Southern baseball coach Roger Cador experienced a special doubleheader in the past couple of weeks.
It started July 3 in Lubbock, Texas, when he witnessed Danny Goodwin, a teammate of his with the Jaguars in 1972-73, becoming the first Southern player inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame.
The nightcap came Tuesday night in Phoenix when Cador was at Chase Field to watch Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks become the first player he has coached to play in the Major League All-Star game.
“To see a former teammate and also the first player from Southern go into the College Baseball Hall of Fame was really rewarding,” Cador said after returning to Baton Rouge on Wednesday. “And the All-Star events are always exciting. You get to see and meet so many people, shake hands and talk to everyone. Everyone wants to talk. That’s the beauty of it.”
Cador got a chance to talk with Weeks’ family, which was 18 strong at the game. He also had a chance to visit with the All-Star himself, even though Weeks was busy with community service work during the day Monday and with the Home Run Derby that night.
“We talked about how this was a reward for hard work and sticking with it,” Cador said. “We talked about him going through injuries and the value of not giving up.”
Cador was sitting with the family when Weeks, who leads the National League with 67 runs scored, stepped into the batter’s box to start the bottom of the first inning.
“It was exciting. It was almost like I was hitting,” Cador said. “Obviously he hits a lot better than I could ever dream of, but it took me back down memory lane. I was remembering him as a 17-year-old kid who was 5-10 and weighed 165 pounds. I remembered when I began coaching him in the fall of 2000, and to see him now was just a beautiful trip down memory lane.”
Weeks grounded out to first in his first at bat, then struck out swinging in the third inning. In his final at-bat in the fifth, he came up with a runner on third and hit a grounder near the mound. Jordan Walden came off the mound to field the ball and flipped it home to Alex Avila, who tagged out Starlin Castro for a fielder’s choice as Weeks reached first.
Then Weeks stole second and scored on a single to right by Andre Ethier.
“He had a chance to knock in a run and the pitcher made a great play on the grounder,” Cador said. “But he scored a run. That’s what Rickie does. He gets on base and scores runs.”
Weeks and Cador will both get back to their normal routines Thursday. The Brewers resume the pennant race by opening a series at Colorado, and Cador will be on the recruiting trail.
The Jaguars coach now has a new wrinkle he can work into his sales pitch.
“Part of the sales pitch is this: ?If you work hard, you can play almost anywhere and get recognized and rewarded for hard work and being very productive,’ “ Cador said.
Seeing a teammate inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame and a former pupil start in the Major League All-Star game reminded Cador that his task now is to find some more recruits who can do what Goodwin and Weeks did^=come to Southern and develop to the best of their ability.
“You wonder how can it get any better than this,” Cador said, “but it will because Rickie will go into the College Baseball Hall of Fame someday for the outstanding college career he had. It’s just a wonderful thing.”