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Texas A&M Baseball

Knoblauch: I think my three years at A&M were the best years of my life

April 23, 2020
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Key notes from Chuck Knoblauch interview

  • I’m good at staying home, so quarantine life hasn’t been much of a change for me. It’s been a weird change. Hopefully, this is something we don’t have to experience ever again in our lifetime. It’s a weird deal, that’s for sure. I’ve been doing a lot of swimming in the pool.
     
  • There are no sports at all on TV, and if there is, you already know the outcome on some rerun. I can’t imagine having to try and prepare for a season and then have to go through this. These guys can hardly play catch at this point. I saw online that Alex Bregman and Lance McCullers played catch in the street in front of their houses.
     
  • My dad was tough on me. When I got in high school, and he was my head coach, he told me not to step out of line even an inch. He told me to listen, stay disciplined, and get after it. I did. I guess I was destined to be great because I made it, but you never know. There are only so many spots in the big leagues, so I feel very blessed to have played 12 years in the big leagues.
     
  • I was young when I wanted to play baseball all of the time, maybe five or six years old. The older you get, you start separating yourself from other players. I was good at it, and I had success at it. That gave me more drive to be the best I could be. I broke my leg during my senior year, and that was devastating. I overcame that and played centerfield as a freshman at A&M because Ever Magallanes came back for his senior season.
     
  • I was going to go pro out of high school. My dad decided against that, I think. Coach Johnson wanted me to come up to A&M that fall. My dad told me to go up there. Once I took one class, I was ineligible for the draft. I guess they tricked me, but it worked out. I think my three years at A&M were the best years of my life.
     
  • A&M was a place that fit me. Butch Ghutzman was in my ear, and Coach Johnson was in my ear. They visited me after I broke my leg. It felt like a good fit. That year in 1987, when we - Byington, Taylor, and myself - showed up, I think it shifted college baseball in the state from being just about Texas to including Texas A&M. That year really shifted things over into our favor. I think we won 44 games that year and made it to the regionals and got beat at Mississippi State by that Oklahoma State that had Robin Ventura. I think they had to beat us twice and did. In my sophomore year, we were even better. We went back to Mississippi State and lost to Cal State Fullerton. That 1989 team was something else. We hosted and ran into Big Ben and that great LSU team. It was tough on us that we never made it to the World Series.
     
  • There are a lot of memories from my time at A&M. One that comes to mind is actually losing to LSU that last day. Walking off the field and clapping to the fans who had supported us for all three years. We let them down, but they were there until the end, like Aggies do, to cheer us on. That might be a bad or sad memory, but that’s what stands out. Those three years at A&M mean so much to me. Those teams and the comradery we had was special.
     
  • The College World Series was - and still is - such a big deal. To get there is the pinnacle. We were a few outs from making it to Omaha, so it was devastating not to get there. The starting nine all got drafted and signed. It hurt. Right or wrong, you always remember the losses more than the wins.
     
  • I was hiding in the tunnel when Byington hit those home runs. I was peaking out of the door. The only way you can recognize me in the mob at home plate is by my maroon shirt instead of the jersey. The reason I got kicked out was because, on a possible double play, we got the guy at second, and, on the throw to first, the ball ended up in the dugout. The guy who should’ve been out ended up standing on third. I was adamant that he was out, which he absolutely was. I guess it got lost in the confusion. Anyways, I was telling the umpire, “He’s out, he’s out, he’s out.” I got told if I said one more thing, I’d be kicked out. I said whatever I said and got run. So yeah, it was a weird and exciting day for me. He was out, and I got kicked out for no reason.
     
  • When I got moved to second base in the minors, it was hard on me. I thought that meant I couldn’t play short, but now I see that it was just trying to get me to the big leagues faster. I went to spring training in 1991 ready to go. I had a great spring and with two weeks to go, they told me I was going to the big leagues. Tom Kelly actually asked me, “Do you have a suit jacket, son?” And I said, “I can get one.”
     
  • I didn’t realize when I got called up that the 1991 Twins were a World Series caliber team. I was just happy to be in the big leagues. I remember winning a game in Kansas City to make us 23-25 before going home for a 13-game homestand. We won every single game on that homestand to catapult us into first. We had some pretty incredible winning streaks that season. We never looked back. It really seemed like we won the division by a wide margin.
     
  • Playing in the World Series, that moment got real when we ran on the field for the first inning of Game One, and the fans were going nuts like it was the bottom of the 9th. It was loud in the Metrodome. It was just incredible.
     
  • During the introductions before Game One, I had my batting glove on, and I had “Gig ’Em” written on there. It was a special moment for me just to pay tribute to A&M, an amazing university that gave me an incredible three years. It meant a lot to me and the Aggies that saw it.
     
  • In that 1991 World Series, Jack Morris was key. Jack wouldn’t let Tom Kelly take him out. He told Tom that he had more left than anybody in the bullpen. Tom pushed his glasses up and didn’t say a word before he walked back. That was Game Seven. Just incredible.
     
  • When I got traded, I couldn’t believe it. I got traded in February right before spring training got started. It was amazing. I remember taking ground balls with the Yankees, and there is a guy raking my spike marks as I’m taking ground balls. It was incredible. Goose Gossage, Whitey Ford, Yogi Berra, all kinds of legends were there at spring training. It was just amazing to play at the old Yankee Stadium, which is the only Yankee Stadium that I consider to be real. You could walk in there and feel goosebumps. I still remember that we should’ve won that last game against the Diamondbacks in 2001.
     
  • There were a lot of weird things that happened at Yankee Stadium. In the perfect game that David Wells threw, I made the 23rd out on a backhand play up the middle. In David Cone’s perfect game, I made the exact same play for the 23rd out. The same play, the same out in both perfect games.
     
  • My three-run home run in the first game of the World Series in 1998 was probably my best one because it was a game-changer. It tied the game. We scored more runs in that inning on Tino Martinez’s grand slam. I was just hoping for them to take out Kevin Brown, and they did. Poor Donne Walls. There was not a more uncomfortable at-bat than Kevin Brown.
     
  • I believed Derek Jeter could get a hit whenever he wanted to. He had the ultimate confidence in his abilities. You could not have written a better script than his last hit in Yankee Stadium, a typical Jeter hit. Great person. Great family. There is not much bad to say about Derek Jeter.
     
  • When 9/11 happened, I had a perfect shot of it. Lower Manhatten had a building code where they couldn’t have too many high buildings. I could see it, and it was just sickening. I called Yankee Stadium to see if we were playing, and of course, we were off for however long. Some guys actually went home. I think Roger Clemens got in his car and drove from New York back to Texas. Our first game back was on the road against the White Sox. Nobody ever cheered for us on the road unless it was Yankee fans. Everybody in that ballpark cheered for us. It was incredible.
     
  • When President Bush was there for the first pitch, I was hitting with Jeter in the cage while he was warming up. Jeter goes, “You better not throw it in the dirt. You better throw a strike.” He clutched up and threw a strike. That was impressive for the President of the United States to get on the mound and throw a strike.
     
  • I’m trying to get more involved in A&M baseball and A&M in general. I was going to this year, but the coronavirus ruined that. I just met Coach Childress last year at the 30th anniversary of that 1989 team. We had a lot of guys show up. It was a great time. I was looking forward to following them this year. It was disappointing not to be able to do that, but I’ll be back to following them again next year.
     
  • The last time I went to a game at Olsen Field was when Tyler Naquin was playing centerfield. I think it was actually a tournament game. Naquin was on a little league team that my brother was coaching. He was maybe seven, and I saw him swing once and knew he was going to get to the big leagues.
     
  • I’ll be back in Aggieland. I come back for football games at least once a year. Alan Cannon takes care of me for stuff like that. I’ll be back. You can call me, and I’ll interview with you anytime you want.
     
  • It was a great moment for us Aggies to have the Astros come up to College Station for a game. I remember being in the big leagues and having to do stuff like that, and it was no fun giving up an off day. I earned more appreciation for what they did later. Nolan Ryan didn’t pitch that day, but he was there. I faced him in the big leagues and remember the first pitch he threw me - in spring training - whizzing by my face. I ended up getting three hits off of him that day: a single, a double and a triple. The reporters asked him about me, and he said, “He is pretty good. He’s from Texas, so of course, he’s good.” He is a true ambassador to the game and was a fantastic Astro and Ranger.
Discussion from...

Knoblauch: I think my three years at A&M were the best years of my life

4,404 Views | 7 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by sodycracker
Gabe Bock
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Really appreciate Dalton, Rich and the crew doing the in-depth notes, as always! But this is one that you definitely want to watch/hear if you have time to click the play button at the top. Really enjoyed this! So did Chuck...he and I have text continuously since the segment ended. He appreciates you guys for the kind words...I've sent him a ton of them.
Memphis 7
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Coach Ghutzman!

When I was 11, Coach Ghutzman took me to the tu/A&M football game. I wore my burnt orange jacket.

By the 2nd quarter I was standing on that jacket and fully embracing Aggieland; I had concluded it was just more fun to be an Aggie.

Glad to see coach get a nod here, he's a great ambassador for A&M and a great Aggie.

Gabe, I would get a hold of Butch Ghutzman and have him on the show. He's got a full personality and could probably provide some great stories about Aggie Baseball in the 70's. (Maybe late 60's)
TAMU74
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Great interview with a great Ag..
W
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welcome back Chuck!
FAT SEXY
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MMantle
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Played with Ghutz in 1968, yep, definitely one of a kind, he'd be great, Gabe, definitely no dead air, I'm telling you, the Butcher can talk.

RR
sodycracker
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Gabe Bock said:

Really appreciate Dalton, Rich and the crew doing the in-depth notes, as always! But this is one that you definitely want to watch/hear if you have time to click the play button at the top. Really enjoyed this! So did Chuck...he and I have text continuously since the segment ended. He appreciates you guys for the kind words...I've sent him a ton of them.


Gabe, you hit it out of the park! What a great interview with an Aggie legend
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