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Image 9 of Kentucky Alumnus, vol. 63, no. 2, 1993

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[ `TD ..D.c.L__i ,c...L__.-_.-,c—.ca-_,.. cc -1 _._._,.. · I “My roommate, Tim Luginbuhl, and I had I Braves sent him down to the minors in l had some differences. The next day, the Richmond, Va., in june 1991. They recalled l coaches had me umpiring— calling balls and him in August, pitched him for a single T strikes — from behind the pitcher’s mound," j inning appearance in which he picked up a I jeff recalled. “Well, Tim was hitting with two I win, and, six days later, returned him to the [ strikes. The next pitch bounced about four minors. The Braves released him at the end feet in front of the plate and I called him out of the season. It was a trying time forjeff. I — on strikes. I don’t think Tim appreciated it, "It was hard watching the Braves on TV j but everyone else got a big laugh out of it." in the World Series that year. I should have Unlike the majority of major league play- been there with them, but I wasn’t,” jeff I ers, who go straight from high school to the said. "My statistics did not substantiate me minor leagues, jeff was part of the emerging being in the big leagues at that time. Of minority of players who previously played ball course, the Braves didn’t seem to have in college.jeff believes it was for the best. I much patience with me, either." “I think the scouts knew I wanted to go to I Fortunately, jeff was able to sign with the college because I had been a good student in Oakland Athletics, who have a history of res- high school. Even though it delayed me cuing baseball careers and who were trying to entering minor league baseball until I was I rebuild a slumping pitching staff. The 21, I did a lot of growing up during my four Athletics invited jeff to spring training as a years at UK. Of course, I’m still doing a lot of non-roster player, and worked with him at growing up,"jeffjoked. “But not as much as building his confidence. I did back then." i "Although the game of baseball is impor- Last season jeff established himself as one , tant, I learned to put it in perspective. I P of the premier middle relievers in baseball and ij worked with a guy named Harvey played for a division-winning team. However, Dorfman who counsels a lot of the the struggle has been long and tough. Athletics,” jeff commented. “He helped me With a -1-1 record his senior season at UK, I realize that after I went home last year, even W the Milwaukee Brewers picked Parrett in the though I had a bad season, my wife still \ ~# ninth round of the 1983june free agent draft cooked me breakfast and my bird dogs still I 9 (the Montreal Expos had pickedjeff after his . pointed to birds. It helped me come to Q junior season, but he chose to stay in school.) spring training a lot looser." A The next two years, jeff pitched in the W At spring training, he soon ,7,.,. j ,. ‘ ‘ lower levels of minor league baseball in towns . impressed manager Tony La- \ rm! such as Beloit, Wis., Stockton, Calif., and even Russa and pitching coach " _ Paintsville, Ky. His big break came in the win- j Dave Duncan enough with ·‘ " ¢;~ j ter of 1985-86 when the Brewers failed to put his arm strength and a low /~ . "" j him on their 40-man roster and the Expos earned run average I`; ` __ j L_ V drafted him as a Rule 5 player, which re- (1.92) to win a spot on quired the Expos to keep him on their major j the team. These I A PMIIIEIT _ , league roster for a year. Playing in the l events further ` PITGIIEII FUR I J M M National League that summer of 1986, jeff Q boosted his con- THE PIIII.lIE$ _/,~ I got the thrill of pitching against his child- . fidence. III I999 hood heroes Rose and Perez. I jeff started MIII I999. » Following the 1988 season, Parrett was the season strong, {ig; I traded to the Philadelphia Phillies, where he earning wins in three of his first four A._. { posted his second-consecutive 12-win season. appearances. He was consistently effective . l I In September 1990, the Phillies traded him to as the Athletics’ set-up reliever over the —_ ¤_ Atlanta for long-time Brave Dale Murphy. course of the season. In games pitched by both ‘ "Every move was a good one," jeff said, Parrett and Dennis Eckersley, who won the Cy , ‘ “When I went to Philadelphia, it got me Young Award as the league’s best pitcher, the —\ back into the States, and in Atlanta, I was Athletics were an incredible 45-0. I = closer to Kentucky. " The A’s were pleased with Parrett’s suc- . i But times soured for jeff in Atlanta. The 1 cess. Manager LaRussa said, ‘jeff keeps Summer jggg Kentucky Alumnus 7