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Neil Jenkins Interview

By Paul Gierhart

A couple of weeks ago I did an article on watching the last game of the season at Clinton, Iowa. The Lumberkings were entertaining the West Michigan
Whitecaps. I made mention of my son and I being very disappointed that Detroit Tigers prospect Neil Jenkins was on the DL and wasn't with the team. Well, Neil's father (Jim) read the article and e-mailed me. He expressed how much he loved the site and how I could get a hold of Neil for signatures. Well being the nosey reporter type like I am, I asked Mr. Jenkins for an
interview with Neil. Here it is! Thank you Jim and Neil! Good luck Neil! Adam (my son) and I are the next biggest fans of yours (your dad is the biggest!).

Interview questions answered by Neil Jenkins

1. What are your earliest baseball memories and what role does it play in your game today?
My earliest memories were just going to the field with my dad and hitting, taking ground balls, soft toss. I think it gave me a good work ethic.

2. Who are your baseball idols? What is your earliest memory of attending a pro game?
Nolan Ryan he's great.... going to the Braves spring training games.

3. Did you play organized baseball as a kid? If yes, How good of a player were you?

Yes, I started playing when I was 6 years old. I was not bad but I played with alot of good kids and I think that it made me better.

4. As a high school player @ W.T.Dwyer H.S. what were your stats?

As a senior I hit .561 16Hr 42Rbi's.
5.What position did you play in high school?
Well, I played a lot of different places my senior year. It was mostly at 3rd, pitched, even played one game as catcher. Jr. year it was rightfield. One thing I am proud of is in my 4 years of high school ball I played at least one game at every position.

6.How did I feel to be selected by USA Today as a member of the Prep All-American?
It was an awesome feeling. I was also proud to be selected 1st team All-American by Baseball America.

7. How did you showcase your baseball playing talent prior to being drafted by the Tigers in June 1999 ?
Played at Team One Showcase, and did a lot of  work outs for most Major League teams.  We had a lot of scout's come to a lot of games my senior year and played in a lot of all-star games.

8.What thoughts went though your head prior to being and after being drafted by the Tigers in the 3rd round of the June 1999 draft?

First not knowing were I was going to be taken. Being told it may be in the First round. Knowing I was a diabetic and some teams would not draft me; it was a tough day. But going to the Tigers with there 2nd pick, it was awesome.. they were very excited about me being available and showed me by the way they have treated me.

9. What was your impression of your first year of ball with the Gulf Coast League Tigers in 1999?

1st impression "HOT".baseball in Lakeland Florida in the summer is hot, hot, hot; but it was a great experience. I got to meet a lot of great guys..great

10. What differences are there between your time spent with the Gulf Coast League Tigers and the West Michigan Whitecaps?

The biggest differences were fans... the West Michigan fans were great. In fact the whole Midwest League was great.playing in front of 6 to 14 thousand fans it was an awesome feeling day in and day out. Playing in the Gulf Coast there were not many fans but it was a lot closer to home and my family got to come and watch more games.

11. In the off-season what is your training routine?
I like to lift weights heavy the first month and then start hitting from the middle to the start of spring training. The Tigers give us a work out program to follow and it's pretty intense.

12. Are you going to college in the off-season?

No, not this year.

13. What kind of role does your family play in your baseball career?

My family are my biggest fans, doing good or doing bad they are always there giving me support from Mom and Dad to my brothers, grandparents,aunts and uncles.

14. Did you always dream of becoming a professional baseball player or is it a talent that just developed over the years?

I always loved playing baseball...and you always hope you could be a pro, but the odds are so great against you. But if a person works very hard and has a little talent and a dream they could make it. So, I guess it takes both.

15. Is there anything you want to share about yourself (outside of baseball) that you want people to know about you as a person?

Yes I'm a dog lover and I have a boxer named Ceasar.

Mr. Gierhart just wanted to say thanks. This was fun. I know my dad likes reading and I will get these cards sent off. I also have something coming to your son. Sorry I missed him...NEIL JENKINS


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