Hey baseball fans!
Recently, I put up a blog about Fred Lynn and his All Star Game grand slam. Here’s a video of the grand slam for those of you who were too young to watch it live on TV. Fred was a great ballplayer on the field and is also very generous off the field, helping in the community, Little League Baseball and children’s causes. Because of all that he has done, I think he deserves to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. And if you want to learn more about what Fred is up to, check out his web site. Anyway, he read my blog and he agreed to do aninterview with me. Here’s what he had to say:
Matt: How did it feel to be the first player to win the MVP and Rookie of the Year (ROY) awards in the same year (see picture)?
Fred: I really didn’t think too much about it as there really wasn’t much press coverage in those days. I was more impressed with the feat after my playing days were over. I am proud to be the first person to have accomplished this feat.
Matt: Now that Ichiro Suzuki is also a member of the MVP/ROY in the same year club, are you guys buddies? If Mike Trout joins the club, is there a special handshake you guys will do?
Fred: I have never met Ichiro so we are not buddies. I have not met Trout either, but I love the secrethandshake thing.
Matt: When you were drafted by the Yankees, how come you didn’t sign with them?
Fred: I was going to USC to play football and baseball for them and it was going to take a lot of money to make me change my mind. No one in my family had gone to college so that was important to my father and me. The Yankees didn’t offer what I wanted so I went to college and had a great time while I was there.
Matt: Why didn’t you try to go to the NFL after USC?
Fred: I played football my first year at USC and then committed full time to baseball. It was obvious to many that my future was going to be in baseball and not the NFL.
Matt: Are you in touch with any of your former teammates like Jim Rice, Carl Yastrzemski, Carlton Fisk or Rod Carew?
Fred: I see Jim Rice all of the time when I go back to Boston. The rest of the guys I see on occasion, but it’s usually at a golf tournament or a function of MLB.
Matt: I read that you are the main chef in your house. What’s your signature dish?
Fred: I am a cook, but not a chef. Like most guys, I’m pretty good on the grill, but my wife, Natalie, likes a pastadish that I make with garlic shrimp and broccoli florets. It’s pretty tasty.
Matt: On June 18, 1975, you had one of the greatest single game performances ever. Can you please tell me a little about it?
Fred: I had a 20-game hitting streak stopped the night before and went to the park early the next day for some extra batting practice. Its seemed to work pretty good as I hit two homers and a triple in my first three at bats. I lined out to second the next time and got an infield single the next trip and then homered again in my last at bat. We squeaked out a victory by 15-1. I drove in 10 runs and that was the most ever by a rookie at that time.
Matt: Since this is a baseball history blog, if you could have used a time machine when you played, which pitcher in history would you have liked to have faced? And which team would you have liked to have been on?
Fred: I would have been a Giant and would have wanted to face Sandy Koufax. He was the best lefty I ever saw and I would have loved to have battled him with the pennant on the line.
Matt: You are very involved with kids, charity and little league. How should MLB address the issue of teaching kids today about baseball history? Also, what would you advise kids today interested in becoming pro baseball players?
Fred: Kids have to want to learn about baseball history. You can only teach them if they want to learn and today’s kids learn either by watching on TV or DVD. ESPN has a Classic Channel that plays games of yesteryear. This is a very easy way to see how it was done in the “old” days. There are a lot of DVD’s out there as well that tell the stories of how it used to be. I would advise kids to play the game for fun when you are young. It’s fun to aspire to be a big leaguer but the odds are against it. So have fun in school, get your education and, if your talent dictates, you can pursue your dream.
Matt: I read that when you won the MVP and they misspelled your first name, you didn’t send it back to be fixed. How come?
Fred: I have an unusual name spelling. It is Fredric with no extra “e” or “k”. It felt more unique this way and I was afraid that they might lose the darn thing.
Matt: Who was the scariest pitcher you ever faced?
Fred: I was never afraid of anyone, but had serious respect for Steve Carlton and Randy Johnson. It was pretty tough to hang in there against their breaking pitches when their fastballs are whizzing by you at nearly 100mph.
Matt: Because you played for the Red Sox and Angels, who did you root for in the 2009 ALDS between the two of them?
Fred: I root for the team that wins!
Thanks again to Fred for being such a great sport and for agreeing to answer all of my questions!! And if Fred needs some secret handshake suggestions, I am happy to help him.
And if there are any current or retired professional baseball players out there who want me to interview them, please shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.