Top 100 Baseball Blog

Friday, June 3, 2011

Bob Sheldon: For the Love of the Game


Bob Sheldon played professional baseball from 1972 until 1977 as a second baseman. He played with the Milwaukee Brewers 1974-75, and 1977. He hit .256 over 94 Major League games with 17 RBI. In the minor leagues Sheldon hit .291, including .320 in four seasons at AAA.

Bob Sheldon answered some questions I had about his playing career. Enjoy!

What first got you started playing baseball?: I first got started playing baseball because it was FUN! I played all sports when I was growing up in Southern California with the great year round weather. I was a three sport star in high school, with many college scholarship offers in two sports. I felt I was a
better football player in high school than baseball. I didn't think about playing professional baseball until my junior year in high school when the scouts started coming to my games. I will say this, the best decision I ever made was not to sign with the Dodgers who drafted me my senior year in high school, and go to college for four years. In those four years at Loyola Univ. of LA I matured physically, but more importantly mentally to handle the rigors of professional baseball.

You played for Bob Lemon while at Sacramento. What was he like as a manager and leader?: Yes, I did play for Bob Lemon in Sacramento. A good "man", as were all my managers in the minors and majors. But not one could ever compare to the coaches I played for in high school and especially my college coach, Marv Wood! I don't say that lightly, I truly mean and believe that statement. I was managed by great "ex-players" during my professional career, but being a great player doesn't make you a great coach or manager. I wasn't taught a single skill during my professional career, I was on my own! I was blessed in high school, and especially in college, with coaches that taught me the skills I needed
to succeed, both on and off the field. Professional baseball is a business, run by the owners and front office. A manager is dealt the cards of which players he will manage, he then only makes the chess moves on the field, that's it.

You mentioned that Frank Howard was your favorite manager/coach... why was that?: Frank Howard was a LARGE man, with an equally large personality. Frank had a connection with his players, I felt he truly cared about his players. He had great stories he would tell us about his playing days. Not a good manager, but a good guy. Frank was my favorite manager, Alex Grammas was the worst! The media had him billed as a "great" baseball mind just because he coached under Sparky Anderson. I can tell you playing for that man was plain horrible! A true puppet of the front office. Because of several incidents that occurred involving the team and other players, I had no respect for this man.

Could you tell me a little more about your first Major League hit,a triple against Bert Blyleven?: Don't remember much about my first hit in the major leagues. Those first few at bats are a blur to me. Scared to death! What the hell am I doing here? Doubt enters your mind. Do I belong here? After those first few at bats, and getting my feet wet, there wasn't a pitcher I felt I couldn't hit. Bert Blyleven WAS the toughest pitcher I did face. My teammate George Scott said it best about Bert Blyleven, his stuff was so good he could embarrass you, so as a hitter when you faced Bert you would always bring your "A" game to the plate.

What was your favorite ballpark to play at and why?: Tiger Stadium. Standing at home plate and seeing where Reggie Jackson hit that shot off the light tower is unbelievable!!! Also Fenway was a thrill.

What brought about the end of your playing career?: I ended my career on my terms. I was a good player, but I wasn't blessed with the "can't miss" talent of a Robin Yount, I had to work hard at the game. But every time I was given the opportunity to play, I performed. I hit .287 in 1975 and at year’s end was starting at second base, but Del Crandall was fired at season’s end, and Alex Grammas was hired the following year. That's when my career basically ended. At Spring Training that next year it was like I didn't exist, other players were in disbelief how I was put aside after how I had performed in 1975. I asked to be traded, but the club refused. I was their insurance policy. They could keep me in AAA and knew they could call me up whenever there was an injury and they needed a player they knew could perform at the major league level. I had many friends "hanging on" in AAA, some in their 30"s.  I decided at 27 I didn't want to "hang on", and decided to move on in my life. I have no regrets, I got as far as my talent would take me. I was good enough to get to the big leagues, but wasn't good enough to stay. Would my career have been different if Del wasn't fired? We'll never know.

2 comments:

  1. I really like this site. The interviews are terrific.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice to see this! I remember Bob Sheldon from my childhood watching the Brewers and had his 1976 baseball card.

    ReplyDelete