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Yeah, I know. Chris Chambliss never played for the Royals and the bald acknowledgment of his name still causes nightmares amid beforehand Royals fans. Chambliss was the bedfellow of account at a contempo autograph appearance in my burghal and he was accommodating abundant to absorb some time with me. I begin him to be actual humble, polite, affable and actual accommodating to allotment belief of his activity in baseball.
Before Jim Thome, Alex Rodriguez and Francisco Lindor, Chambliss was the aboriginal Royal killer. Every Royal fan of a assertive age knows about “The Home Run.” Aboriginal pitch, basal of the ninth, abandoned attempt that baffled the 1976 Royals and propelled the Yankees to the aboriginal of three afterwards World Alternation appearances (all at the amount of Kansas City). Yeah, I apperceive it hurts to apprehend that, but I capital to acquisition out added about the guy who brought Royal admirers so abundant ache in the mid to backward 1970s.
Q: Let’s alpha at the beginning. Acquaint us a little about your baseball background.
CC: My ancestor was a pastor in the United States Navy, so we confused a few times. We eventually acclimatized in Oceanside, CA area I played baseball on the Oceanside Aerial Academy team. From there, I played Junior academy baseball at a bounded college, MiraCosta, again transferred to UCLA. We played in the Academy World Alternation my chief season, the aboriginal time UCLA fabricated it that far.
Q: Was arena in the Majors a ambition of yours?
CC: No, decidedly it wasn’t. I aloof started playing, had some success and approved to advance anniversary year. I’d set a goal, ability it, again set addition goal, ability it, again set addition goal. Next affair you know, I’m drafted and arena in AAA.
Q: Was baseball your alone action in Aerial school?
CC: No, I additionally played football. Played some bound end and some active back. I was a actual acceptable active back!
Q: One of your cousins was basketball abundant (and Kansas alum) Jo Jo White. Did you anytime comedy brawl with Jo Jo?
CC: Never did. Jo Jo was a accessory on my mom’s ancillary of the ancestors and we absolutely didn’t see anniversary added that much. I don’t anticipate I could accept backward on the cloister with Jo Jo!
Q: What affectionate of a adventure was it to be drafted #1 all-embracing by the Indians (#1 all-embracing in the 1970 draft)?
CC: It was a abundant thrill. I was built-in in Dayton, Ohio, admitting we confused from there aback I was actual young. In a way it was affectionate of a homecoming. I had been alleged alert beforehand by the Reds (31st annular in 1967) and (2nd annular in 1968) but didn’t assurance either time. Instead I adopted to go to UCLA.
Q: The Indians took an abnormal access and started you at AAA Wichita, instead of the accepted aisle of amateur ball, A, AA, AAA. Wichita was a actual acceptable boondocks for you, what are some of your memories of Wichita?
CC: Wichita did amusement me well. During the summer of 1969 I played for the Anchorage Pilots of the ABL. We went to the National Baseball Congress clash in Wichita afterwards that summer and won the title. I was additionally alleged MVP of the tournament. Afterwards the Indians drafted me, I was assigned to their AAA affiliate, the Wichita Aeros. I batted .342 that summer and led the alliance in hitting. I spent 13 amateur in Wichita in 1971 afore accepting the alarm up to Cleveland.
Q: Let’s allocution about those aboriginal Cleveland days.
CC: I had a acceptable aboriginal year in Cleveland. Initially I played some outfield because we had Ken Harrelson at aboriginal base. Aback Harrelson retired amid through the season, I took over the aboriginal abject job. I was alleged the American Alliance Amateur of the Year that season.
Chambliss bargain .275/.341/.407 with 9 home runs and 48 RBI to win the award.
We were starting to about-face things about in Cleveland. We had a nice basis of adolescent aptitude during my time there, guys like Ray Fosse, Graig Nettles, Sam McDowell, Buddy Bell, Dick Tidrow, Charlie Spikes, George Hendrick and Oscar Gamble. I anticipate if they’d kept us together, we would accept won some things.
Q: How did you feel about your barter to the Yankees (In April 1974, Chambliss forth with pitchers Dick Tidrow and Cecil Upshaw for pitchers Fritz Peterson, Fred Beene, Tom Buskey and Steve Kline, in a barter that still ranks as one of the affliction trades in Cleveland history).
CC: At the time of the trade, accepting traded to the Yankees wasn’t like accepting traded to the Yankees today. They hadn’t been to the World Alternation aback 1964 and for abounding of those years after, they were terrible. But arena for George Steinbrenner was an experience. He was committed to acceptable and that rubbed off on the players. Funny affair about that trade, I was the alone position amateur involved, all the others were pitchers.
Q: You had a 17-year above alliance career. Who was the best administrator you played for?
CC: I was advantageous to comedy for some accomplished managers. Bobby Cox in Atlanta was a agitating manager. Billy was apparently my favorite. He was a baseball genius, tactically actual strong. The botheration
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