Former Northview star Chris Woodward, far right, looks to celebrate in the Major Leagues like this again.
When I think what former Northview High School baseball star Chris Woodward has had to endure this season and why he keeps coming back for more, my thoughts turn to Steve Carlton.
Carlton, arguably one of the top pitchers of all time, by his own admission, hung on to his life in the Major Leagues way too long. Carlton, after earning 313 victories in his first 20 seasons in the big leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies, was a dismal 16-37 during his final four seasons while being cut, released or having his contract not renewed during stops with the San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins.
A reporter asked Carlton, who truly had already cinched his spot in Cooperstown, why he continued to hang on with really nothing more to prove?
Carlton’s answer was quick and to the point: “The life,” he said, referring to what baseball gave him – a good salary and the life of five-star hotels and restaurants.
No one knows that more than Woodward, who after stops with the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Mets and Atlanta Braves, is trying to work his way back to the Major Leagues.
But its been a long and winding road this season for Woodward, who hit just .199 for the Braves last season.
It started with the New York Yankees, who he signed a minor-league contract with before the season. He made it to the final cut in spring training before being released in March.
He signed another minor-league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies and played the first month of the season with the Lehigh (Pa.) Iron Pigs, hitting just .206 with an RBI in 19 games before being released on May 2.
But there is no giving up in Woodward, who again signed another minor-league deal two weeks ago, this time with the Milwaukee Brewers.
All signs are looking good as Woodward is off to a solid start for the Nashville Sounds. He is hitting .286 with an RBI in his first six games for the Pacific Coast League Triple-A team.
Here’s hoping Woodward can make it back to the cathedrals of Major League Baseball.