Draft Day: Ed Sprague 1st rounder, full-time winner
*Ed Sprague, former Blue Jays No. 1 pick, college World Series winner, Gold medal winner in the Olympics and World Series winner with the Blue Jays now coaches at the University of the Pacific ….
By Clayton Richer
On the first day of the Major League amateur draft it seemed only fitting to interview with the former Blue Jays first round pick.
Ed Sprague is currently the head coach for the University of the Pacific baseball team and was a member of both Toronto Blue Jays teams that won back to back World Series titles in the early 90s.
Sprague is the only player to ever win a College World Series, an Olympic gold medal and a World Series championship. He was an integral member of two College World Series titles in 1987 and 1988 with the Stanford University Cardinal.
In 1988 Sprague was a member of the Team USA Baseball team that captured gold at the Seoul Olympic games.
If that was not enough Sprague then went on to win back to back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993 with the talent laden Blue Jays.
In the 1992 World Series Sprague hit a series altering game-winning home run in Game 2 off Atlanta Braves closer Jeff Reardon to tie the series 1-1 heading back to Toronto.
Sprague went on to play for the Pirates, Padres, Mariners and Red Sox before hanging up the spikes following the 2001 season. One thing is for sure the name Ed Sprague is synonymous with winning.
Ed Sprague Interview
1. What was it like growing up with father Ed Sprague in the majors and then working as a scout for the Baltimore Orioles, how did it influence your career?
I think at the time I didn’t think it was a big deal. But looking back having the ability to be around the game everyday was probably the biggest influence.
2. You are currently the head coach for the University of the Pacific ball team, any aspirations of coaching in the major leagues, and what attracted you to coaching?
I always felt like I was going to coach following my playing career but I didn’t know if that would be little league or pro ball. It would be great to coach in the major league but I would have had to take a different path. I was offered some pro jobs when I retired but wasn’t ready to commit right after my playing career. I wanted to spend some time at home with my wife and kids.
3. You are the only baseball player to ever win championships in the College World Series, Olympics and the World Series. What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I am most proud of being a good husband and father. As far as baseball goes each championship was special but I’ve always said our first NCAA title at Stanford stands out. Maybe because it was first or the fact we all lived together and spent 24/7 with each other for nine months.
4. You hit the game winning home run against the Atlanta Braves in Game 2 of the 1992 World Series. What do you remember about the at bat and the home run itself?
I remember being very relaxed for that at bat. I thought about taking the first pitch because Derek Bell had walked in front of me but I decided to go up swinging. I am glad I did.
5. In 1993 Joe Carter wins the World Series for the Jays with a home run off Mitch Williams, where were you and what do you recall from the moment?
I was in the dugout. I remember when Joe hit it. I thought Paul Molitor can score on that ball. It looked like the ball was going to be a double off the top of the wall but it got over and the rest is history.
6. Which Jays team was better the 1992 team or the 1993 team and why?
I am not sure you can compare. Both teams were great. We had I believe 11 different guys on the 1993 team vs 1992. But it’s tough chose when you replace Dave Winfield with Paul Molitor. Jimmy Key with Dave Stewart. Tom Henke with Duane Ward. All the great players who left were replaced by great players who had great years.
7. Who is the one pitcher that you struggled against personally and hated facing?
Randy Johnson had my number. But I did finally homer off him in my final at bat against him. Although I ended up something like 8-for-60 against him. Not very good.
8. What former teammate of yours belongs enshrined in the Hall of Fame?
I have been fortunate to have a lot of former teammates that have already gotten in but I think Jack Morris deserves to be in. He dominated the 80’s.
9. If you are the General Manager of a Major League team and can select any one pitcher and any one position player to build your franchise around. Who are they and why?
Not sure if you mean now or of all time. But of the guys playing now. Derek Jeter and Roy Halladay. I know they are older but that’s who I would chose based on work ethic and professionalism.
10. Who was the most superstitious player you ever played with and why?
Nomar Garciaparra. Nobody compares
11. Bonus Question:
One Word to describe following players:
Robbie Alomar – Instincts
Joe Carter – Ribbies
Paul Molitor – Professional
Ricky Henderson – Dynamic
Devon White – Floats
John Olerud – Smooth
Jack Morris - Competitor
Carlos Delgado – Power
Kelly Gruber – Athletic
Dave Winfield – Presence
Roger Clemens – Tenacious
Roy Halladay- Determined
You can follow Sprague on Twitter @EdSprague.