Tragic. But, McNair is just one of many professional athletes negatively in the news these days. Tired of hearing about all the lousy things many professional athletes are doing?
How about a positive story about athletes? Read on.
Tanner Eardley, 12-year-old son of the Hideout Director of Golf Terry Eardley, likes to play golf among other things. And Tanner is a pretty good golfer, too, regularly shooting in the 40s.
His frequent playing partner the last couple of weeks has been Lou Frazier. Frazier is a son-in-law of Russ and Doris Black of Monticello.
Now, in and of itself, Tanner and Lou playing golf is nothing unusual except for a couple of things.
Lou Frazier is a former major league baseball player, who broke into the major leagues in 1993 after seven years in the minor leagues. Frazier most likely got to the majors on account of his fleet feet, leading the minor leagues in stolen bases three times, according to the official site of the Pittsburgh Pirates (more on Pittsburgh later).
He stole 465 bases in the minor leagues and added 58 more in the big leagues, including two in his first major league start while playing for the Montreal Expos. Stints with the Texas Rangers and the Chicago White Sox also came during his five seasons in the major leagues and 14 year professional baseball career.
After his playing career, Frazier took up coaching, working in the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, and Pittsburgh Pirate organizations. His most recent coaching stint with the Pirates was as first base coach and base running instructor, which he did until September of 2008.
Currently, Frazier is on the mend from shoulder surgery and is not coaching this year, although he hopes to coach in the Arizona Cardinals organization next year. Frazier is a bonafide major leaguer, the likes of which we seldom if ever see around these parts.
During the daily golf with Tanner and his dad, Frazier offered lots of encouragement, praise, and suggestions for Tanner to improve his golf. He was much impressed with Tanner’s 40 he shot on the back nine at the Hideout.
When he learned of Tanner’s baseball team that has two state championships under its belt and lots of tournament games to its credit, you know, the one coached by RT Nielson, Frazier offered to give some pointers to the boys at one of their practices.
Last Monday, Frazier spent four hours – four hours! – with the boys, teaching base running techniques (“He taught us to lean and then pivot and start running, rather than just pivoting and running,” says team member Easton Nielson), playing in the outfield and general baseball knowledge.
A highlight for many of the boys was Frazier letting them heft his two colossal World Series Championship rings he sports from his coaching years with the Boston Red Sox. He attended the boys’ game the next day, offering timely suggestions and encouragement.
After returning to Arizona last week, he promised to return soon, which he did on Monday, meeting once again with RTs boys.
So why spend so much time with kids he barely knows? Says Frazier, who grew up in St. Louis and played college ball at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona (more on that later too), “All along my way to the majors, people always took the time to teach me the things I needed to know to become a major league ball player. They taught me the little things I needed to do to make it as a ball player. I feel I need to give back. If I can teach these kids some of the things I’ve learned, maybe it can help them reach their goals someday.”
So, he gives back, much like all those who do the coaching in our small town sports and activities for our children, helping them learn the benefits of fitness, unity, teamwork, and comradery. Thanks, Lou, and thanks to all you parents and coaches who give so much of your time to our kids and grandkids, too.
Back to Scottsdale Community College where Frazier, who with wife Dawn are now parents of four children, played college ball. SCC is notoriously famous for their mascot, the Artichokes, and the occasional atypical color of their uniforms, pink.
When Frazier entered college at SCC, coming from the big city of St. Louis, he had no idea what an artichoke was, and was too embarrassed to ask anyone.
He was a little concerned about the pink uniforms, but imagine his surprise when he found out later an artichoke wasn’t a nobly ferocious and courageous animal, but an edible plant eaten with the hands.