They're affectionately called the boys of summer, but we all know around here baseball starts in the dead of winter. When their days on the diamond are done, many Red Raider athletes go on to be businessmen, lawyers or even doctors, and then there are the talented and gifted few who go on to the big leagues. This week, we look at three former Red Raiders, Josh Bard, Stubby Clapp and Travis Driskill, who now know what it feels like to play before 50,000 fans.
Considered to be the best catcher in Texas Tech history, it's still been a long and windy road to the top for Josh Bard. "My wife and I have moved 19 times since we've been married, so she's a trooper," says Bard.
But it appears Josh and his wife will now be able to settle down in Cleveland. In his major league debut last August against the Mariners, in the bottom of the 9th inning, with the game tied a 2, Josh came to the plate. He had one on and one out, and Josh cranked his first home run ever in his first game ever to win the game.
Josh now has a good opportunity to be Cleveland's starting catcher this season, but he says it won't come without a fight in spring training camp. "I haven't played this game for long, but I know that they don't hand you anything. It's gonna be a fight for the starting nod," says Bard.
Known for his patented flip before the start of each game, the charismatic Stubby Clapp made his triumphant return to the Hub City last month. "It sent chills down my spine just to put the double T's back on and walk around campus. Feels like home," says Clapp.
Clapp, a second baseman and utility player, signed his first contract with the St. Louis Cardinals and is now with the Atlanta Braves. "It's a clean slate. Maybe I can slide in the backdoor somewhere," says Clapp who will likely begin the season with the Braves Triple A team.
Baltimore Orioles Pitcher Travis Driskill brought his children back to his college town for the first time last month. "First time we've brought 'em back to Lubbock. And hopefully it's a sign of things to come. Maybe they'll wanna come here and be a part of the Red Raider family," says Driskill.
The hurler spent nine years in the minors before getting his shot at the majors last year. Now he says it's time to join the rotation and put up some wins. "It's not about being a rookie anymore and being that feel good story of 9 years in the minors and finally getting a chance. Now, it's time to step up and produce," says Driskill who will likely be a part of the Orioles regular pitching rotation this coming season.