About the Book

Introduction
Contents

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Introduction

My name is Rod Humphries, and I am an unapologetic baseball dad (retired). I was born in Australia, where cricket is the national pastime and far outstrips baseball. It wasn’t until I moved to America decades ago and my three sons—Scott, Mark, and Justin—began playing Little League that I fell in love with the sport and eventually participated as a Little League coach. When Justin became very good at baseball, I searched for help—not only on how he should hit a baseball, but on how the system worked all the way from Little League to the Major Leagues. At times it was downright daunting because our family had so many questions and so few places to find even some of the answers. There was no book explaining the total system, and only bits and pieces could be found on Internet websites.

On the journey I discovered that there was a real thirst for knowledge among dedicated families who were also looking to the future for preteen and teenage ballplayers. Parents not only pay for a young player’s physical journey and academics through youth baseball, high school, and college, but they are also central planners who need to know the system to help negotiate the various levels. Young players most certainly need to understand what to aim for, where they are headed, and what is in store for them—especially high school and college players and those eyeing the pros. Parents lighten the load by researching the pathway while allowing the player to concentrate on his game and school studies. It is part of being a parent.

After Justin was drafted out of high school by the Houston Astros, I decided that my experience as an author, sports journalist, television writer, and former administrator of a worldwide professional sports tour, World Championship Tennis, put me in a position to write about baseball’s very intricate assembly line. I took notes to produce a book that would be helpful for future baseball travelers: parents, players, and even avid fans who want to know about the process and how their favorite Major League stars “paid their dues.” I not only wanted to chronicle the various steps in the baseball process and the history and numerical data, but to also explain our personal experiences as a guide for parents and players who will follow.

Helping to shape Justin as a player—and guide the family through all stages of the system—were Scipio Spinks and Sid Holland, who between them have seen baseball from every conceivable angle. They were professional players, who also coached in college and the pros. Scipio pitched for the Houston Astros and St. Louis Cardinals and later became a highly respected professional scout. Today Sid works on hitting technique with Major League All-Stars Carl Crawford, Michael Bourn, Chris Young, and Jay Bruce, as well as coaching college and high school players and organizing youth travel teams. So I eagerly tapped their vast knowledge, and the reader will find their separate comments on personal experiences and advice to be a gold mine of information.

Also contributing is my son Justin, a nine-year professional whose experiences I have threaded throughout the book to illustrate the difficult path from youth leagues to the professional game. He also provides personal comments and valuable insight into youth and high school baseball, college recruiting, the Major League draft, the physical and mental strain of life in the pros, and the importance of an education to secure a profession after baseball. The comments by Scipio, Sid, and Justin directly relate to what I have written in the main text and can be found at the end of chapters.

So if a family dares to dream of journeying beyond youth baseball to high school, college, and the professional game, this book spells it all out.

Rod Humphries

What people are saying:

"A Must-Read for Players and Parents Who are Looking Beyond Little League to Select/Travel Ball, High School, College and the Pros..."