When It Clicked: Mets OF Gary Sheffield
Gary Sheffield's big league career started early and ugly. The nephew of the legendary Dwight Gooden, he was only 19 years old when he broke in with the Milwaukee Brewers in September 1988 and only 23 when the Brewers, fed up with his disruptive behavior and injuries of suspect origin, traded him to San Diego. Now 40 -- and having amassed both a Hall-of-Fame-caliber career (including 507 homers and 1,658 RBI) and a handful of ties to baseball's steroids scandal -- he remains a productive hitter for the New York Mets.
"It was when I got traded from Milwaukee to San Diego, and I got to be teammates with [then-Padres first baseman] Fred McGriff. He was someone I had known my whole life, from growing up in Tampa, and being there really settled me down as a player, as far as being in the big leagues and being real young.
"I was able to just go out and focus on baseball, because [the Padres] handled everything else for me -- interview requests, off-the-field things. They took responsibility for it all and just let me play baseball.
"McGriff helped me see things in a different way. It wasn't that I was headstrong, but he had his way of seeing things and I had my way. There were high expectations on me when I was young, just because of who my uncle was. And I had to deal with that. Just being able to focus on baseball, that's what I do best. And once I was able to do that ..."
Posted by: hclark1 | June 20, 2009 12:17 PM | Report abuse
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