Turn Off Ads?
Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: 16 Years Later, Pokey Returns

  1. #1
    Pitching is the thing WVRedsFan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Rainelle, WV
    Posts
    8,110

    16 Years Later, Pokey Returns

    http://www.wvgazette.com/Sports/NickScala/200807030744

    16 years later, Pokey returns
    POKEY REESE'S career has seen so many ups and downs and triumphs and tragedies, both on and off the field, but the smile remains seemingly perpetual. It was there Thursday night at Appalachian Power Park, where the former Cincinnati Red - and, yeah, the former Charleston Wheeler - was suiting up for the visiting team, the Hagerstown Suns,
    POKEY REESE'S career has seen so many ups and downs and triumphs and tragedies, both on and off the field, but the smile remains seemingly perpetual.

    It was there Thursday night at Appalachian Power Park, where the former Cincinnati Red - and, yeah, the former Charleston Wheeler - was suiting up for the visiting team, the Hagerstown Suns, who are in town for the holiday weekend, battling the Power for first place in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division.

    It's been 16 years since Reese last played in Charleston, yet there he was Thursday night, batting second and playing second base for the Suns.

    Kenny Kemp Pokey Reese, playing for the Hagerstown Suns, bats for the first time in Charleston since he played for the Wheelers in 1992.
    Buy This PhotoWhy is this accomplished former big-leaguer, now 35 years old, playing in low Class A? Well, it's a rehab assignment with the Suns' parent club, the Washington Nationals. More on that later.

    What's he been doing since his last major-league game, with the Red Sox in 2004?

    For the most part, he's been healing, both from injuries and a lifetime of heartbreak.

    For now, though, suffice it to say that Calvin "Pokey" Reese Jr. is happy to be back in uniform, happy to be back in Charleston, and ... well, just happy. During a 10-minute interview before the start of Thursday night's game, the only time the smile left his face was when he was told that Watt Powell Park, where he played as a 19-year-old kid, had been demolished.

    The smile came right back, though, when he recognized the yellow Watt Powell seats that had been removed from the Kanawha City ballpark and replanted beyond the left-center-field fence at Appalachian Power Park.

    He was asked if his goal was to return to the major leagues.

    "I hope to stay healthy and whatever happens after that happens," he said. "There's no rush. Whatever the Nationals want me to do, I'll do it. I'm just here to play some baseball and have fun."

    Is it a letdown to be back in Class A at such an advanced age?

    "No, because I spent seven years in the minors so I know how it is," he said. "I'm not worried about that."

    Yeah, Reese knows how it is, both the good, the bad and the horrific.

    The ups, the triumphs? He was a 1991 first-round draft pick of the Reds, with whom he won two Gold Glove awards as the National League's best-fielding second baseman. Before he got to Cincinnati, he made two stops in West Virginia, first at Princeton in rookie ball, then with the Charleston Wheelers in 1992.

    The last time he wore a major-league uniform in a game that mattered was in October of 2004, when he was with the Boston Red Sox, celebrating the franchise's first World Series championship in 86 years.

    In between, he earned nearly $12 million as a ballplayer, according to BaseballReference.com. Yes, baseball was very, very good to him.

    POKEY REESE'S career has seen so many ups and downs and triumphs and tragedies, both on and off the field, but the smile remains seemingly perpetual.
    It was there Thursday night at Appalachian Power Park, where the former Cincinnati Red - and, yeah, the former Charleston Wheeler - was suiting up for the visiting team, the Hagerstown Suns, who are in town for the holiday weekend, battling the Power for first place in the South Atlantic League's Northern Division.

    It's been 16 years since Reese last played in Charleston, yet there he was Thursday night, batting second and playing second base for the Suns.

    Why is this accomplished former big-leaguer, now 35 years old, playing in low Class A? Well, it's a rehab assignment with the Suns' parent club, the Washington Nationals. More on that later.

    What's he been doing since his last major-league game, with the Red Sox in 2004?

    For the most part, he's been healing, both from injuries and a lifetime of heartbreak.

    For now, though, suffice it to say that Calvin "Pokey" Reese Jr. is happy to be back in uniform, happy to be back in Charleston, and ... well, just happy. During a 10-minute interview before the start of Thursday night's game, the only time the smile left his face was when he was told that Watt Powell Park, where he played as a 19-year-old kid, had been demolished.

    The smile came right back, though, when he recognized the yellow Watt Powell seats that had been removed from the Kanawha City ballpark and replanted beyond the left-center-field fence at Appalachian Power Park.

    He was asked if his goal was to return to the major leagues.

    "I hope to stay healthy and whatever happens after that happens," he said. "There's no rush. Whatever the Nationals want me to do, I'll do it. I'm just here to play some baseball and have fun."

    Is it a letdown to be back in Class A at such an advanced age?

    "No, because I spent seven years in the minors so I know how it is," he said. "I'm not worried about that."

    Yeah, Reese knows how it is, both the good, the bad and the horrific.

    The ups, the triumphs? He was a 1991 first-round draft pick of the Reds, with whom he won two Gold Glove awards as the National League's best-fielding second baseman. Before he got to Cincinnati, he made two stops in West Virginia, first at Princeton in rookie ball, then with the Charleston Wheelers in 1992.

    The last time he wore a major-league uniform in a game that mattered was in October of 2004, when he was with the Boston Red Sox, celebrating the franchise's first World Series championship in 86 years.

    In between, he earned nearly $12 million as a ballplayer, according to BaseballReference.com. Yes, baseball was very, very good to him.

    The downs, the tragedies? Almost too many to mention, but the story's not complete without them.

    He was raised dirt-poor in South Carolina, and then it got worse. The mothers of his first two children, daughter LaBresha and son Naquwan, both died tragically - the first in a car accident, the second while giving birth.

    Then it got heartbreakingly tragic. On Christmas Eve in 1997, the year Reese debuted with the Reds, his maternal grandmother and great-grandmother were murdered in South Carolina.

    "[Naquwan] was sitting there actually when the guy murdered them," Reese said in a 2004 interview with the Boston Globe's Bob Hohler.

    Through it all, Reese has had baseball, and he's not ready to give it up, even at age 35, even if it means starting over at the bottom.

    After winning that World Series ring with Boston, Reese signed with Seattle before spring training in 2005. He was sent to the minor leagues, but played in just five games before a torn labrum in his shoulder, and subsequent surgery, ended his season.

    Released by Seattle, he signed in the winter of 2005-06 with the Marlins, who hoped he'd be their second baseman. But during spring training, Reese went AWOL - "personal reasons" was the only cause cited - and he was released again.

    He didn't play in the majors or minors in either 2006 or '07. It looked like his ball-playing days were over.

    But Washington Nationals general manager Jim Bowden - who, when he was the Reds' GM in 1999, would not part with Reese when Seattle wanted him (and others) in exchange for Ken Griffey Jr. - gave Reese one more chance this spring, signing him to a minor-league deal in late May.

    Reese played two games for the Nationals' Gulf Coast League rookie affiliate in June, then was bumped up to Class AAA Columbus of the International League. But in his second game there, Reese went down with a hamstring injury.

    Hence, the full-circle rehab assignment back in Charleston.

    "This is my first game since the injury," smiled Reese. "I've just been sitting at home, getting healthy."

    He talked more about Watt Powell Park, and Charleston, and his favorite place to hang out 16 years ago, when he was a wide-eyed teenager with big-league dreams.

    "The little pub right across the street from the park, what was it ... Yeah, Murad's, we used to go there and eat all the time," Reese said. "I enjoyed my time here."

    From the looks of it, despite all those ups and downs, he's still enjoying it.
    www.ris-news.com
    "You only have to bat a thousand in two things; flying and heart transplants. Everything else you can go 4-for-5."
    -Beano Cook

  2. Turn Off Ads?
  3. #2
    Member OnBaseMachine's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    34,844

    Re: 16 Years Later, Pokey Returns

    He was interviewed here on the news a couple nights ago and had nothing but nice things to say about Charleston and West Virginia. He wasn't much of a hitter but I always liked him. Dude could play some defense.
    I miss Adam Dunn.

  4. #3
    Passion for the game Team Clark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Posts
    8,104

    Re: 16 Years Later, Pokey Returns

    Nice to see Pokey in baseball. Good person. This article is very poorly written but at least the essence of Pokey's comeback was captured.
    It's absolutely pathetic that people can't have an opinion from actually watching games and supplementing that with stats. If you voice an opinion that doesn't fit into a black/white box you will get completely misrepresented and basically called a tobacco chewing traditionalist...
    Cedric 3/24/08

  5. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    7,639

    Re: 16 Years Later, Pokey Returns

    That is probably the most poorly written article I have ever seen in my life.
    "Strickland Propane... Taste the meat, not the heat." - Hank Hill


Turn Off Ads?

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Board Moderators may, at their discretion and judgment, delete and/or edit any messages that violate any of the following guidelines: 1. Explicit references to alleged illegal or unlawful acts. 2. Graphic sexual descriptions. 3. Racial or ethnic slurs. 4. Use of edgy language (including masked profanity). 5. Direct personal attacks, flames, fights, trolling, baiting, name-calling, general nuisance, excessive player criticism or anything along those lines. 6. Posting spam. 7. Each person may have only one user account. It is fine to be critical here - that's what this board is for. But let's not beat a subject or a player to death, please.

Thank you, and most importantly, enjoy yourselves!


RedsZone.com is a privately owned website and is not affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds or Major League Baseball


Contact us: Boss | GIK | BCubb2003 | dabvu2498 | Gallen5862 | LexRedsFan | Plus Plus | RedlegJake | redsfan1995 | The Operator | Tommyjohn25