Dave Laurila’s Interview With John Trautwein

Today is a great day.

The Red Sox are raising the 2007 World Series Championship Banner at Fenway Park.  Sergeant Jamie Favreau will be on the field holding the Iraqi flag during opening ceremonies.

Red Sox interviewer extraordinaire, Dave Laurila, has agreed to share a portion of his interview with John Trautwein from his latest book, Interviews From Red Sox Nation, Revised and Updated.

Dave Laurila is the author of a regular column at Baseball Prospectus, writes for Baseball America, and in 2006 published Interviews From Red Sox Nation.  He is among the finest Red Sox writers around.

After you’ve enjoyed a portion of Dave’s  interview with John Trautwein, pick up his new book Interviews From Red Sox Nation, Revised and Updated. The book is widely available at bookstores and online at Maple Street Press.

Dave’s new book includes interviews with Jonathan Papelbon, Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Curt Schilling,  Jon Lester, Dan Duquette, Bill James, Bob Ryan, Don Orsillo, Joe Castiglione, Rico Petrocelli, Johnny Pesky, Oil Can Boyd and many more members of Red Sox nation.

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Here’s a portion of Dave’s interview with John Trautwein:

Everyone on the team knew that I had the chemistry degree and was in pre-med, and they let me know about it from time to time.  One day in Kansas City, Jim Rice came up to me as I was strolling across the outfield, from the bullpen, after yet another game where I hadn’t pitched.  He said, “Come on, I need your help.”  He walked us through the bowels of the locker room, where the equipment and the clubhouse staff were, and introduced me to one of the clubhouse boys.  He told me that the kid was having trouble with his algebra homework, and that maybe I could help him.  It turned out to be a story problem, where you had to calculate how long things would take based on certain variables, and I was able to figure it out.  As I was explaining it, I noticed that Jim was sitting there, intently staring at me.  As we were walking away, he said to me, “Traut, I know you’re not pitching much, but I want you to know that I would give anything to be able to do what you just did for that kid.”

The son of one of the radio announcers — I think it was Joe Castiglione — had a physics assignment where he was trying to figure out the distance of a home run Bo Jackson had hit off Oil Can Boyd – a real bomb that hit off the scoreboard.  I agreed to help him out, so the next day the boy came down after batting practice and we sat in the dugout to work on it.  I took the formula used to calculate distance and speed, and we were able to come up with the answer – something like 475 feet.  I was in full uniform, of course, and when I looked up I saw that about 40 reporters with cameras were watching us.  Sports Illustrated ended up doing a story on it in their “Inside Sports” section.  I believe that it was titled “Quantum Dinger.”

We were taking infield practice one day when Wade Boggs started calling me Einstein.  That was how many of the guys looked at me, because I was pretty unique in having graduated from college — there weren’t that many of us at the time.  Wade sat next to once and said, “Tell me about Northwestern.  You really went to class when you were there?”  I told him that I had.  Then Wade said, “You have a degree in chemistry.  Why the hell are you here?”  I said that I was there for the same reason everyone else was, to play ball.  He said, “But Traut, we have to be here.  You don’t have to play baseball to be successful.”

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I’d like to thank Dave and the good people at Maple Street Press for making this happen.