The average career of a Major League Baseball player is 5.6 years, but Detroit Tigers infielder Gordon Beckham has doubled that. Beckham made his debut in 2009, and is currently playing in his 11th season. Edge Sports Network Vice President Andrew Parker had the chance to talk with him to reflect on some moments in his career and how they helped shape him into the player he is today.
Andrew: I had to ask about where it all began for him, all the way back to his University of Georgia days.
Q: You helped the Georgia Bulldogs to a College World Series and also the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox to a championship in your semi-pro playing days. What did those two very successful teams teach you and how did they prepare you for the next step in your baseball career?
A: “I think what it taught me is that it’s important to be close as a team, to really believe in, and encourage the guys around you. The UGA team was a bunch of hard nosed guys that loved to compete. Only three or four of us went on to play in the big leagues. The YD team was full of stars. We had three top-10 picks in the next draft. We were just loaded.”
To this date, Beckham is still the all-time leader for home runs (53) and total bases (491) at the University of Georgia.
Q: You were named Sporting News’ AL Rookie of the Year and named AL Rookie of the Year by the MLBPA back in 2009. How did receiving those honors feel and how did it feel to see that you could really compete at a high level in the MLB so early on in your career?
A: “Winning ROY was pretty sweet, especially knowing that my peers believed I was the best rookie out there. It was a great end to my first year in the big leagues.”
Q: You’ve obviously had a pretty long career now with 10 years in baseball. What are some memorable moments that come to mind throughout the course of your career that fans might not know about?
“Well it definitely has been a good ride, full of ups and downs…but a few memories that come to mind off the top of my head would be in 2015 I had a walk-off hit on both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day of that season and I believe I’m the only person in history to do that. Going to the playoffs with the Angels in 2014 was a great memory, as was walking off the Cubs in my rookie season. I think a great memory that I have recently is making the Tigers team out of spring training. I really fought and clawed to get back to being in the big leagues as a regular and that to me really showed me what I was made of, that I didn’t just quit when it got difficult, I hit the grind and made it back to where I believe I belonged.”
Beckham is still the only player to hit walk-offs on both Mother’s and Father’s Day in MLB history.
Q: You had some real professionals on that White Sox team your rookie year in 2009. Did you take anything from those guys that you’re now able to portray to the younger guys on this Tigers team?
A: “Yeah, I had a incredible group of teammates when I was a rookie. I would say they did a real good job of making me aware when I screwed up in the clubhouse or said something I shouldn’t have. They were much tougher on rookies back then than I believe we are now. Seems like these days tough love is not as widely accepted as it was back then. But it made me aware, it made me understand the feel of the clubhouse, and the game. They provided me with great examples of work ethic that I was able to take into my own game and I believe it was the foundation to how I have been able to hang around for as long as I have.”
Gordon is a true professional who has played the game the right way throughout his entire career. From the Bulldogs, to the Cape Cod League, to the Tigers, he has shown the willingness to compete each and every season.
The Edge Sports Network team would like to thank Gordon Beckham for taking the time to answer our questions for this interview. We wish him the best of luck as he continues his outstanding career.
Cover Photo via: AP Photo/Alex Gallardo
Follow Gordon Beckham on Twitter: @gordonbeckham
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