The year was 1983. I was all of nine years old and playing in a fairly sophisticated under-10 baseball league. We had tryouts and everything, it was a day and age when an eight or nine year old could try out and not get selected for a team. Parents didn’t file a grievance against the league for damaging their child’s ego or accusing the league of elitist behavior. They just understood that their little Charlie wasn’t good enough and baseball may not be his calling.
The Division or age group was called the “Willie Mays” division. I was anything but Willie Mays. The first and only time I played in the outfield was a disaster. My coaches put me in left field as this is where the least amount of action is seen at this age. When you have mostly right handed hitting nine year olds trying to hit fast pitch, it is rare that anybody gets out in front of a ball to pull it, hence everything goes to right field.
It was probably about three innings into the game and one of the opposing hitters managed to swing a little early and lined a shot at yours truly (there is a chance it was a can of corn but to make myself feel better over the years it has become a line shot). I locked in on it, said my best prayer, and just as ball was about to meet glove, I closed my eyes. What happened next was an absolute disaster involving blood and tears and a black eye.
From then on I stuck with pitching and shortstop with a little first base sprinkled in. The funny thing, I loved line drives and pop ups as an infielder, it was something about the distance from the outfield to home plate that got me that day.
The other day I started thinking, maybe the outfield position didn’t suit my personality? Then I read an article here on ESPN.com about Derek Jeter playing center field if and when the day came to make a switch. I then tried to picture him playing center field, and while it wasn’t a stretch, I did have some trouble envisioning it. His personality seems to fit the shortstop position.
My question to the readers…..
If you were a major leaguer, no matter how much of a stretch that is, what position would suit you and why? Also, what position is the furthest from your dream spot on the field? This can be based on skill, as some of us still seem to play the game to one degree or another (Raker and Seymour), or base it on personality as this is all just for fun.