St. Petersburg Times Online: World and Nation
 Devil Rays Forums

Greener than grass: A baseball story

Photographs by JOHN PENDYGRAFT and JONATHAN NEWTON
of the Times staff

photo
Josh retreated to the locker room by himself before his first professional appearance at the plate. He brought his 34-ounce bat from home, taped and pine tarred. It wouldn’t last long with the nightly play and the high-velocity pitches of the minor leagues.
[Times photo: John Pendygraft]

photo
Bowen Field in Bluefield, W. Va., was built in 1949. Its wall of maples and poplars tantalized many an Appalachian League rookie, including Stan “The Man” Musial. When Josh played his first professional game against the Bluefield Orioles, he had his eye on those trees.
[Times photo: John Pendygraft]

photo
“One of the reasons Josh became the No. 1 player are those two parents,” said Tampa Bay Devil Rays GM Chuck LaMar. “His discipline, humbleness and upbringing come from those parents.” Tony Hamilton, standing above his wife, Linda, cheer on No. 22 in Bluefield, W. Va.
[Times photo: John Pendygraft]

photo
After batting practice, in the clubhouse of the Johnson City Cardinals in Johnson City, Tenn., Josh taps the head of a 6-year-old fan, R.J. Boggs, who asked the No. 1 draft pick for an autograph. “Kids are just about the best thing in the world,” Josh said.
[Times photo: Jonathan Newton]

photo
The Devil Rays wait for the team bus one morning in front of the Ramada Inn in Princeton. They are preparing to leave for a three-day road trip. By mid-July, they begin to show the effects of the 16-hour days. One player is asleep behind the cement wall.
[Times photo: Jonathan Newton]

photo
The Devil Rays have a loyal following of young female fans who wait for them at the clubhouse door after home games at Hunnicutt Field. Some bring homemade cakes for the players, others bring ham biscuits.
[Times photo: Jonathan Newton]

Back to Story

Back to Top
© St. Petersburg Times. All rights reserved.
 

From the wire
[an error occurred while processing this directive] [an error occurred while processing this directive]

hearme.com