Q & A with Charles Nagy (Part #1)
Recently I sat down with Charles Nagy to discuss some key moments of his career…
Q: You grew up in Bridgeport Connecticut and spent a few years in St. Petersburg, Florida. Was baseball always you’re first love?
A: I have two brothers and I’m wedged in the middle. My dad was really into sports so we were constantly playing football, baseball and basketball. We just rolled with the seasons and kind of beat each other up a lot too. Growing up, that was all we knew, we played year around. As time passed, my older brother’s path led him to football and for me it became baseball.
Q: You were a 17th round draft pick in 1998 out of UConn. What were you feeling as you started your minor league career?
A: I was excited. I was excited to go to spring training, but I was fortunate to be selected for the Olympic team in 1988 and had the opportunity travel around the world a couple of times before I started my career. That experience opened my eyes to a lot of things. I learned a lot about pitching that summer. I learned about travel and playing a rigorous schedule. It initiated me to what playing professionally was all about.
Q: Baseball of only an exhibition sports in 1988, but the U.S beat Japan for the tournament finale. What was the Olympic experience like?
A: It was a whole summer of travel and we played so many games. The world championships were in Italy. It was a great group of guys; we still keep in touch today. Once you get there, you’re in the Olympic Village around all these athletes who have trained their entire lives for this one big moment, and there we were, a long-haired, rough looking bunch, just baseball players. It was exciting to be there, going through the Opening Ceremonies, seeing the other events and watching some outstanding athletes. Then it was time for us to go play and we were fortunate enough to do well that year.
Q: The players strike occurred on August 12, 1994 while the Indians were just one game out of first place. What was that like?
A: We had just opened Jacobs Field in 1990 and made some key additions. Some other players were really just starting to come into their own. We were selling out and the town was excited. Then the stoppage began. We hoped it wouldn’t last long because past work stoppages had been pretty short. Some guys were actually joking that they were looking forward to a few days off. We figured we would be back at it for the home stretch of August and September, but it just didn’t happen. They canceled the World Series that year and it was heart-breaking for the fans and it was heart-breaking for the players too. After that, we had a lot of hurdles in front of us to win the trust of the fans back.
In Part #2 of my chat with Charles, we’ll discuss the 1995 World Series against Atlanta, starting the 1996 All-Star Game and more!