Gil Meches Legacy

Very interesting blog post by Tyler Kepner over at the New York Times Baseball Blog on the Gil Meche, the former Timber Rattlers pitcher who retired last week.

Lou Piniella, Catfish Hunter, and Ron Guidry all figure into the story.  But, this is the excerpt that involves his time with the Rattlers.

Meche is only 32, but he turned pro at 17 and has spent nearly half his life in the game. He understands that the only way to enjoy the grind is to fully invest yourself in it – body, mind, spirit. He has made enough money not to need the $12 million. And he has always been headstrong.

Bryan Price, the Cincinnati Reds’ pitching coach, was the Mariners’ minor league coordinator when Meche was a prospect. Meche came into his own at Class A Wisconsin in 1998, but he told his pitching coach that he did not want to go to instructional league. Price was summoned to change his mind.

“I sat down with Gil and said, ‘I heard you don’t want to go,’” Price said. “He said, ‘I really don’t.’ I said, ‘You mind telling me why?’ He said he just felt like it had been a long year, he had thrown a lot of innings, and he didn’t see the benefit.

“I laid it on him pretty thick: how badly we wanted him there, how he could go and improve, how he was a high-risk draft choice for us and he had an obligation. I told him to think about it and call me back tomorrow. He still wouldn’t go.

“At the time, that was looked at as a negative. However, you need a certain amount of that. You need to get to a point where you know what’s best for you, and Gil was already there. I think his decision in Kansas City sheds a positive light on that attitude. He’s stubborn and willing to stand on principle.”

There is also this:

Meche, who is divorced, also wanted to spend more time with family — his three children, yes, as well as his parents and sisters and extended family in Louisiana. He is living in an R.V. at a campground while he looks for a new home in Louisiana, where he plans to settle for good.

“I want to get back to what I remember as a kid, the way of life here in Louisiana,” Meche said. “We tend to think we live a little differently down here. It’s a lot of culture, a lot of French culture. Everywhere I’ve been in the country, for some reason, this is the place I can’t get away from.”

Good luck, Gil. We’d love to have you up to Appleton some time in the future.

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