Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Johngy Meets the Hitman

When I was in Los Angeles to interview Rick Monday for Global Traveler magazine, I also had a chance to talk to coach Mike Easler. I asked him about his favorite city and he named Pittsburgh, citing the downtown area and the eateries. Fellow coach Larry Bowa questioned (mocked?) Easler's choice of Pittsburgh. Naturally, I had to include Bowa in the interview. It can be found here on YouTube.
A few years before that, Easler was nice enough to sign a few cards for me through the mail. I offered him more to keep and ended up sending him a good supply for his own use.
When I saw him at the Ultimate Collectibles Show in Oaks (PA) last year, he didn't remember the interview, but he did remember the extra cards I sent. He thanked me again and I said I had been a long-time fan despite his usual prowess against my beloved Cubs. We had a good laugh about that.
I really liked Easler (some might say he was too good to be on my favorites list, but I digress). Easler tallied 1078 hits over his 14 year career. Unfortunately for him, his first full season was when he was already 29. Still, for about a seven year period (beginning with that first full season), Easler was pretty darn good and pretty feared.
As a side bit of trivia, Easler is married to Brenda, who is Cliff Johnson's sister. Easler has stated that she spent a lot of time pitching to him ("although she didn't have a good breaking ball", according to Easler). He's truly one of the good guys.

Mike Easler and me in Oaks, PA-October 2009.

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