Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (April 21, 1997)
it all in stride
on path to top
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Nine
tired baseball players, half-dressed
and dirtied with grass and tobacco
stains, encircled a pair of tables in
the Anaheim Angels’ clubhouse Sat
urday night, eating off paper plates,
playing cards and talking quietly.
Seven more Angels ate near
their oversized lockers at Kauffman
Stadium after Anaheim’s 7-3 loss
to Kansas City. Two players talked
with a small group of reporters and
several others headed in and out and
of the showers at the far west end
of the contemporary locker room.
Then there was Darin Erstad.
The first pick of the 1995 Ma
jor League Draft faced his locker,
staring at his gray and navy blue
No. 27 jersey. He didn’t talk. He
didn't smile. He just thought.
Soon Erstad stood. He peeled off
His white T-shirt, unveiling an up
per body noticeably larger than it was
two years ago when he last wore a
Nebraska uniform, and he headed for
the shower, never altering his trade
mark, tight-lipped expression.
That is Darin Erstad. If Anaheim
had won Saturday, he would have
acted the same way. If Erstad had
knocked in the winning run or col
lected four hits, he would have
acted the same way.
Kansas City ace Kevin Appier, a
seven-year major-league veteran,
tormented Erstad the way the 22
year-old Angel someday soon will
baffle opposing pitchers and manag
ers. He’s already started his hit pa
rade, batting .333 through 16 games
in his first full big-league season.
He shows the poise and wisdom
reserved for veterans, yet in many
ways he’s still a lot like a rookie.
Three hours before flying out to left
field in his first plate appearance
Saturday, the humble youngster
chatted with three reporters near the
office door of Anaheim Manager
wnar are you, a nero around
here or something?” Angels’ first
base coach Dave Parker barked in
Erstad’s ear while reaching for a
cup of coffee. “You get some hits
“What all do you talk about? It
can’t be your looks.”
Erstad took the razzing in stride,
much like he does everything else.
Even life in Los Angeles hasn’t
rattled die impossible-to-faze Erstad,
who has chosen down-to-earth
Fargo, N.D., as an offseason home.
And after a year' in Southern
California’s fast lane, he still doesn’t
do much more than drive to and from
Anaheim Stadium every afternoon.
“I have no interest in going out
and seeing the sights,” he said. “But
I’m happy. I just want to play. If
we’re winning, great. That’s what
it’s all about”
For Erstad, there is nothing else.
Sherman is a senior news-edi
torial major and a Daily Nebras
kan senior reporter.
DARIN ERSTAD tries to tag the Kansas City Royals’ Dip Roberts on Saturday. Erstad has adjusted well to
playing first base this season, Anaheim manager Terry Collins said.
Erstad grasps new position
By David Wilson
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — All
Darin Erstad wants to do is play.
When newly hired Anaheim
Manager Terry Collins called him
last winter and asked him about
moving to first base, Erstad—who
had never played the position be
fore — saw his opportunity.
“They all told me that he could
run and that he’s going to be a good
outfielder,” Collins said. “But we
had a good outfield and I wanted
to get him in the lineup.”
With the help of future hall-of
famer Eddie Murray, Erstad
learned the new position and com
mitted no errors in spring training.
The 22-year-old also batted .274
and knocked a team-high four
home runs, cementing his spot in
the Anaheim lineup and establish
ing himself as one of the Ameri
can League’s best young hitters.
An offseason trade sent gold
glove first baseman J.T. Snow to
San Francisco—opening up a spot
in the lineup. Collins wanted
Erstad to fill die hole.
“I was pretty much told that
(the position) was mine to lose;”
Erstad said. “But I had to prove
that I could play there. Fortunately,
I was good enough.”
Sixteen games into the season,
Erstad is batting .333 and has
proven himself as a solid defensive
He's got a
than a lot of
“He’s already made half a
dozeaoaJstanding plays,” Collins ,
said- “This is no longer a conver
sion. This guy is a good first'
Murray, who has spent the ma
jority of his 20-year career at first
base, agreed that Erstad is a natu
ral at the position.
“There have been very few
things that I’ve had to teach him,”
Murray said. “I just try to get him
to think ahead of time — to know
what you’re going to do with the
ball before it’s hit to you.
“I think if anybody came and
saw him play first base at this par
ticular time, they wouldn’t believe
that he had just come over there.
He’s just really taken to it”
Erstad said he’s enjoyed learn
ing from Murray.
“Eddie Murray has been great,”
Please see ERSTAD on 10
selection of eight
players in NFL Draft.
By Mike Kluck
Relief, excitement and happiness
were the emotions of eight former
Nebraska football players as they
learned their foot
ball careers will
continue in the
The eight —
which was the
taken in the NFL
Draft since 1980
when the draft was
12 rounds — all
said they are look
ing forward to the chance at continu
ing their football careers.
“I’m prepared to play,” former
Husker comerback Michael Booker
said. Booker wa$ the highest M5
ing the 11th overall selectibh by At
Please see DRAFT on 11
By Gregg Madsen
Two feet, one mat and no hops,
wobbles or shakes.
In gymnastics, those ingredients
—. ... - ■—
Please see NELSON on 11
’• . :' 1 . :, .. *
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