At the start of the season, I wrote a series of stories on the difficulties of making it to – and staying in – the major leagues.
One of those players was 35-year-old catcher Corky Miller, a classic baseball vagabond currently in the Cincinnati Reds system who has played for 14 teams, including five major league teams, over the past 13 seasons. Over the past decade, he’s managed to play at least one game in the big leagues in every season, hitting a mere .188 in only 575 plate appearances.
During spring training, Miller had this to say about his difficult journey:
“If you get to the big leagues, you bust your ass to stay there. If you’re in Triple-A, you do what you need to do to be ready when they call you.”
For the first time since 2000, it looks like they’re not going to call Corky Miller.
At least it appears that way, with the Reds planning to call up top catching prospect Devin Mesoraco when rosters expand on Thursday.
The game tosses aside players every season, and .188 hitters don’t tend to stick around as long as Miller has. But Miller has proven that a defensive-minded catcher who calls a good game and tutors pitchers well can find a place.
John Erardi of the Cincinnati Enquirer caught up with Miller, and his story from last week is both illuminating and entertaining.
Click through to read the whole story, but here are some of the highlights:
- Dontrelle Willis credits Miller with helping him rediscover his form, saying “He’s like Halley’s Comet – he’s a once-in-a-lifetime guy.”
- Pitcher Matt Maloney says Miller has some Crash Davis in him, “but I don’t know if he’d necessarily like the comparison.”
- Corky is his given name, but his mother gave him Abraham as his middle name in case he became president.
- The lone stolen base of his career was a swipe of home in 2001. “We’re still hearing about it,” Mesoraco said.
- Early in his career, Miller was called up to the bigs, only to sit on the bench. He asked to be sent back down so he could play.
What if this season were to be his last as a player? How would he want to be remembered?
“As a professional, a guy who went out and did his job, and a good teammate,” Miller said.
“To me, that would be everything.”