• Jul

    HHP: Lew Ford Stories

    by Bolton Bob

    Most folks know that Lew Ford, turns 36 in August, played in Japan and Mexico and with the independent Long Island Ducks and he joined the Triple-A Norfolk Tides in May, hitting .331 with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs in 62 games for the Tides. Lew often fixes teammates computers and has a reputation of being a strong defensive outfielder, always giving 100%, but his former teammates have a few memories of his early days.

    He missed a team flight once, by confusing the arrival time with the departure and mistook Portland, Maine for Portland, Oregon for a minor league assignment. He ran the wrong way in the clubhouse after putting his shoes on to pinch run in a Minnesota game and missed his chance. Another time, in spikes, when called upon to pinch hit, he crashed to the floor and slid into the Twins back bat room in front of manager Ron Gardenshire, who said. "I had to stay back there with him because I was laughing too hard to manage the game."

    He swears he did not try to iron his shirt with it on! "I had the iron up, and I can't remember if it fell on me or I brushed up against it, but I got a huge iron branded on my stomach," Ford says. "I didn't iron with my shirt on though. But when I got in, they were like, 'What happened? You were ironing with your shirt on?' "

    "He might be a Rhodes Scholar, but he says something every day where you shake your head," Twins retired first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz once said about the O?s latest leftfielder. "We always said he's a good hitter but that he's going to be a great hitter,....because his brain is never going to get in the way at the plate."

    Ford went to Texas A & M on an academic scholarship, after scoring 750 on the math SAT, 1400 overall. Didn't make the baseball team as a walk-on, and eventually transferred to junior college in Texas. He has a degree in electrical engineering and computer science, finishing up @ Dallas Baptist University, He is listed as a notable alum, along with 10 more ML'ers, including Jason LaRue, Ben Zobrist, and Freddy Sanchez. He didn't think he'd play professional ball, but Boston drafted him and paid for his senior year of school, along with a $1000 bonus.

    Doug Recio, Ford's Port Neches-Groves high school coach says, "He was a great kid to coach and he worked hard, but he just drove me crazy with some of the things he did." Recio happened to bump into Aggie pitching coach Jim Lawler at a clinic in Waco. "It was really funny," Recio said. "Lawler grabbed me and took me behind a curtain. He said "we have one of your players and he"s a little strange." I don"t think they knew what to do with him."

    According to one story, he showed up for a baseball tryout with no socks and pulled up baseball pants, wearing a Hawaiian shirt and smoking a cigar. Somebody told him they were calling him to hit. He grabbed a bat, stepped up and hit 7 of his 15 pitches over the fence. "That's Lew, Recio reminisced. "With him you never know!"

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