. Core
    3. God
    4. Country

  59. ANSKY March 19th, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    Sorry … I read back and saw Frank was being honest about A-Rod.

  60. Patrick March 19th, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    ANSKY,

    We keep tabs on A-rod because he’s a Yankee. Fans of other teams don’t necessarily seek out information on him because it is always on the front page. For example, all football fans know what is going on with TO because everything he does is widely reported.

  61. Joel March 19th, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Clay Bellinger is from my hometown and went to my high school, and it was always fun to hear Tim McCarver or Jim Kaat pronounce “Oneonta” incorrectly. Clay’s at-bats usually gave an announcer just enough time to say it. ;-)

  62. Joba the Great March 19th, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    There are signs saying “Welcome to Cheshire. NOT the hometown of Carl Pavano”

  63. jennifer March 19th, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    Dave Gallagher cause he moved down the block from me when I was 10 years old.

    I keep tabs on Eric Duncan because he is a local NJ boy.

    Frank Catalanotto because he is from my Aunt/Uncles town.

  64. Clare March 19th, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Growing up, I was a big Lee Mazzili fan because his father tuned our piano. For a 4th grade assignment I wrote him a letter (the only fan letter I’ve ever written) and in return I received about 20 piictures of him.

  65. ANSKY March 19th, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Patrick – good point. Just because we’re bludgeoned with him by the media doesn’t necessarily mean all or any of us want to be.

  66. Josh March 19th, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    I’m a huge Yankee fan in Branson, Mo. I keep tabs on Ryan Howard because he attended a college in Springfield, just down the road.

    Also excited about the day when Josh Hamilton puts on pin stripes. New York already loves him for his awesome show this past summer.

  67. Patrick March 19th, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    By the way, if anyone wants to watch some NCAA bball but isn’t around a TV you can watch all the games for free on cbs’s website.

    http://mmod.ncaa.com/

  68. TD March 19th, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    The only 2 famous sportsman from my H.S…

    Dennis Leonard

    Jay Fiedler

    Not that I keep tabs anymore though!

  69. RER - 98 March 19th, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Josh Hamilton -

    Talked to him on several occasions and he is who he is. It would have been a shame to see such natural talent taken away by demons.
    He has no interest in being derailed again.

  70. Michelle B. (X is the new black) March 19th, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Mike Lowell, because i worked and went to school with him at FIU.

    I went to school with Arod for a yr in 6th grade. I’m a huge miami hurricane fan, so i grew up watching pat burrell, charles johnson, Mike Pagliarulo, Alex Fernandez, alex cora, the list goes on.

    If we are talking away from baseball then i’d have to say: raja bell, whom was my best friend in H.S. and we are still friends today.

  71. Thomo March 19th, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Willie Randolph- a fellow Tilden HS (Brooklyn, NY) graduate (although much younger than I am). Sid Gordon – who was Jewish – and a distant relative (underscoring how old I am!) – who played 3rd base and left field, mostly for the NY Giants and the only guy to pinch hit for Mel Ott (he got a single).

  72. PittsburghYankeeFan March 19th, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Pete

    The Rem Dawg! Allright!

  73. Stultus Magnus March 19th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Tim Redding. He comes from my hometown, Rochester, NY. He was with the Yanks briefly as some of you might remember. He made an emergency start at Fenway in ’05 or ’06 and didn’t last very long. BUT he struck out David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, I thought that was pretty cool. I hope he gets a chance to pitch with the Mets at some point.

  74. JGS March 19th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    though he is a key part of the Red Sox, I find it hard to dislike Dustin Pedroia. As a 5’6, 120 guy who loves playing competitive baseball, I have a soft spot for a man who everyone said was too small to play

  75. DM March 19th, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Eric Duncan and Rick Porcello.

    Both went to my high school. Both drafted out of high school.

  76. mastalox March 19th, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    A co-worker of mine is cousins with tex, so i’ve been following him for a while. I also follow Jay Sborz in the tigers farm system because we grew up together.

  77. Christina March 19th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    Brendan Harris because hes from Queensbury, followed John Flahrety because he played for a minor league team in Elmira where my family is from. John Tudor and Billy Conners were born in my area which is pretty cool since pretty much nobody really prominet lives here.

  78. Uncle Ellsworth March 19th, 2009 at 1:17 pm

    My neice has an affinity for Jeter because the were born in the same Hospital in Pequannok NJ – and all the other reasons.

    I would love to know what Andy Stankiewizc is doing now.

  79. stupidchildren March 19th, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Went to Foothill High with one mr. Phil Hughes. I was a senior when he was a freshman

  80. Michelle B. (X is the new black) March 19th, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    wow doris:

    Can you handle the truth?

    or is it because i eat breakfast 300 yards away from 4000 Cubans who are trained to kill me.

  81. Sean March 19th, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Vin Mazzaro, he;s a pitching prospect from the A’s. He went to high school together.

  82. RosePCFL March 19th, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    John Lackey because my brother-in-law’s niece married him last fall. So he is kind of family to my sister who went to the wedding.

  83. Cuz March 19th, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Joe Carter married my sisters best friend. We all went to the same college

  84. Michelle B. (X is the new black) March 19th, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Oh and i forgot to add — i have taught the ever popular Joe Morgan’s Twin Daughters as well as taped their ankles. But, im still not a fan. Although he did sign a baseball and a bat for me. Which was super cool!

  85. jdjr March 19th, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Incognita thanks…goose bumps!

  86. Barry Lane March 19th, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    I like Americans of whatever background or ethnicity, so long as they are good guys.

    I particularly like Derek.

    Barry

  87. Elizabeth March 19th, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Stultus–

    You’re a Rochester guy? Good deal. I had no idea Redding was from around here.

  88. GreenBeret7 March 19th, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Uncle Ellsworth
    March 19th, 2009 at 1:17 pm
    My neice has an affinity for Jeter because the were born in the same Hospital in Pequannok NJ – and all the other reasons.

    I would love to know what Andy Stankiewizc is doing now.

    ————————————————————

    Ellie, Andy Stankiewicz is now an assistant baseball coach at Arizona state.

  89. Chief March 19th, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    I’ve also followed the careers of 2 non-baseball players. Darian Barnes (FB in the NFL; played for the Jets in 07) went to the public high school down the street from me. Scott Palguta, who recently signed a pro contract with the Colorado Rapids of the MLS, attended my current school, MonDon, and coached basketball when I was a freshman. I’m still friends with him today.

  90. Patrick March 19th, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Oh yeah, I also pay attention to what Jason Knapp does. He was drafted in the second round by the Phillies last year. He went to the same high school as me.

  91. Keith March 19th, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    Incognita, thanks for sharing – a very touching story indeed.

  92. Jorge (México) March 19th, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Down here in Yucatán, México, baseball fans follow closely three players. Coincidentally, all of them pitchers.

    Oliver Pérez and Alfredo Aceves for the same reason. They pitched for my home team, Leones de Yucatán, in the AAA Mexican League. Although they’re not from this beautiful place, we’ve adopted them as yucatecans, because they lived here since they were teenagers, when they played for the Leones’ farm system.
    The third one is Dan Haren because his mother, Gladys, was born here in Yucatán, as you can read in this USA Today article:

    “For all his exploits this season, Haren might be more celebrated in Merida, in the Mexican state of Yucatan, than anywhere in his home country outside the Bay Area. Haren’s mother, the former Gladys Manzanilla, was born and raised in Merida, and newspapers there follow her son’s performances closely.

    ‘He’s a folk hero there,’ says his father, who has visited the town with his wife.”

    So, that’s why these three pitchers are yucatecans favorites.

  93. Patrick March 19th, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    I didn’t know that about Dan Haren. Pretty cool, I always liked him as a pitcher and I think he is really underrated.

  94. pat March 19th, 2009 at 1:34 pm

    John Flaherty. His wife grew up in the same neighborhood I did. I went to grade school with her older sister and after my mom told me they were engaged, I always followed how he was doing.

  95. Run Gardner Run March 19th, 2009 at 1:38 pm

    Lets go Butler

  96. Flavor Boy March 19th, 2009 at 1:39 pm

    Not that I need any more reason to love Jeter, but he was born less than a mile from my house – and technically he was born in Pompton Plains, which is part of Pequannock Twsp.

  97. SteveB March 19th, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    I used to follow Willie Wilson’s career (even though he was a KC Royal!)– he graduated from Summit High & played against me in high school. Later on it was Jeff Hammonds, who grew up in Scotch Plains, just like me. Nowadays I attend so many Thunder games– I follow every single ballplayer that has passed through there, which there are more of every year!

    That means I even follow Kevin Youkilis, who was incredible here for half the 2002 season. That doesn’t mean I root for him when he plays against the Yankees.

  98. Emmy d. March 19th, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    J.D. and Stephen Drew, and now Buster Posey, because they’re FSU boys. Papelbon and Brett Myers went to high schools around me. and Wade Boggs, because I’m related!

  99. JMo March 19th, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    I went to high school with Carl Pavano. Still don’t root for him…

  100. Uncle Ellsworth March 19th, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    Thanks GB
    My dad and I loved him – talk about Gritty and Gutty!

    Flavor Boy – I bet you know a lot of Murphys – seems they are all over the place out there – I’m a little further down the Newark Pompton Tpke (Rt 23) in Little Falls

  101. randy l. March 19th, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Billy Jo Robidoux

    http://www.baseball-reference......bi01.shtml

    i was playing for the summer Umass team in the late 70′s when my manager billy bedard benched me for a game at first base and replaced me with a 15 year old brother of our third baseman dave robidoux .

    i was not happy, but when he went 4-4, i understood the move. he was in the majors at age 21 with milwaukee .

  102. jay destro March 19th, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    i keep my eye on Jason Marquis. He graduated and got drafted the year before I graduated. (Tottenville HS, Staten Island) He went to camp with my best friend.

    He actually re-told a story about how much Marquis hated Transformers the movie (the original cartoon version).

  103. RonH March 19th, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    The Moose! Grew up in a small mid-Pennsylvania town only a stone’s throw from the home of Little League baseball, Williamsport. Also only about an hour and a half from where I grew up and still live in NE PA.

    Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays manager, grew up in Hazleton, PA about a half hour south of me.

    Lastly, I was always interested in Pete Gray, the one armed player Gray who made it to the majors in 1945 and played in 77 games for the St. Louis Browns. Gray, who lost his right arm as a child in a farm accident, grew up in Nanticoke, PA, about 15 minutes from where I live.

  104. Run Gardner Run March 19th, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Jason Motte went to my rival high school

  105. Ram On March 19th, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    Until recently I only ever rooted because of the laundry. I was young when Reggie was traded away. I was angry. He was my favorite and I attempted to root for him on the Angels, but it didn’t stick for long.

    As far as rooting for nationality, ethnicity or religion, I’d like to see Yu Darvish make it to the MLB (and especially the Yanks if he’s good) because he is half Iranian. I am half Iraqi and I just think it would be exciting to see someone with that kind of cultural heritage playing in the bigs.

  106. Warrior21 March 19th, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Jeffrey Hammonds. He went to my high school in Jersey (Scotch Plains-Fanwood). When he played for the Orioles, my family and I would always go see him when they played in New York. We would just scream SCOTCH PLAINS!! and he would come over and talk to us for 20 minutes. Such a great guy, and as a 15 year old kid, it was pretty cool.

    It was awesome to see him make the All-Star team in 2000 as a member of the Colorado Rockies. He’s retired now, but I always loved looking for his stats in the paper.

  107. curious March 19th, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    “Later on it was Jeff Hammonds, who grew up in Scotch Plains, just like me.”

    SPFHS? what year?

  108. Fidelio March 19th, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    Alfonso Soriano- I actually got into a fight with him when we were younger in DR, were from the same neighborhood.
    Humberto Sanchez-Because I he lived in my neighborhood here in the bronx, I saw him grow up.
    Dellin Betances-He is my wifes cousin, so we are rooting hard for him in this household.
    Melky/Cano-They hang out at Melodias, restaurant out in washington heights, very nice people, sign a few stuff for my son, and my son absolutly loves Cano, but he is a left handed CF lol.
    Vladimir Guerrero-I met him once and was impress at how frigging huge this guys arms were….lol
    Manny Ramirez-I have a brother who went to High School, with manny, and from what he told me, mannys brother was a better player than he was, but he screw up his future geting locked up, from the stories i heard.
    Pedro Martinez-Pedro put us dominicans on the map in my opinion, when pedro pitched every dominican in the world watch, it was almost religiously, and yeah i am a life long yankee fan.
    Jose Tabata-Because I heard him describe as manny jr, and I wanted our own manny here in the bronx, alas it was not to be.

  109. DT March 19th, 2009 at 1:49 pm

    I was anxiously awaiting a reply in this thread from GB –

    just to hear that story again about the one room school house and how he taught Cy Young everything he knew.

  110. curious March 19th, 2009 at 1:50 pm

    wow, SPFHS is representing here.

    3 people in the same thread?

  111. Blackaccord March 19th, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    joe crede… bcos his mom was my coworker in missouri.. Also Carl (uhhhhhmmmm) pavano as my ex-manager was friends with his family in CT…

  112. Patrick March 19th, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Lots of ticky tack fouls being called in the LSU-Butler game..

  113. Brian March 19th, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    don’t really have a good reason for this but I just love Joba Chamberlain and have followed his entire career very closely. he’s got a ton of talent, he’s passionate, and he seems like a really cool guy. he’s just so much fun to watch play ball.

  114. kd March 19th, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    bernie williams. i met him in 1992 in nyc when i was skipping school. he was at a Manhattan restaurant and was very gracious and signed autographs for my friend and i. he then told us to go to school.

    see… sometimes it pays to play hooky.

  115. John March 19th, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I follow (followed) these guys:

    Manny Ramirez- My buddy Paul bragged about this guy when we played travel baseball back in the day. Manny was the reason why he didn’t play on our team. He said Manny was better than anyone we can think of. Of course, we thought he was full of it!

    Frank Catalantto- Played against him in 1989 Long Island Public School Playoofs on LI. Smithtown East vs. Connetquot. We smoked ‘em and went onto winning NY State Public School championship. But he got revenge the next year when Smithtown East took the NY State title.

    Tony Graffanino- East Islip product. We played against him during the same time period. He was a good player and I knew a few guys that played on the same travel teams with him.

    Those 3 in particular because I obviously had some direct or indirect connection locally.

  116. randy l. March 19th, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    ‘I like to follow any long-time Rochester Red Wings, because that’s my home town. I was so excited to see Denard Span have success with Minnesota, Garrett Jones hit against us with the Pirates, and Darnell Mcdonald possibly making the majors this year.”

    elizabeth-

    you’ll be excited to know PBS is doing a reality series based on the2009 red wings that will be broadcast in winter 2010. stan cliburn is a good friend of mine and i know garret jones was a favorite of his.

    the red wings have an amazing success in sending player up who can help immediately .

  117. Mike in Harrisburg March 19th, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    I always followed the career of Steve Sparks with interest. Knuckleballers are a fascinating breed, and Sparks’ life was filled with totally random injuries – including separating his shoulder trying to tear a phonebook in half following a team session with a motivational speaker while with the Angels.

  118. MikeEff March 19th, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    Ryan Braun!

  119. Bronx Jeers March 19th, 2009 at 1:59 pm

    I used to follow this guy Mariano Rivera back in 95′ but he he seems to have fallen by the wayside.

  120. cano he didnt March 19th, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    always looked at bagwell being from ct. im pretty sure his mom work/ed at our police station. i think brad ausmus did something around here too, but i have a couple signed rookie cards from him so i alwys kept track of him.

  121. Nick in SF March 19th, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    My ex-gf went to SPFHS too. Not me, though.

  122. ALG March 19th, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    Being from Teaneck, the Bergen Record always made a special point of printing “Bergenfield native, Ron Villone.” I think Dave Winfield lived in Teaneck as well.

  123. Uncle Ellsworth March 19th, 2009 at 2:06 pm

    RonH
    My mom is from Mocanaqua. Her dad played semi pro ball out htere in the 20′s. John “Penner” Evan

  124. Tommy March 19th, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    I follow all the seton hall prep guys, mostly detroit tigers rhp rick porcello. Rick was in my graduating class at seton hall prep ’08 (or should I say I was in HIS graduating class)

  125. John March 19th, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Joe Nathan because he played at Stony Brook. Frank Catolonotto a little bit.

    In other sports:

    Giants backup OL Kevin Boothe (Cornell alum – was there while I was)

    Wally Szerbiack (sp?) – LI guy

  126. Laura - Just because I'm losing doesn't mean I'm lost! March 19th, 2009 at 2:09 pm

    Don Mattingly – I’ve never met him, but he was always my hero.

  127. Ziny March 19th, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I follow Mariano Rivera because he is from Panama and I’m from Panama. Its cool to watch someone from your country representing your country in something big.

    I started following David Wright since september last year. I met him during his BP at the Nats Park last september. Took a picture with him, he was really nice. So after the game I googled him and saw his stats and was very impressed. So, I have been watching Team USA play in the WBC here and there to see him play. So, yeah.

  128. letter10 March 19th, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    that is actually why my brother and i are Yankee fans! my dad was such a fan of Mantle and Mercer since they too were from Oklahoma that we just fell in line.

    as for now we all follow the oklahoma guys and route for them but we don’t really jump on board with their teams.

  129. jennifer March 19th, 2009 at 2:13 pm

    And from football Wayne Chrebet, he grew up the next town from me. Loved him, was so sad when he had to retire.

  130. Jason March 19th, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    David DeJesus — he went to high school the town next to mine, was a couple of years ahead of me in school. It’s nice to see the hometown kid doing well, even if he’s stuck on the GD Royals.

  131. SteveB March 19th, 2009 at 2:16 pm

    **SPFHS

    –I am a 1974 grad

  132. Hokiehill March 19th, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    One player I always check the stats for and like to see do well is Justin Verlander as he grew up close by and I have a few high school buddies who played/pitched against him and still claim they were better (heh).

    My connection with the Yankees (which is questioned constantly since I live in Richmond, VA) comes from George Steinbrenner himself…when I was in little league I played for the Yankees and my Dad was the coach. My Grandfather worked as a lawyer for the rail company CSX and had several direct dealings with Mr. Steinbrenner. During one of their meetings my Grandfather brought up the fact that I played for the Yankees in little league (my brother had as well) and that my Dad was the coach. After hearing that, Steinbrenner gave him two official Yankees warm up jackets and one official Yankees manager’s jacket. From that day forward I have absolutely loved the Yankees. I still break out the warm up jacket for special games but only at home as it doesn’t quite fit anymore and I’m sure I look ridiculous!

  133. Casey March 19th, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    John Lannan… Grew up in Long Beach with him and was a few years behind him in Chaminade… My dad coached him in little league when he was on my older brothers team…

    Also Jon Coutlangus– My cousin from Florida, now with the Diamondbacks

  134. DT March 19th, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    SPF High School is important.

    If you don’t graduate with a #16 or higher, you’ll end up looking like Arod in the Gammons interview.

  135. Fernando Alejandro (Respect Jeter's Gangster) March 19th, 2009 at 2:21 pm

    All Puerto Rican baseball players. Every now and again I’ll check all their stats just to see how they’re doing. I especially like Alex Rios.

  136. Matt March 19th, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    I always have followed Derek Jeter, Bernie William, and Jorge Posada. Every summer I went to the AC Yankees baseball camp, got to do some drills with these guys as a kid.

  137. Adam March 19th, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Jeter, Posada (as a 2nd baseman), Petitte, Mattingly and loads of others were in my home town of Oneonta for Single A ball, and used to do clinics for the kids in the city.

    Joel – I am also an OHS alumni, small world

  138. dave March 19th, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Being from Connecticut, I would root for guys from the nutmeg state, except mo vaughn and carl pavano. I also bcame more interested in guys either from my home town(charles nagy) and my Alma mater(Jeff bagwell). The CTPosts keep track of payers with ties to the state on sundays in their sports section, for the 4 major sports, and that makes it a lot easier.

  139. randy l. March 19th, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    “My ex-gf went to SPFHS too. Not me, though.”

    nick in sf-

    well, you didn’t expect them to let a 40 year old go to classes did you? :)

  140. saucY March 19th, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    always been a fan of bayonne joe borowski.

    jeff musselman, former toronto/mets reliever lived down the street from where i grew up. he works for scott boras now.

    the leiter brothers were from the next town north of us.

  141. Manimal March 19th, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Ugh, Tanyon Sturtze lived a town over.

  142. Believe in Wang March 19th, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Chien-Ming Wang!!

    I know it is cliche,but when we saw the national wide boardcasting Fox pointed out Taiwan in the map while 2006 playoffs the day Wang pitched, a lot of us were in tears because there is not so much chance people in western countries would know exactly where the Taiwan is .

    So Wang is not just about baseball for us,it’s about our patriotic religion :)

  143. Sean March 19th, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Eric Duncan- played against him in High School

  144. THU March 19th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    Both guys I followed are playing for the Yankees now. A-Rod, since he played in a tournament here called High School Baseball World Series, that had teams from all over the world come and play. He played in the first real baseball game I ever watched. I also like to follow Brett Tomko since he is from a city I lived in.

  145. derek March 19th, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    SOUTHINGTON, CT’s OWN…

    CARL “AIG” PAVANO

    (I believe Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, and President Obama have actually starting drafting legislation demanding a 95% of his contract be taxed)

  146. Nick in SF March 19th, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    Good one, randy. My own high school has produced no major leaguers (John McEnroe is a grad, though). I don’t know if anyone comes from my hometown of Manhattan either. ;)

    I did like it when Colter Bean was on the Yanks, he being a native of Anniston, Alabama, hometown of another ex-gf.

    I guess I kind of root for Cal Bears. Like the X-Man!

  147. Jeremy Darnell March 19th, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    Brett Gardner. I am a proud alumnus of the College of Knowledge. I also follow Cameron Maybin because I knew him as a high schooler. Great guy.

  148. Nick in SF March 19th, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Oh yeah, I forgot about Chien-ming Wang! Of course he’s a special favorite because I was once an English teacher in Taiwan and have a great affinity for the beautiful Isla Formosa. :)

  149. GreenBeret7 March 19th, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    saucY
    March 19th, 2009 at 2:23 pm
    always been a fan of bayonne joe borowski.

    jeff musselman, former toronto/mets reliever lived down the street from where i grew up. he works for scott boras now.

    the leiter brothers were from the next town north of us.

    ————————————————————

    Saucy, I would think that you’d be a fan of Chuck Wepner, aka “The Bayonne Bleeder”. Wepner was the inspiration for thr “Rocky” movies.

  150. Aaron March 19th, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Paul O’Neill and my family have had the strangest interactions through the years. As a yankees family in southern california we would always go to yankees at angels games. In one of those games my sister and I were looking to get autographs from the yankees. My sister dropped a ball into the visitors dugout and o’neill brought it back… signed it and gave it to her. Then when we moved to florida, we went to thanksgiving dinner at a club we had joined… the only other family was Paul O’Neill’s… he cut pumpkin pie for my sister and I. Years later, I went into a gym and saw a car with ohio plates with its lights on. When I walked in i saw who else but Paul working out and got to tell him he left his lights on.

    Always been my favorite player and the only active player I have ever met. I also got to meet david cone once and Michael Kay watched slumdog millionaire in the seat in front of me.

  151. Thomas March 19th, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    I went to high school with Colin Curtis… so I always hope he does well in the Yankees organization!

  152. DB March 19th, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    I’ve always liked Bobby Richardson. He’s a distant cousin of mine. He’s a very devout Christian (which I am not), but he always had his place and tons of respect in that partying clubhouse.

    I was already a fan of Derek Jeter, no surprise there, but I used to teach at a boarding school that gave out a lot of financial aid. I had a student that directly benefitted from the Turn 2 foundation, and he always felt that influence pushed him to exceed and be the best student he possibly could be, which allowed him to qualify for the aid necessary to pay for his education. In true Jeterian fashion, he was determined to be the best student in the class. Oh, and even though the teachers went by their first names, he always called me Mr.

  153. curious March 19th, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    “**SPFHS
    —I am a 1974 grad”

    thanks Steve. about 20 years before my time…

  154. curious March 19th, 2009 at 2:36 pm

    ” I also got to meet david cone once and Michael Kay watched slumdog millionaire in the seat in front of me.”

    wow. that’s a shame, you paid for a movie and you only got to see the top 1/3 of the screen.

  155. Tishbi March 19th, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Being a big guy, I follow all the hefty players, guys like Prince Fielder, David Ortiz, CC (now he’s a Yankee so it makes it easier), Bartolo Colon, Sidney Ponson, Jim Thome and Ryan Howard.

    Mo Vaughn and Cecil Fielder were favorites when they played.

  156. EY March 19th, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    I grew up in Taiwan so that automatically makes me a CMW fan. I echo the “Wang is my religion” sentiment like the rest of us good folks from Taiwan.

  157. GVR March 19th, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Being from Washington Heights, my family always kept tabs on Manny Ramirez. My dad now feels that it’s okay to root for him since he’s no longer with the Red Sox. We also followed A-Rod since he was young, his parents had a shoe store on the same block my dad lived on ages ago.
    I definitely plan to keep tabs on Pedro Alvarez now, he’s a local who just got drafted by the Pirates.

  158. Nick in SF March 19th, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    EY: what part of Taiwan? I lived in Chung-li and taught there and in Taoyuan, mostly.

  159. Joe March 19th, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    I’m from Taiwan so I root for Chien-Ming Wang. I also root for Japanese players (Even Kei Igawa) because my grandparents have many Japanese friends and I used to visit Japanese every summer before I moved to NY.

  160. JT March 19th, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    I keep close tabs on Rickie Weeks as well as his brother
    Jamile (who in the minors) beacause they are from my home town of Daytona Beach. I hope Rickie Weeks can pull it together because he has the ability to be an all star 2nd baseman.

  161. Garym(Yanks and More) March 19th, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Dan Pasqua because he went to william paterson college in the town i live Wayne,NJ and i later graduated from.

  162. saucY March 19th, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    GreenBeret7

    i never lived in bayonne, but my family did. my family used to see Wepner around town and my grandmother always brings up the time she saw him blow his nose at a restaurant… and how gross it was.

    borowski is a good friend of a cousin. got us tickets vs the yanks in cleveland in ’07 (18 of us on the saturday game). good guy and he has a ’98 ring.

  163. Mike March 19th, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    My beliefs (in order):
    1. Easter Bunny
    2. Santa Claus
    3. Family
    4. Country
    4. Jesus (Montero)

  164. Shant March 19th, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    Being Armenian and growing up in the 80′s, Steve Bedrosian was the man!

  165. randy l. March 19th, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    nick in sf-

    since you were such a good sport , i’ll volunteer that i started following livan right after teddy roosevelt sent us up san juan hill( that’s when i first met gb7).

    livan was on top of the hill throwing rocks down on us. gb7 was all mad because the height of the hill was giving livan an advantage that wouldn’t be seen again until the time of bob gibson.

    the obvious throwing skill livan had has made me a follower ever since. gb7 is still ticked off at livan who hit him on the head a few too many times( which explains a few things) and refuses to give him any credit to this day.

  166. panayioti March 19th, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Dustin Pedroia, Jeff Larish, Ian Kinsler, Lo Duca, Fernando Vina – pretty much any player that went to Arizona State.

    Also follow Brad Lidge and Scott Ellerton because they are from Colorado and my father had the privilede of umpiring at least one of their games while they were high school kids.

  167. GreenBeret7 March 19th, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    saucY
    March 19th, 2009 at 2:51 pm
    GreenBeret7

    i never lived in bayonne, but my family did. my family used to see Wepner around town and my grandmother always brings up the time she saw him blow his nose at a restaurant… and how gross it was.

    borowski is a good friend of a cousin. got us tickets vs the yanks in cleveland in ‘07 (18 of us on the saturday game). good guy and he has a ‘98 ring.

    ————————————————————

    Wepner was your basic club fighter. He could take a punch, though. He was knocked out by Sonny Liston and Ernie Terrell, but, he still had one title fight and went toe to toe with Ali for 15 rounds. He did land a solid shot to Ali’s chest and knocked him down. He was so excited that he told his manager, (Hey, I knocked ali down.” His manager said, “Yeah, but, look at him. All you did was piss him off.” After the fight, Wepner got his check for $100,000. He also ended up in the hospital with a broken nose and 120 stitches in his face.

    I just put this up when I saw the name Bayonne and made me think of Wepner.

  168. Stacey March 19th, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    TD- we go to the same HS.. or at least you went to the same HS as me.

    pretty cool.

    um, yea i dont keep tabs on any particular baseball guy, but i do enjoy the “hebrew hammer” himself, Ryan Braun

  169. Matt (In Toronto) March 19th, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    http://boston.redsox.mlb.com/t....._id=435459

    George Kottaras is from Scarborough, Ontario. I keep an eye for him. It’s too bad he’s in the Red Sox organization. lol

  170. panayioti March 19th, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Also keep an eye on umpires – Teddy Barrett – runs an umpiring clinic in Arizona every year. My father attends and always comes back with the obligatory story about some major league player who whines or does something funny. Of course, there are the great managers stories – all told from the umpire’s perspective.

    Interesting, though not surprising, Barry Bonds and Tim McCarver run a close tie to who is a bigger idiot. Very fascinating.

  171. MikeCHF March 19th, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Pat Burrell

    - The High School I attended always put on a summer baseball camp for kids ages 5-12. The summer after my senior year our coach got Pat, who was just drafted and playing with the Phillies AA affiliate the Redding Phillies, to talk to the kids. Not only was he great talking with the kids but he hung out / played ball with all the seniors afterwards. Definitely a memorable day of mine. I’ll forever be a Pat the Bat fan.

  172. rodg12 March 19th, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    Jeff Clement for me. Same age as me, played HS ball about 20 minutes from where I grew up.

  173. Johnny March 19th, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Redding, as I am from rochester, although it’s always been more of a running joke than rooting for him.

    Also, was a huge steve Balboni fan growing up. my grandfather loved the guy because he was italian, so he was pretty much the family favorite.

  174. Gus G. March 19th, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    I’ve followed Brendan Harris since he was called up from the Rays… he’s originally from Queensbury. I also keep an eye on John Lannon since he made his debut. He went to college at Siena here in Albany. And just for kicks, I followed Al Leiter ever since he got flown into Boston from Florida to shut down the Sox. I named my red-footed tortoise “Al Leiter” after that game. Now it’s just a running gag “Al Leiter sunned himself today and took a big dump.”

  175. Elle March 19th, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    Jose Molina. I love his family story–3 catchers, and he backed up his brother for years. I love that he’s not a particularly good hitter but he’s such a good defensive catcher that he’s still valuable. Plus he’s really sweet and funny in interviews.

  176. Jermaine D'Twan Monroe-Gibbons March 19th, 2009 at 3:16 pm

    I am Jewish.
    So, Ryan Braun.
    And Youkilis, if he wasn’t a Red Sock.

  177. JV March 19th, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    lowshun – I’m with you on Catalanotto being a Yankee, but for me it’s all about hearing Bob Shepherd announce his name…come on, everbody, let’s say it together: “now batting, the designated hitt-ah…Frank Ca-ta-la-notto.” Mr. Shepherd is the goods…

  178. Espresso March 19th, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Tyler Pelland, a kid I went to high school with is in the Reds system at AAA. I played against him little league as well. He was light years better than any other player on the field in high school. On days he didn’t pitch he was in right, I think, and he was hands down the best hitter on the team. Of course this was in really small town VT and the competition isn’t at the highest level. He’s a lefty reliever who was known to sit in the mid 90′s. I think everyone in state (certainly in the county) root for him to crack in to the ML level. The kid that Giambi displaced in Oakland was born in Vermont so I root for him too, though I don’t think he’s going to get tons of ABs this year.

  179. Rick in VA March 19th, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Billy Sample…Billy was a hotshot infielder who played high school ball with my brother beginning the year after I graduated (I regetted never having him as a teammate.) My brother, who played shortstop, told me he was special. The first game I saw them play together, they turned two double plays as good as you’ll see anywhere, and Billy was 3-3 with a walk, crushing three liners in the gaps and stealing two bases. I needed no more convincing.

    My brother and I followed his career until he got to the majors, and I was thrilled when he finally became a Yankee. He was one of the best ever from our town, but we remember him most as a great guy and a good teammate.

  180. Macster March 19th, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Probably will root for Geno Espinelli. Believed to be the first full-blooded Filipino to play in the Majors. Lefty reliever for the SF Giants.

  181. Alex K March 19th, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    A-Rod

    He held the door for my grandparents at an Olive Garden in Florida the year after he joined the Yankees, they had no idea who he was.

    Also Cano, because he came up the year I officially became a fan of the Yankees.

  182. DT March 19th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Celerino Sanchez.

    Not many remember the old Fan Appreciation Days at Yankee Stadium. (before the two year exile to Shea)

    The players would be stationed on the field behind a small desk – and each aisle would have a long line of fans awaiting the player. (They would give out these big Yankee posters you could get signed as well)

    Being a smart young lad I chose the shortest line. (there was a time limit too for the signings) I got the autograph of Sanchez and pitching coach Jim ‘the milkman” Turner.

    RIP Cele Sanchez.

  183. Rob C March 19th, 2009 at 3:26 pm

    Easy for me: David DeJesus. He went to my high school and played college ball at Rutgers. Plus, I think he’s a damn good ballplayer.

  184. SteveB March 19th, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Hey Pete, this was a great topic.

  185. matt March 19th, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Adam Ottavino, prospect for the cardinals. He was a HS teammate.

  186. matt March 19th, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Ottavino was the kid who shut down Venezuala for Italy in the WBC.

  187. Fran March 19th, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Years ago I followed the career of Mike Jorgensen who played for the Mets. That was because I was in Cardozo High School in Queens with his sister Joan. I had the opportunity to meet Mike many times.

  188. Alex K March 19th, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    This is not baseball, but I always root for Charlie Villaneuva on the Milwuakee Bucks, because he has alopecia areata [complete lack of hair on his face and head, including eyebrows, eyelashes.. etc]… as do I, in a much less advanced form.

    He’s also a very nice kid, always ready to meet kids that also have this disease, and a great basketball player, too!

  189. Billy March 19th, 2009 at 3:40 pm

    Met Rob Ducey at a camp at LeMoyne College while he was a player for the Syracuse Chiefs. Really nice guy and I admired him for bouncing around for 15+ years.

  190. Matt (In Toronto) March 19th, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Joey Votto is another one I keep an eye out for. He’s also from Toronto.

  191. Matt (In Toronto) March 19th, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    I also played against Shawn Hill’s high school team. Shawn Hill of the Nationals.

  192. DocBooch March 19th, 2009 at 3:50 pm

    My boyhood idol was Donnie Baseball.

    However, while I was in high school our school rival from Toms River had a phenom whom everyone thought was special, Al Lieter. I was disappointed when Billy Martin blew out his arm but, was very proud when Al turned it around and made a very nice career for himself.

    I still am a little proud watching him on the MLB network, the guy has such passion for the game

  193. YanksinCA March 19th, 2009 at 3:51 pm

    “My beliefs (in order):
    1. Unit
    2. Core
    3. God
    4. Country”

    Core…..do you do a lot of sit-ups?

  194. Ernie's love child March 19th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    Ernie Banks proposed some pretty obscene things to my mom while she heroically got an autographed baseball for me in the early 90′s. Slightly traumatic. I idolized Don Mattingly always…I think I had like 400 different baseball cards of his.

  195. Providence March 19th, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    When I was in 6th grade, I read an article in a baseball preview magazine which touted Aaron Sele as the “Next Big Thing.” As an aspiring Little League hurler, I decided to send him a letter. A few weeks later, I received a reply- with a card, answers to my questions, and a signature. For all 14 years of his big league career, every time I’d here or read the words “Aaron Sele” in a sportscast, newspaper, etc., I’d be transported -if only for a fleeting moment- to the more innocent days of my youth. He actually ended up having a decent career, too (69-35 between ’98 and ’01).

    One more: The first year I got the entire Topps set was 1985. For some reason, I thought Marvelle Wynne was the coolest looking player I had ever seen. I still remember the picture of him leading off first base, looking ready to take off (he actually stole 24 bases the previous year). A pretty mediocre player, but for the rest of his career I’d always keep my Marvell Wynne cards in a separate pile, and -believe it or not- when I’d be running the bases on the schoolyard, in my head I’d be hearing the announcer say “…and Marvell Wynne rounds first and heads for second!”

    Love these stories!

  196. Jo March 19th, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    I have been following Jeter since I was 10 years old. Much to my 10 year old delight, I discovered that him and I have the same birthday (June 26th). I’m going to be 24 this year and I still tell everyone I meet that Jeter and I share a birthday :)

  197. jboogz March 19th, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    Ron Villone, same county as me in Jersey and him and my uncle were friends growing up

  198. MichiganYankee March 19th, 2009 at 4:09 pm

    I have never heard any cheers for Jeter in Detroit, except from the sizeable Yankee contingent. In fact, up until a couple of years ago, they used to boo DJ in Comerica. It always bothered me that they would give such treatment to basically classy guy who had grown up in Michigan. In New York, we reserve our boos for the real jerks (and for our own guys when they let us down).

  199. Boston Dave March 19th, 2009 at 4:11 pm

    I’ll go with Tex cuz we have the same bday and also Mariano Rivera. I met him in Boston and although he didn’t say much, he allowed me to shake his hand and was very friendly.

    I also got to hang with Jason Varitek at his house last summer. I hate the guy on the Sox but he wasn’t a bad guy otherwise. I was tempted to give him a cheapshot to the face to avenge ARod but I chickened out.

  200. Patrick March 19th, 2009 at 4:22 pm

    Alex K,

    You probably already know this but Charlie Villanueva has a twitter account that he updates pretty regularly. He posted from the locker room during half-time against the Celtics the other day.

  201. Marc March 19th, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Mo Vaughn is from my home town. But he was always kind of a prick. Never had that sense of hometown pride.

    I’ll always have a special interest in former Yankees no matter what uniform they’re wearing. As long as they’re not penciled in against us I always want to see our alumni do well.

  202. Chris March 19th, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    Andy Van Slyke and Mark Lemke were “local boys,” my grandfather used to watch Lemke play Legion ball in Utica. (Thanks Grandpa, GRYS.) I used to keep an outside eye on the Pirates for years, and, now, I have a warm place in my heart for Detroit because of Andy. Ditto with Lemke, and the Braves, in general. Chipper is a local Central Floridian, so I can’t get away from the Braves.

    Also, Micah Owings, because every time his name is pronounced on TV, it comes out sounding like my brother’s name, and I look up, thinking that the police blotter is on ESPN, lol :)

  203. Clay Buchholz Loves Laptops - Latest Blog Entry: In Honor Of St. Patrick's Day March 19th, 2009 at 4:29 pm

    When Girardi played on the Yankees, I would run into him and sometimes his wife every day at the same deli (I think he was superstitious). It eventually got to the point where he wouls usually nod and say hello whenever he saw me. I always rooted for him anyway, but those interactions made me more of a fan.

    One other similar situation, although not about baseball. A few years back I served on jury duty with John Mara. The trial lasted about 5 weeks, so all the jurors became very friendly with one another. John in particular was a very nice man. I’m a big Jets fan, but ever since then I have a had a bit of a soft spot for the Giants.

  204. SF Yanks March 19th, 2009 at 4:33 pm

    I went to Barry Bonds’ high school and college.

    Also, Joe Dimaggio is my “distant” cousin. Whatever that means.

  205. The Mad Prince in Pinstripes March 19th, 2009 at 4:55 pm

    I grew up in Davis, California. Woodland California is 7 miles north. I watched Dustin Pedroia in high school and even played against him in middle school.

    I also watched CC Sabathia play hoops against Davis High and pitch against Woodland H.S. his senior year when he was throwing over 90 mph.

    So, CC and Pedroia are relatively local people for me who I enjoy following, even though Dustin is on the Sox.

    Imagine how doubley-stoked I was that CC actually chose NY.

  206. Commish March 19th, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Growing up, the Journal News always had an inch or 2 on the cover of Sports….”Weiss Watch” with how Rockland County native (Suffern) Walt Weiss had done the previous day.

    Non-baseball, also check in on Keith Bullock. Think he went to Clarkstown North…and I once played HS basketball against. And then when I went to Michigan, we (well, no me) played Syracuse twice and there he was playing linebacker. Now obviously with the Titans.

  207. We Miss Paulie March 19th, 2009 at 5:00 pm

    Pete, I grew up in Bronxville, right down the street from Concordia.

    That’s why I follow you.

  208. Wendy March 19th, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    Brian Bruney is my neices best friends nephew from a little town in Ohio. I think that is cool. I send them photos when he pitches at the Stadium.

    Pat Mahomes LHP was a reliever with the Rangers, Mets and Cubs. He went to my high school in Lindale Texas. But years after I did! He had my son and I to a double header at Shea some years back. He started one game and our seats were right behind home plate.

  209. yankee_diva March 19th, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Vito
    March 19th, 2009 at 12:44 pm
    Dave LaPoint from Glens Falls, NY back in the 80’s and early 90’s. He was left handed so he managed 10+ years in the bigs with just about every team. He was the hometown guy. Dave Palmer of the Expos and Randy St. Claire also pitchers from the area around the same time. These days Brendon Harris of the Twins is the guy from Queensbury, NY. My wife actually babysat for him a few times when he was 8 or 9 years old. My 10 year old ball playing son, along with many other kids around here, follows Harris religiously.

    Hey Vito!! I follow Brendon Harris also as he went to Queensbury school and I remember him in middle school where I work. I also follow Adam Terry of the Ravens. Now he was a big kid even in middle school. Now he is huge!! Both remember their roots and come back to the area and interact with the youth. Good role models…..both of them !!

  210. Chris G. March 19th, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    If memory serves me, Eric Duncan hit an absolute blast over my head in a Legion game when I was in high school. So I’ll always have a soft place in my heart for him.

    I also like to keep tabs on an Indians farm hand named Frank Herrmann. He was an All State stud pitcher at my high school when I was a freshman, and he was actually a mentor to my homeroom. He went to Harvard and got signed as an undrafted free agent and should be in AAA this year. I got to see him against Trenton last year and he absolutely dominated them. I’m rooting for him to be a workhorse starter for them in the future.

  211. Erik A. March 19th, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    My guy is whoever comes up from the minors. I started following Trenton and SWB last year, and I love to see guys like Cody Ransom and Brett Gardner getting big-league opportunities.

  212. el toro March 19th, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    mlb mexican players… including ted williams.

    my family immigrated from mexico to brooklyn when i was little and one of the first things we did was go to a yankees game. for an immigrant family this was REALLY an amazing thing.

    ever since my father and i followed have the yankees. but when valenzuela in 1993, then an oriole, pitched against abbott, i felt so torn i couldn’t watch the game. i was a little kid but i realized this is how it was going to be for the rest of my life.

    a few years later, i read a newspaper article that chronicled ted williams shared mexican heritage with garciaparra.

    now my father tells his dominican and puerto rican friends that ted williams was a mexicano whenever clemente and marichal come up.

    (oh yeah, i went to joe pepitone’s high school)

  213. Cliff March 19th, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    I follow Rich Aurilia and Ruddy Lugo fellow Xaverian High School grads from Brooklyn, NY. Ruddy was actually inducted into our Hall of Fame a few weeks back.

  214. Blair March 19th, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    I followed Sean Casey and Jim Price. Jim Price plays golf with my dad and my parents are very involved in Jack’s Place, the charity he and his wife run in Michigan. Mr. Price now announces for the Tigers. When the Tigers played at Yankee Stadium a few years ago, Mr. Price left me two courtesy tickets that were in an amazing location behind home plate. I sat next to this kind older man who only clapped when Sean Casey came up to the plate. It turned out it was Sean’s father. He was such a nice man that from that point on I always checked to see how Sean was doing.

  215. bruce b. March 19th, 2009 at 5:39 pm

    Pete,

    Great article by Sam Borden. As an “old fart” (almost 54), a Jew and a Queens native, Koufax comes to mind. Not only was he Jewish but he grew up in Brooklyn and went to Lafayette HS.

    Another native New Yorker (and Jew) who I followed when I was young was Ed Kranepool of the Mets. He actually broke many of Hank Greenberg’s records at Morris HS in the Bronx. He turned into a decent player but not the transcendant star they made him out to be. Obviously not in Koufax’s league.

    I am way too young to have ever seen Hank Greenberg play. However, he was a childhood friend of my Dad’s from the Southern Blvd / Bronx Park South area of the Bronx. And Dad introduced me to him at Forest Hills Tennis Stadium when the Open was still played there. Hank was a real gentleman and also a great tennis fan! Everyone in my family has a Hank Greenberg story.

    Incidentally, in 1938 he had 58 HRs with a week or more left to play. No one would pitch to him — they didn’t want a Jew to break the Babe’s single season HR record.

  216. mark March 19th, 2009 at 5:52 pm

    A few current minor leaguers are from my town so them, former càtcher Scott Bradley was my uncles best man when I was 10, and Jason Johnson because he is a type 1 diabetic who wears the same insulin pump that I do. I always pull for fellow diabetics!

    Cool post Pete

  217. Ryan March 19th, 2009 at 5:54 pm

    I was on a little league team with, and went to school with, Russ Adams (Blue Jays). Always kinda pulled for him when I heard he made it to the bigs.

    I also attend NC State baseball games, and watched Brackman pitch once. Remember thinking “I gotta get his autograph, he’s gonna be big one day.” I didn’t – but I was excited when the Yanks drafted him!

  218. Arenoso March 19th, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    as a Puertorican, I follow all of them closely, especially, Posada, Beltran, Delgado, Pudge, the Molina brothers and Giovany Soto.
    I also follow minor leaguer Giancarlo Alvarado (he pitched for PR in the WBC) because he is from my home town and i personally know him.

  219. Al March 19th, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    For me, I always liked Frank Thomas because he was my brother’s favorite player (and I always thought he has never gotten the all-time respect he should.)

    Also, Ryan Dempster because I saw him play for the Hudson Valley Renegades (along with others like Longoria, Josh Hamilton, Cantu, Podsendik.)

  220. Lacie March 19th, 2009 at 6:09 pm

    I’ve followed Alexi Casilla since he came up, not sure why though, just kind of did. And Alex Rios, as he is a friend of a good family friend. I also like to keep an eye on Asrubal Cabrera for that is the best name ever.

  221. Clay Buchholz Loves Laptops - Latest Blog Entry: In Honor Of St. Patrick's Day March 19th, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    We Miss Paulie,

    I lived in Bronxville for a while. Lange’s Deli had fantastic corn beef!!!

  222. Clay Buchholz Loves Laptops - Latest Blog Entry: In Honor Of St. Patrick's Day March 19th, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    Corned beef.

  223. Yankee Guy March 19th, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    I like Jack Cust because he went to the same high school as my brother (I think he was a senior when my brother was a freshman). He may not be the greatest player, but he opened a baseball academy around here and I see a ton of kids walking around in shirts from there.

  224. B Riley March 19th, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Right now its Brett Gardner….Like him I am about 5-10 175 centerfielder and I have no power so I have to rely on grit, determination, speed and defense…..I have played baseball since I was 7 and always was undersized, no power and I had to fight everyday to have a job and had to do that with solid D, stolen bases, slap hitting, fundamentals and mental toughness to try and be an asset to the team when everyone else was seeing my liabilities…..

  225. Steven Fischer March 19th, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    I follow Rick Porcello….only cause I graduated with him from Seton Hall prep in 2007

  226. Billy March 19th, 2009 at 6:52 pm

    I also got to know Pat Neshek pretty well when he pitched for the Rochester Red Wings. He’s a very acessible guy and his website is very cool.

  227. TT 15 March 19th, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    An oldie Gene Verble. Played for the Washington Senators a while.Lived in my hometown. He opened a convenience store called Gene,s Short Stop. I stopped in there now and then and would talk baseball with him. He was a big Yankee fan

  228. TT 15 March 19th, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Gene Verble played in 51 and 53 with the Senators

  229. Vince March 19th, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    I followed Joe Girardi for a long while, he was my catching “coach” at Northwestern for a couple years, and he always was a nice guy. And he was always passionate about baseball, even back then he was VERY intense.

    And I got to follow him when he became a Cub.

    Needless to say I was very happy when he became a Yankee in 95.

  230. TT 15 March 19th, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    Billy Goodman lived here also. Never pulled for him or met him. He played mostly with the Pink Sox

  231. Ross March 19th, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    Brendan Harris because he’s my aunt’s ex-husband’s second wife’s first cousin.

  232. Jeff March 19th, 2009 at 7:22 pm

    I’ve always followed the Yanks and the Buccos. I moved to Butler PA 15 years ago. I follow Matt Clement for no other reason (Khalil Green born here, too. Oddly enough, I don’t really follow him.) Clement makes his home here.

  233. Nick March 19th, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    I always liked Aaron Miles.

  234. Nate March 19th, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    Dan Johnson, because when I played Legion Ball we hit at the same cages. Real nice guy, but inevitably he’d always turn the conversation to how good he was. Might have been just a little HS insecurity.

    Jerry Koosman, because he’s from the same small town as my dad, grandpa, uncle, etc. I loved the Daily News article about him this past winter…

    Robinson Cano. As soon as he came up I loved how he played with a smile, which the ’05 Yankees needed badly (Wang’s pitching was also needed). Now his lack of Larry Bowa..err, hustle, kind of drives me crazy, but I’m loyal. Or stubborn.

  235. Nate March 19th, 2009 at 8:17 pm

    Oh, I’d also like to mention Dan Wilson and Chuck Knoblauch. As a kid I probably “personally met” two dozen major leaguer’s at various events, by happenstance, etc. But I can genuinely say that Wilson and Knobby were the kindest to me. Not only was Knobby kind, it was while I was bothering him and his then fiance (now ex-wife) at a Minnesota HS basketball game, a time he could have totally blown me off. True story, it was ’94 and I said to him “When your contract’s up you should sign with the Yankees” He laughed and elbowed his fiance and said “I’m not sure she’d like New York.” To which I responded, “Let Steinbrenner talk to her.” He laughed and put out his hand and said that wherever he was playing he’d hoped I’d be his teammate.

  236. Thurman March 19th, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    I grew up in Amish country, but there haven’t been any Amish baseball players in about a hundred years. As a kid in Lancaster, PA, I grew up cheering for Don Wert, Bruce Sutter (who I batted against in high school) and Tommy Herr. John Parrish of the Orioles made his debut about 6-7 years ago by striking out the side against the Yankees….he went to my high school but he wasn’t born until I was in my 20s….

    Of course, my ethnic Arab-American background had me rooting over the years for Joe Lahoud, Ron Hassey, Sammy Khalifa….and, of course, George Mitchell!

  237. We Miss Paulie March 19th, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Lange’s deli is great. But Zucarelli’s deli in Eastchester rules!

    Live in California now and it’s the first place I go when I’m home.

  238. Clay Buchholz Loves Laptops - Latest Blog Entry: In Honor Of St. Patrick's Day March 19th, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    We Miss Paulie,

    Of course, you can’t beat an Italian deli!

  239. wap05a March 19th, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    John Lackey, because he’s from my home town and generally has the reputation of a genuinely good guy.

    Retired Division: My father teaches with a guy that struck Chuck Knoblauch out in a minor league game.

  240. BA March 19th, 2009 at 9:56 pm

    On the Cust “bandwagon” here I guess. I’m local and have been to his batting facilities. Nice place he has there. I think most people around my area follow him just because he is the only person we can recognize from around here in MLB, not because they are actually “fans”.

  241. Flavor Boy March 19th, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Wow, I saw some Dan Pasqua love in here! As a William Paterson University Alumnus, I must admit that loving Dan Pasqua was a requirement for graduation. I think there was actually a question on the application like

    Who is the greatest Yankee of all time?
    a. Babe Ruth
    b. Lou Gehrig
    c. Joe DiMaggio
    D. Dan Pasqua

  242. BBB March 19th, 2009 at 11:47 pm

    Well, I guess mine is predictable, I am one of many Mark DeRosa fans from Bergen County, I hung out w/a lot of people from Carlstadt growing up, got my first tattoo at the Tattoo Shoppeee haha. I love the way he plays the game and he keeps it real w/the Meadowlands Diner when he comes back to Jersey. I wish he played for either local team.

    The greatest ballplayer ever from my immediate area was Larry Doby. My mom’s cousin graduated a few yrs behind him at Eastside High. I always follow anything to do with him, so I’ve liked CC since he was on the Indians & was a big Doby fan, and asked MLB if he could wear his number on the 60 year anniversary of Doby becoming the first black player in the AL.

    And i know someone who knows Gio Gonzalez, so I follow him too. Also a big Ian Kinsler fan.

  243. Garym(Yanks and More) March 19th, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    Yeah thats right go Willy P, Harvard on the hill. You got to be a real yankee fan to pull out a guy like Dan Pasqua. Email me at Gmarchesej@aol.com to tell me what yr you graduated and all of that thanks.

  244. Garym(Yanks and More) March 19th, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    I forgot to mention Shawn Chacon before because he was born on the exact day and yr I was Dec 23, 1977

  245. BBB March 20th, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Garym – Thank you for that, I just realized I forgot to mention Carlos Zambrano who was born on the exact day and year *I* was, June 1, 1981. Plus he beat Michael Barrett’s $*&…on our mutual birthday, no less!

  246. VT Yankeefan March 20th, 2009 at 12:44 am

    We don’t get many pro athletes from Vermont (outside of hockey). As a result I always root for the prematurely bald guys. Hey, I can definitely identify.

  247. Leche Cabrera vs. Gritty Gutty Grit Gritner March 20th, 2009 at 1:11 am

    All dominican players. (my family is Dominican)

    Ronnie Belliard (Born in the Bronx like me and got to hang out with him in the DR. Really cocky that dude.)

    Bobby Bonilla (we went to the same High School) and also follow

    Humberto Sanchez because we grew up close to each other.

  248. Tra March 20th, 2009 at 1:15 am

    I follow Zach McAllister because I go to school with one of his teammates from high school. I was so excited when I first found out; I hope he makes it to the bigs and soon!

  249. Marcus March 20th, 2009 at 1:31 am

    I went to elementary school through High School with Scott Leius, who also went to Concordia College. He hit the game winning homer for the Twins in the ’91 World Series. I played Little League against hima and was on the same HS football team. Matt Dillon, the actor also went to the same schools in Mamaroneck, NY

  250. rodg12 March 20th, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Garym -
    Thanks for reminding me of the birthday thing. I follow Zach Greinke closely now after going to a Royals/Yanks game two years ago that he started and finding out we were born on the exact same day….10/21/83.

  251. Stultus Magnus March 20th, 2009 at 11:18 am

    Elizabeth,
    Yes, I am a Rochester guy, but don’t live there anymore. When I do go back, I love to go to see the Red Wings at Frontier Field. Anyway, I believe Tim Redding pitched for MCC at one point. I didn’t even know they had a baseball team…

  252. Peri March 20th, 2009 at 12:25 pm

    Jeff Francoeur. When I got into college in 2005, I joined a fraternity, and some of the older brothers had played baseball with him. Pretty cool example of a guy who literally grew up in the town and worked his way up to the big-league all right at home.

  253. Peri March 20th, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Oh, and one of the older brothers claim to fame is he made out with frenchy’s now wife, Katie, before they dated. no word on if it was a french kiss.

  254. BordersNYC March 20th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Meet Ron Darling at Bordes Wall St. (100 Broadway; 212.964.1988) on Tuesday, April 14 at Noon! He will be signing copies of his new book, “The Complete Game: Thoughts on Pitching.” We hope to see you there.

  255. G.R. March 20th, 2009 at 12:56 pm

    Love it! What great stories. I started watching baseball in 1981 and became a Dodgers fan when I watched Ron Cey get hit in the head and then come back to play in the series. Instant Cey fan! Then we couldn’t get any regular season games in Wisconsin so I quit watching.

    In 1986 my friend (and Pastor) introduced us to the Yankees. He had played baseball with Dave Winfield at U of Min and that began my Yankee fandom! My first favorite player was Willie Randolph. I really liked Joe Girardi when he caught for us and then followed his career when he left and am thrilled that he is our manager!

  256. G.R. March 20th, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Also, “religiously speaking”, I love Josh Hamilton’s story. As an ordained minister and associate pastor, I pay attention to players from any team that really live their faith out!

  257. Niko March 20th, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    I’m rooting hard for Brett Gardner. Went to spring training last year with my dad and Brett was really awesome and nice. Had about an hour long conversation and laughs with the guy.

  258. DM March 20th, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Seton Hall Prep is represented on here. Not surprising with alumns such as Eric Duncan and Porcello. I graduated in ’06.

    I also follow Ron Villone a little because his uncle was my middle school gym teacher and soccer coach. I happened to have a rookie card of him that my gym teacher passed along to be signed.

  259. Nebraska Yankee Fan March 20th, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Chamberlain – Went to my Alma Mater – University of Nebraska at Kearney.

    Cano – short version of long story – traveled to spring training in 08 – wrecked rental car w/0 rental insurance (not my fault) – had good seats but another fan was leaving early and gave us seats 5 rows behind Yankee dugout – Cano threw a ball to my 4 year old daughter.

    Paul O’Neil – has family in my hometown

    Dave Winfield – I was at the game in Toronto where he hit a seagull.

  260. Kbee March 20th, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Like others, I follow Rocco Baldelli because he’s from RI. But I also keep tabs on Paul Konerko. My dad went to high school with his dad.

    Also, I like the fact that Phil Hughes has family in the Ocean State, so I’m always rooting for him.

  261. Duffy March 20th, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    Hey Jedi,

    I grew up in Staten Island too played little league at snug harbor and played against Jason Marquis at tottenville. So I too follow Jason Marquis, hope he hits his stride with the Rockies.

  262. Duffy March 20th, 2009 at 11:40 pm

    I also try to keep tabs on Andy Phillips because I attend a game when he was playing for the Staten Island Yankees and he hit 3 hrs and had 14 rbi. It was great to see him succeed for a little while as the Yanks utility player, sad to see him go.

  263. J.O. March 21st, 2009 at 9:08 am

    Jason Marquis and Frank Menechino, Marquis is from Staten Island, and Menechino went to my high school. Players who made it big who I grew up watching on the Staten Island Yankees like Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Phillips, Robinson Cano, and a few others. I am also very interested in Dellin Betances.

  264. joe scherrman March 21st, 2009 at 1:22 pm

    Watch for the movie about what happens to the ballplayers that came back from the dead to play the game they loved in Field of Dreams. YouTube trailer:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....annel_page

  265. BigBen March 23rd, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    This is a great topic!

    I actually went to elementary school with Shelley Duncan for two years. I just remember he was a really bad kid LOL Seriously!!

  266. Joe July 31st, 2009 at 9:39 pm

    Living in Charleston, I get to see many players from the Riverdogs that have made it big. I saw Phil Hughes pitch, remember Josh Hamilton before he took all the drugs, and saw B.J. Upton and Delmon Young hit several home runs for the Riverdogs.

    Brett Gardner is close to me, as my youth group leader tutored him at the College of Charleston, and my brother hosted a party, and he attended it. One of my brother’s friends lives 6 houses away from him.

    I also follow Chris McGuinness, who is a prospect for the Red Sox, and went to my high school right before me. Our local media is obssessed with Matt Wieters, as he graduated from a school 20 minutes away from me, and Justin Smoak graduated from that school, alos.

  267. starlacarla October 21st, 2010 at 11:25 am

    Rick Porcello. He went to the all boys’ high school which was the brother school of my all girls’ high school!

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