It was yesterday’s feel-good story. Atascadero High School Graduate Scott McClain was called up to “The Show” from Fresno and he didn’t disappoint. Since I couldn’t find any mention of it this morning in San Luis Obispo’s Telegram Tribune (looking for the local perspective) I though I would provide those of you in Atascadero some of the details. Here’s what I’ve stolen from other people’s blogs:
After 19 professional seasons- 13 years in the minors and 4 in Japan (where he hit a total of 362 hr’s) – in his 7,301st professional at-bat, Scott McClain finally went deep in a major league game. The 36-year-old rookie powered a hanging 2-2 slider deep into the left-field seats in the sixth inning off Colorado Rockies right-hander Steven Register. And McClain had a pair of run-scoring singles, including a two-out hit that opened the scoring in the first inning. He also made a diving stop at third base and threw across the diamond from his knees to stem a rally in the fourth.
McClain started at third base and had two RBI singles against Cook before he went deep. The happiest sight for McClain was left fielder Matt Holliday swiveling toward the bleachers and not taking a step.
“I’ve gotten hits but didn’t really let my swing go,” said McClain, who was a .133 hitter in 45 scattered major league at-bats. “Getting a couple hits earlier in the game definitely helped. I was sitting on the right pitch and I got it.”
“I knew it was gone,” he said. “I’m glad I hit one that had no doubt and didn’t have to worry about it creeping out.”
“I wanted to slow things down to a walk and take it all in,” McClain said. “There was a sense of relief. There was a lot of pressure these guys put on me to get that one out of the way.”
McClain is the active minor league leader with 291 home runs and owns 71 more over four seasons with the Seibu Lions, drawing comparisons to the “Crash Davis” character from “Bull Durham.”
“All the hard work he’s put in, all the home runs he’s hit in the minor leagues, to get one here, the team was just elated for him. It makes it all worthwhile.” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy
McClain said he went into each of the past four seasons intending for it to be the end, but he kept posting good numbers in the minors and felt the call every spring. The last two springs, the Giants provided the opportunity. After he hit 29 homers with 108 RBIs in his second go-round at Fresno, the Giants rewarded him with the September invitation. He wants to play next year, too.
McClain, became the oldest position player to hit his first major league homer in more than a half-century, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Bob Thurman was 37 years, 337 days old when he homered off Milwaukee’s Lew Burdette on April 16, 1955, for the Cincinnati Redlegs.
There was plenty of relief all around as the Giants averted a skunking on their trip. Zito, a 16-game loser, pitched eight superb innings in what he called “probably my favorite game as a Giant.”
Manager Bruce Bochy employed six rookies, McClain plus five others all at least 10 years younger than the guy who was known as “Mac Diesel” in Fresno. The sextet had 13 of the Giants’ 14 hits and all nine RBIs.
McClain totaled three hits and three RBIs
Biography (from sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com):
Prolific minor league power hitter comes to Spring Training as non-roster invitee after capturing 2006 Pacific Coast League Player of Year honors while in Oakland organization…17-year professional veteran has hammered 231 career home runs in 1,504 minor league games, while adding another 71 clouts in 320 contests playing for Seibu in Japan…including time overseas, corner infielder has compiled 9 seasons with at least 20 HRs, and trio of 30-clout campaigns…went 3-for-34 (.118) with RBI in 22 career ML games with Tampa Bay (1998) and Chicago Cubs (2005)…originally drafted by Baltimore out of high school in 1990 draft, has spent time in Orioles (1990-96), Mets (1997), Devil Rays (1998-99), Rockies (2000), Cubs (2005) and Athletics (2006) organizations.
Graduated from Atascadero (CA) High School, where he played both baseball and football…standout high school quarterback, turned down football scholarship to University of Southern California when he signed with Baltimore in 1990…married ( Jennifer)…daughter (Kennedy, Feb. 22, 2006).