Larry Bowa was my first manager. Frank Robinson was my second. With Bowa, you’re talking about one of the greatest shortstops of all time, even though people forget that. He had 2,800 hits and Gold Glove defense and played on championship teams. He was a fiery, fiery guy, sort of like Lou. Frank Robinson, I don’t have to say anything about him. A Hall of Famer and one of the greatest of all time — 586 home runs, a little short of 3,000 hits. I’m sure he could come back now and get them.
Then I played for Ron Washington. He’s probably the only one who’s different. I think if you mold all those guys together, you have Lou. He’s a clubhouse guy, a players’ manager as well as knows his X’s and O’s on the field. Baseball is going to miss him. He’s always going to be known for his fieriness but at the same time he’ll be known for taking teams to the playoffs and having very good teams.
Note: On Thursday, Marlon Byrd visited the Union League Boys & Girls Club on North Washtenaw Avenue to kickoff a summer-long program. It was the official launch of a community outreach program created by the Cubs and Steiner Sports Memorabilia, Inc., which will include a clinic Monday at Wrigley, hosted by Byrd and pitcher Randy Wells.
It was funny because I remember my first day at the Boys Club — me going in and meeting new people and being a little bit scared because I didn’t know anybody. The relationships that carried over — I met Dion Glover, who used to play with the Atlanta Hawks. Today just took me back. I remembered all those days and the fun we had with all the kids. Everybody was so friendly. At the same time, being able to give back and having them cheer for you and seeing the smiling faces, it was wonderful.
The All-Star Game was unbelievable. A couple lockers down from me was Albert Pujols, right around the corner, Chris Carpenter, Roy Halladay, Ubaldo Jimenez, the Great One. The whole experience was unbelievable. I think what really capped it off was after I made that throw, after the game, having the other All-Star outfielders come up to me and say that was a heck of a play. You go out there and just try to execute and play hard. It’s the All-Star Game, and being recognized by your peers, them voting me in, and at the same time, great play, and you start realizing, “Hey, I can play this game a little bit.”
I’m the guy who flies under the radar, I try to do small things to help the team. My defense has kept me in the game. The walk to keep the game going to let the MVP, Brian McCann, come through, just little things like that, it was fun. I was really glad I was part of it.
Thanks to all the NL players. That’s No. 1, hands down. Without them, I wouldn’t be in the All-Star Game. I made the All-Star team all the way thorugh the Minor Leagues and now I made it in the big leagues. It’s just huge for me. I’m not a guy who likes talking about himself but being voted in by your peers, I don’t think there’s a bigger honor. The players see me day in, day out, the NL Central, the guys in the West, the East — I’ve played against all of them. They know what I’ve been doing and it shows they’ve been paying attention. It doesn’t get any better than being recognized as one of the best in the National League.