Times staff writer Pat Stoetzer recently caught up with Orioles utility player Steve Tolleson. They spoke about Tolleson's career, his cousin Rick Adair, and his funniest teammate.
Question: Everybody remembers their first big-league hit, but how special was that three-run home run you hit off Phillies ace Cliff Lee back on June 10?
Steve Tolleson: It's probably one of the biggest hits in my career, given where we were, and where we are in the race, and what was going on in that game. It was a lot of fun.
Q: Are those the moments that you try to savor long after they actually take place?
ST: Yeah ... and hopefully there will be more to come, but at the given time that was it.
Q: Have you noticed the mood in the clubhouse has hardly wavered this year, particularly given the recent struggles?
ST: We're a confident group of guys. You're not going to stay hot all year long. We're going to go through some ups and some downs. Unfortunately, lately it's been driving runners in. But I don't think it really fazes anyone. We'll end up getting the job done.
Q: You come from a baseball family, with your dad Wayne playing 10 years in the bigs. You're also cousins with Orioles pitching coach Rick Adair. Do you find time to chat with Rick about baseball and life?
ST: I have, [but] not too much. I talk to Rick every day, but I try to keep it professional. We are family but he is the pitching coach and I am a player. So there is a line that I try not to cross. It's unique and neat being in the same clubhouse as him. It's a lot of fun.
Q: Who was your favorite player when you were a kid?
ST: Growing up, [it was] Ken Griffey Jr. He was the hot thing in baseball at the time. He was definitely the one I followed.
Q: Who would you go pay to see play right now?
ST: I'd say Derek Jeter. I think if you ask most people in baseball who their favorite player is to watch, it's him. One, because he's a winner. Two, he's a leader. And he does everything the right way. Very impressive person to be around and to watch play.
Q: Who's the one guy who has you laughing the most in the clubhouse?
ST: There's all different sorts of personalities, but I'd say Chris Davis is one of the funniest guys around.