June 30, 2006
Chris Hammond was designated for assignment on June 30, 2006. The entire bullpen short of Todd Coffey had been pretty horrible for some time, and Hammond was just the first to go. Brian Shackelford was called up in his place.
April 6, 2006
Chris Hammond was born on January 21, 1966 in Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Vestavia Hills High School in Birmingham, AL in 1984. He also played baseball at Alabama-Birmingham College and Gulf Coast Community College. He is married to Lynne and the pair have three children: Andy (born 1/22/96), Jake (11/6/98) and Alex (11/16/99).
Hammond took two years off baseball in the middle of his career. Some say bone spurs in his elbow. Others say he was pitching crappily. The website of his Youth Foundation says it was to help his wife with her difficult pregnancy. Interestingly, it was also his wife who got him back into baseball by telling him that her only regret was that the children never got to see him on the field. His current plan is to retire after this season, but if the kids still want him out there…
“Well, you never know,” he told the Enquirer.
Hammon’s Youth Foundation is dedicated to the prospect of building athletic recreation centers in the rural areas of Alabama. Their mission statement:
The Chris Hammond Youth Foundation is a non-profit organization founded for the purpose of financially assisting in the construction and/or maintenance of recreation and athletic facilities in rural Alabama communities.I believe that athletics can serve as a foundation for the development of strong character in the lives of children. Athletics provides an environment where children can learn virtues such as discipline, teamwork, dedication, honesty, and respect for authority. Unfortunately, rural areas are most often lacking in any such facilities. Ball fields and gyms are places that create unity. Growing up in Vestavia I was blessed with facilities both in the community and at church to play baseball and basketball. I want to see the Chris Hammond Youth Foundation make the same impact for kids in rural Alabama, and 100% of the money raised will be directed to furthering this goal.
The Lord has blessed me with the ability to make a living doing something I always dreamed of. I intend to use this blessing and my best efforts to help raise funds that can provide a place for kids to be able to pursue their dreams as I did.
You may have noticed that this section hasn’t been particularly personal or funny, mostly because I don’t actually know anything about Chris Hammond first hand. Maybe once I’ve seen him actually pitch a few times, I’ll be able to tell you more. In the meantime, you can encourage JinAZ to choose some players to profile that I’ve actually watched play.
April 6, 2006
Chris Hammond is a left-handed relief pitcher who came to the Reds by way of free agency before the 2006 season. In his 16-year career, Hammond has played for Cincinnati (1990-1992), Florida (1993-1996), Boston (1997), Florida again (1998), no one (retired due to bone spurs in his elbow, family issues, etc 1999-2001), Atlanta (apparently the elbow felt better 2002), New York Yankees (2003), Oakland (2004), San Diego (2005), and Cincinnati again (2006). Hammond went 5-1 with a 3.84 ERA for the Padres last year.
Hammond qualifies as a “veteran presence.” When he appeared on the scene in Cincy in 1990, one of his teammates was Ken Griffey. Now he’s playing with junior Griffey, who’s starting to show his age.
The Reds brought in Hammond not as a role player in the bullpen, but as a role player in the clubhouse. And according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, he’s already talking to the young’uns:
“I try to tell the other guys on the team, ‘Don’t expect to be the setup guy or the closer,’ ” Hammond said. “After the fourth inning you should start stretching, and that’s the role I want and expect to have.”
Hammond is hardly a flame-thrower: his fastball might touch the upper 80s. That’s OK. According to ESPN.com, Hammond’s real strength is pinpointing his change-up. They also point out that he fields his position well, so that ought to be a nice change of pace.