Friday, April 25, 2008

Jamie Quirk - Former Kansas City Royal of the Week

This is another entry in the "Former Kansas City Royal of the Week".

Growing up, I loved Jamie Quirk. I played baseball most every summer... the problem was that I rarely played. I was a bench warmer. I think a couple of things prevented me from playing:

  • I could not hit the baseball
  • I could not catch the baseball
  • I never really wanted to hit or catch the baseball
  • I stepped and threw with the same foot, an unorthodox ed technique that never caught-on professionally (despite my lobbying)
  • I would often close my eyes when trying to catch a pop-fly
  • if someone yelled, "HEY BATTA, BATTA, BATTA" while I was at the plate, I would often leave the batting box and say, "what?!!! ...what do you want?!!!"
  • I had a Cabbage Patch Kid
  • I wore my stirrups on my arms
Where as most kids growing up in the '80s in Kansas City, Kansas, wanted to be George Brett. Not me... I wanted to be Jamie Quirk. At the time (1985-ish), Jamie Quirk was a third string catcher for the Kansas City Royals. He was a bench warmer, like me.

My childhood best friend, Kirk Duckers, & I began worshiping the unsung heroes of professional baseball: the bench warmers.

Kirk & I would bring the baseball cards of these unknown players to the dugout and make little shrines to them while the other kids were in the field. We stopped short of lighting candles in the cinder-block dugouts.

Since Kirk & I never played, we brought a checkers board to the game. We once brought binoculars to the game. We were sitting on the bench, looking at our friends in the outfield through binoculars, saying things like "he looks HUGE through these things". We would try to follow the ball leaving the pitcher's hand to the catcher's mitt through binoculars. Our coach yelled at us once because the guys in the field were laughing at our antics on the bench.

We were bored out of our minds.

I imagine Jamie Quirk never brought binoculars to a game when he was sitting behind Jim Sundberg and John Wathan. Nor did he play checkers with Greg Pryor.

Jamie Quirk turned out OK. With 43 home runs, Quirk has hit the most roundtrippers in Major League history by any player whose surname begins with the letter "Q." Cool, eh? Currently, he is a pitching coach for the Colorado Rockies.

Jamie Quirk was my baseball-player-hero in the 1980s. My favorite player of all time: Mel Bunch (this paragraph is for Erik Schullstrom).

A Toast (yes, I am drinking at work)! To Jamie Quirk! The Ben-Bartley-Former-Kansas-City-Royal of the Week!


Chairman of the Beer Drinking Convention said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben said...

Sweet. Next time I am in Tucson, I say we bust out the old baseball cards.