Scott Madison and Extra Credit

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Usually I can be pretty darn stat heavy in my articles and for good reason, everything can be measured in baseball. I was one of those kids in school that wasn’t very good at solving math problems but ask me to figure out Bret Saberhagen’s ERA and I was a wizard. How come there were never any baseball word problems! They always had two trains traveling at different speeds. Who rides trains anyway? Who cares about figuring out when one train will overtake another if one is traveling 20mph slower and left 2 hours earlier? Just check the schedule, it’ll get to the station when it gets there. In the meantime sit back relax and enjoy the scenery. Okay, back to baseball.

One of my favorite memories of baseball was in my 8th grade English class with teacher, Mrs. Parker (not the Mrs. Parker from the Friday movie). Mrs. Parker was cool because she liked baseball and she would always put an extra credit Royals question at the end of her quizzes and tests. And they would always pertain to the previous night’s game. Wow! Mrs. Parker made it possible for me to tell my mom that watching the Royals game was homework!

Still till this day, I remember one very particular question, “Who started at first base for the Royals last night?” Sounds simple enough, right? Of course, most of the class groaned at the question. I’m sure there were some answers like, George Brett, Steve Balboni or Frank White. Remember this is the 8th grade. All good guesses but all wrong. The correct answer gracefully flowed from my No. 2 pencil like a RUN DMC rap song. Scotti Madison…BOIY! OK, the boiy part isn’t true but Scotti Madison was right. Yep, that’s right, Scotti Madison. And it was spelled like that too. This is Mrs. Parker’s English class and spelling counted. Eventually, Mrs. Parker and I would have full-fledged conversations, in class, about the games. I was in heaven, even if it were for mere minutes, it was still heaven. I was in a cornfield. It was the only time that I felt confident enough to answer all the questions my teacher asked.

But as I recalled this childhood memory I began to wonder if I am the only Royals fan to remember Mr. Scotti Madison. I know the name Madison is considered a four lettered word in Kansas City right now but I still wondered.

Scott Madison was a 3rd round draft pick out of Vanderbilt by the Minnesota Twins in 1980. Then he was traded to the Dodgers in 1982 then purchased by the Tigers in 1984. In 85 he got his first taste of the big leagues playing 6 games for the Tigers. Eleven at bats with zero hits. In 86 he got seven more at bats with zero hits. Peter Gabriel had more hits in 86 than this guy! After those two sledgehammer years he hit free agency and signed with the Kansas City Royals.

The year was 1987 and Scotti was a catcher, third base and first baseman that was having an excellent year for the Triple A Omaha Royals. The 27 year old was hitting .271 with 22 home runs and 83 RBIs. Those kind of stats could earn a ball player a September call up to the bigs. And it did. On September 11th 1987, in the 8th Inning, Scotti Madison entered the game at first base replacing Hall of Famer George Brett. He came up to bat in the following inning with two outs, nobody on base and the Royals up 9-0. With a career batting record of 0 for 18 wouldn’t it be great if he could get his first career hit batting for George Brett. It didn’t happen. He grounded out to the shortstop. (This isn’t a Disney story).

Ah, but maybe it is. A few weeks later, on October 2nd 1987, The now 0 for 22 hitter came up to bat in the 2nd inning against the Minnesota Twins’ Frank Viola. One of the toughest pitchers in the game at the time. He promptly doubled to left for his first major league hit. He added another double in the 5th and one more in the 6th. All against Frank Viola. (Call Disney, we got a feel good story here! Ok, maybe not Disney, how about the Lifetime channel?)

He would get one more hit that year to bump his career total to 4 hits in 33 at bats. Or just 2 more hits than I got playing freshman high school ball. Scott would go on to get 6 hits in 1988 and 17 more for the Cincinnati Reds in 1989. After that he called it a career at the ripe old age of thirty.

In 2012 he published a book called, Just a Phone Call Away: A Major Journey through the Minor Leagues. After his career ended he sold insurance for Aflac and became the number one salesman out of 60,000 agents. In addition to being an author, he is a motivational speaker and resides in Acworth, Georgia.

Scotti Madison may live in Georgia but he also has a permanent residence in Mrs. Parker’s 8th grade English class. His career may have been short and his stats may have been few but by chance, coincidence or whatever it forever connects me to him through memory. It was all made possible not only through the game of baseball but through a cool teacher who loved the game just as much as I did. 

We once made a fake paper in class and I wrote an article about Don Baylor possibly coming to play for the Royals. I copied it straight out of the The Kansas City Star, completely clueless that it was wrong. But did Mrs. Parker say anything to me about it? Heck yes she did! To say the least, I failed that little project. But I'd like to say thanks Mrs. Parker for the quizzes and the baseball conversations.

I am proud to have the opportunity to share these stories with you 28 years later (hopefully with proper English and Mrs. Parker's approval). And with this media I'm grateful that I can go back to May 30th, 1988 and give a well overdue thank you to Mr. Scotti Madison for starting at first base the day before. I really needed the extra credit.

 

Photo from scottimadison.com

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Author: Jason Ulitschan

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