Jeff played with me from the time he was released..maybe 1985??
He never really practiced for many years..he was just playing for fun.heck most winters he wouldn't even take a swing until the next year's first tourney.
As an example in '89 we played in the first AA world.. in our last game of the tourney jeff made a great sliding catch and his pants got covered with mud...the follow season before our fist games bp jeff walks up with his batbag and pulled his bat and pants out for our game..the pants and his bat were still covered in the Florida mud..he hadn't touched his batbag since the prior September.
Now...I have been told I can be obnoxious on occasion😁😁😀often I used that to try to motivate others..usually through their anger or as a personal challenge.
From the time Jeff and I started playing together till late 1990 I continually buried him offensively in yearly stats ...homeruns and average....I jokingly abused him with stuff like.."are you sick of me showing your bug azz up yet".."how could a two inning little player like me be showing you up this bad"..."wow 6'8" versus my unathletic under six foot azz dominating you YET AGAIN.".
That kinda stuff went on until, if I remember right, we played in the super that your Superior team knocked us out of...early that winter jeff and I were sitting watching a football game and he said.."you know Tim. I'd like you to start working with me on that tee of yours..when are you going to hit next?
Our first tee session was at Campolindo high school where I always set the tee about 360 feet from a wooden soccer goal fence...usually when I hit there maybe I'd hit two or on a great day three balls over the wall.. that first time we used that as our measuring stick..I hit my usual couple out..jeff didn't hit any...I was working with him on throwing his hands (linear swing style) and jeff kept rolling over on the ball hitting top spin rockets...we started a bet on whoever hit the most out had to buy the 6 pack after. Man did that beer taste good..especially with all Crow I was serving with it (as motivation obviously). Jeff had finally respected the game enough to see it as a challenge.
Jeff and I hit a ton that winter and it ended up we couldn't hit towards that wall any longer because Jeff would hit so many out we would lose balls or get yelled at for hitting the school Maint. Equipment. after about three weeks I think I bought the beer after almost BP session.
The next year was the season you joined us for a short time.
Jeff lead our team in homeruns almost every tourney..was all tourney at the Seattle major, MVP in LA..the Los Angelos major was kinda funny..when they awarded to homerun champ the second place guy heard the number 18 and he said...well I had 18 at bats also...I had to disappoint him by saying the 18 was the number of homeruns Jeff hit in around 25 at bats. He also won the bating title and MVP.
Jeff went on to win AA MVP and all tourney at the major World Series.
The sad part is..that season and all it's accolades came so easy I think jeff lost respect for the game...it was not challenging enough and he hated the steroid cheaters at the major level...back then AA was close to PED free..at least on the west coast...the future years saw jeff slowly work his way further and further away from the practice field..he loved hanging with the guys but the game lost its 1991 season alure...
But for that one 1991 season (and the winter before it) I got to witness a unbelievably large athletic man with great baseball talent take softball serious..
In the speed of light jeff went from someone I could poke fun at over hitting..to someone three times better then I ever could dream of being.
I always think about that whenever some know nothing claims it would take years for elite baseball players to be dominate softball players...Jeff proved a very talented baseball player with a destroyed rotator cuff in a winter of practice could become one of the best ten players at the major World Series.
Jeff was a better person then me ( as if anyone would ever think otherwise)...during that season of dominance..he never once tried to egg, or give me my own medicine, to be better with negative motivation ..like I had done to him..then again...we both knew all along...I couldn't carry his jock if he really cared about the game.
As I see it..the biggest difference between the elites and the many talented baseball players playing lower level ball is (other then PED use) they respect softball.
That respect drives them to practice and improve..to more or less live for softball..Jeff never lived for softball...
In softball he lived with..."it's a hobby we do for fun and friendship"...and above all else...
"No, your wrong Tim ...it's not when your winning your having fun!! It's when your having fun your winning. No matter the score!!!!
My big buddy was right.
That attitude is probably why Jeff was so success in life... if your goal/montra in life is..."when your having fun your winning. No matter the score (or situation) everything in life just seems a little easier/enjoyable.