I met Chris during ST wearing number 60, entering a lot of games with guys wearing numbers 80-95 (without names on back.) Dickerson (born April 10, 1982…Reagn and Thatcher were world leaders, inflation was down from 11% to 6%, gas was $1.20 a gallon, unemployment was 7.6%, Fed budget was $745 billion, deficit just went to 1 trillion, etc)... is starting tonight in right against the BoSox, after signing a minor league deal this offseason. He has also played for the Reds who drafted him, Brewers, and New York Yankees, who also drafted him out of HS. Born in Hollywood Ca, he played college baseball for the Nevada Wolf Pack University of Nevada, Reno, 2001-2003. He made his major league debut with the Reds on Aug. 12, 2008. He hit his first career home run on Aug. 15, 2008, against the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2009, after Griffey and Dunn left the Reds he started in the outfield.
He really wanted to sign w/New York out of HS, but parents nixed that. He said, "My mom's side of the family is from NY, my grandfather was a NYPD detective for 30 years. My mom was born in Brooklyn and my grandfather took me to my first Yankee game when I was 6, and went every summer I came to visit. They lived in Queens, and no, we never bothered to go see the Mets."
On Spring Training and Buck: "True player's manager - Dead serious, intense, a wealth of baseball knowledge. Plus, he's willing to think outside the box and is quite the comedian at times from what I can tell which is great during spring training."
On his non-profit Players for the Planet and his first Reds call-up, "A day like that is so vivid and ingrained in your memory, that it's hard not to remember exactly how your heart felt when your manager comes and tells you that you're headed to the big leagues. It was an ordinary day for me, we had just finished batting practice and I was doing my usual routine that year which was reviewing environmental articles and putting together a business plan/mission statement for Players for the Planet, so I would always be on my laptop and eating my pre-game meal. The manager, Rick Sweet came into the lounge and yelled at me to "get the hell off your ******* computer (straight faced)....(smirk) Pack your stuff! Congrats! You're going to the big leagues" (cue the applause.)
On his first game: "Naturally you go and tell every one of your family members and friends, make a mad dash home and pack. Next thing you know, I'm headed to Pittsburgh that night and starting in left field in the leadoff spot. My first AB I was so nervous, my back foot and leg were shaking uncontrollably. Luckily I walked and stole second, went to third on the over throw and scored on a Brandon Phillips home run. 2 at bats later, I doubled for my first MLB hit. Welcome to the big leagues!"
On his baseball idol, Ken Griffey, Jr. - "Definitely the single most influential athlete for me… Probably in any sport. There was no one athlete in any sport that I tried to mimic and replicate more and I used to go out in the backyard and try to rob home runs over the fence like him, throw like him, run like him, and developed the type of kamikaze outfield play that I have now. I tried to hit like him but that ended up never catching on. My parents knew this and was the only reason exception to staying up late is to finish watching one of his games or if they went into extra innings on the east coast. Then, getting the chance to be in the same big league camp with Griffey was surreal and it took me almost 2 years to get enough courage to talk to him."
"I did a home run contest for SoCal High School Skills Competition and flipped my hat backwards just like he did in Home run Derbys. After awhile, it was hard to escape because we both have the same build and body type. I played center, hit and threw left handed so opposing teams would wear me out about being a 'Wanna-be Griffey', even though I hit nothing like him. He's the greatest in my book and I don't think there will ever be a player to have such an impact on an entire generation of players.
Formula for success: “Believing in your abilities and giving a FULL commitment to each task is very important. One of my biggest things in the off season is to make visits to my High School baseball team and make sure they know the importance of putting forth their best effort, both in the classroom and on the field."
Chris made the ML minimum ($400,000 'ish) the past 4 years, before signing the MiL contract, unlike some of the guys I write about. Hope he's the DH/Outfield answer we've been looking for!
From various sources and conversations.
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