Baseball, Football, Flint discussed on Radio Free Flint
Free Flint and I have a great show for a change or are shows are pretty good with this one is going to be exceptional. We have Jeffrey matches WHO's of Flint. Area Up Thomas and he has a great story to tell so without any further. Ado Jeffrey. Welcome thank you for having me. Jeff You You were a flint native and attended Freeman School McKinley southwestern and had quite a quite a career during that time in sports went us. Why don't we start there? And then I'll explain to the fan. The fans out there a little bit about that so I grew up on Dearborn street off a Atherton road. was a great place to grow up. Great neighborhood. Good kids past took care of us. it was the golden age of flat Schools were outstanding We had access to all the sports fields. And the gyms and We played ball from sunup until sundown and It was just set great time to grow up in Flint. Now Jump You Were a played several sports in high school. And I remember going back that far in the class of nineteen seventy one that you played Not Just Baseball. But you also played basketball. I couldn't remember who was football as well. Football too and your position in football wide receiver. Okay and Tell us a little bit about your sports career in high school so as sophomore. I didn't go off for football my junior high coach Coach Williams Told me I was probably should stick with basketball baseball. Said I was too fragile and get her plan football so I listened to him and I didn't go out. Slugged Waza Sophomore played. Jv basketball until Christmas. Time and then Herb mcdaniel. I got called up to the Varsity and we ended up both starting on the bar. City and Urbach same is going to be inducted into the Greater Flint African America Hall of fame this year. It got postponed because of a virus but he was a great player We weren't very good as As a team as Sophomores Juniors by the time we got to be seniors We won the Saginaw Valley Division and we made it to the regional finals got beat by Clinton are Great Flint. Northern Team Tom McGill Wayman Britt and Berry Menefee. We lost five games at your three of them were to northern and one of them was to Piney. Central Time May with campy. Russell so pretty good competition. Northern team go on to win. They win the State Championship that year. They did Actually they played this contact central twice in the regular season and on accent. Oh beaten both times The one at the I. M. A. was packed obviously and buynaksk central beaten by thirty three and They didn't meet in the State Tournament They both made it to the semifinals and Lizzie hairston Joe Johnson webs Detroit. Catering be panic. Central in the Semis Flint. Northern be somebody else that landlord that'd be carrying in files of course can't be. Russell agreed campy Russell. When onto play at the University of Michigan I think he played professional probably played ten years in the NBA. A good career. Well your basketball career was a lot of fun I could see I could see the competition was certainly flint style. Because you you played against some of the best and with the best Herbert Danone's of course was a terrific one. Better Flint basketball players in in our history. Jeff you also played baseball. And that's really where you do reached Some pretty high levels of for a high school kid of. Why don't you tell us you were as I understand it? You were drafted in the sixth round by the Detroit Tigers. Which may you the hundred and thirty four th pick In the amateur draft in nineteen seventy one? How did that happen? Well actually When I was a junior Bill Joy was a scout for the Tigers. Bb He went on to become general manager eventually He came to fly into Scout Mark Crane and Mike Taku at Flint Central and the game. He came to just handed. They happen to be planned. Southwestern I was planned for South Western and bill joy took a liking to me and He followed me. Obviously the rest of that year and my senior year and He was the main reason. I got drafted and so You know I spent a fair amount of time in In the winter watching the Toronto Blue Jays training down in Dunedin Florida and I listened to the code listened to the scouts talking. And there's been several times when we do that. Then I got in the middle of the debates about whether it was best for a high school or go to college or pursue professional baseball Tell us a little bit about your thinking there. Well Hindsight's always twenty twenty. If I had to do all over again I probably would have gone to University of Michigan or to Kent State University and Played Baseball and football I was recruited As a wide receiver to go UBER SO Michigan To play football for ball and I ended up signing with tiger so I never I never made it to them to play in the big house Probably not a good decision but it you know when you're eighteen years old. That's a tough tough thing to decide him. You're not sure which way to go sure. And that year in the major league draft you had some classmates who were also Draft by the Detroit Tigers and. Learn to tell us a little bit about that. So the number one pick that year was Tommy Verizon From Long Island New York? Great Guy Great Athlete Tommy probably ended up plan almost ten years maybe in the big leagues When I was When I signed with the Tigers when I got to Bristol Virginia the Rookie League Jim Leyland was our manager. That was Quite quite a team A bunch of eighteen year olds away from home for the first time. And that was Jim. Leyland's first you're managing so it was It was pretty interesting. Leland of course became the manager of Detroit Tigers and and also use the manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. I remember and I think didn't Leland Win Well World Series Championship with a Florida team. Was it a floor above? I WANNA say Marlon Ninety nineteen ninety seven. Maybe you're go ahead. I'm sorry I might have the wrong. He Wanna off is Leeland in the hall of fame. I don't think he's very yet but you would think with the amount of Wins it. He accumulated over the years. You probably think he might get in at some point now. Jeff what was it like playing for a guy like Leland? He's a guy that he's kind of players coaches. I understand it. He was quite a character. He was only twenty six years old and he was trying to Babysit a bunch of eighteen year. Old Kids so it was It was quite a time I've got Some few few stories But probably can't tell all over my camera I remember one incident where we were. We stopped at a truck. Stop to eat and when we got back on the bus Bus driver started pulling away and the The police came and blocked the bus. And of course you know the manager sits in the front row on the right there and it was an leland gets off the bus and talking to the policemen and about ten minutes later here comes Leland policemen and they walk back through the lesson. They They Gabe. Mo- Horton who I believe is related. Willie Horton. I don't know if it was their cousins or mos nephew or whatever but turns out Mo- forgot to pay for his meal and that didn't go over too well and They ended up taking the MO off the bus. And we never saw Moore again I'm not sure it seemed kind of a stiff penalty for just hot lunch and up but you know what happened. What was it like to play? You ended up playing in Lakeland I played gives me. I played twice in Lakeland. Played in seventy two for the first half of the year and then in seventy five I played that seventy five team had lance parrish on it Mark the bird. Federal Judge Proper. Leaving off a couple of other guys but it's been richly. He was a great guy..