Craig Counsell is an all around good guy. A two time World Series Champion, he’s the kind of guy kid’s look up to. Just ask my older brother Zach. When Zach was nine, he thought Craig was the best player in the world and wrote to him all the time. At that time, Craig was with the Florida Marlins. The Marlins had just won the 1997 World Series, and Craig was a hero in South Florida. My mom would take Zach to the Marlins games when they came to Houston. They met by chance at a game, and after that they became friends. One year, Zach was invited to the Marlins spring training camp in Viera, Florida, and hung out with Craig for the day. We got to go on the trip with Zach, and it was pretty exciting, but of course to Zach, it was the best day ever.
Craig was traded from the Marlins to the Dodgers and then to Diamondbacks, before landing in Milwaukee, his hometown, two years ago. Last season, he was traded back to the Diamondbacks and is very happy.
To this day, Zach and Craig still see each other every time he comes to town, and they stay in touch. Zach is 15 now and their friendship has continued. To me, that is what makes a champion. Not just winning the World Series or a big game, but knowing you have influenced a kid along the way, and been a good role model and friend.
MM: Is there a big difference between playing in Arizona and Milwaukee?
CC: Not too different. It’s still major league baseball, and you meet different guys and make new friends, and other than that, it’s about the same.
MM: What was it like going back and playing in Milwaukee, the town you grew up in?
CC: Well it was pretty cool for any kid who grew up wanting to play major league baseball. To be able to play in the town that you grew up was a great opportunity.
MM: Did you have a favorite place to play between Arizona and Florida?
CC: With both the Diamondbacks and the Marlins, we won the World Series, so both those were a lot of fun. It’s tough to top that.
MM: Do you feel there is a great responsibility being a role model?
CC: I think it is a responsibility, but if you are a good person and you try to live your life as a good person, then everybody’s a role model. That’s how I think of it.
MM: What would you have done for a job if you weren’t a baseball player?
CC: That’s a good question. I’m not sure. I haven’t had to find out yet. I went to college and have a degree in accounting, so maybe something like that.
MM: What do you consider as your greatest strength as a player?
CC: Probably defense. I can play a bunch of positions so probably just kind of being versatile for the manager to be able to go to a couple different positions.
MM: Have things changed for you now that you’re a dad?
CC: It’s changed quite a bit. It’s a great thrill and it’s wonderful, and it changes your perspective in what things you consider important. I love it every day being a father.
MM: Who would you consider to be your biggest fan?
CC: (laughs) That’s a loaded question. I can’t say one person, but I have a lot of great fans, and their support is great and I’m glad they enjoy watching me.
MM: If you were stuck on an island, which of these things would you want with you. A good book, a good movie or a good CD?
CC: I’d probably have a good book. It would last longer.
MM: What book?
CC: I’d take a long one.
MM: What is one thing in your locker that would shock people to know?
CC: I don’t have anything crazy in there. Just the normal stuff.
MM: What is the last good book that you read?
CC: The Da Vinci Code.
MM: Best movie?
CC: Lost in Translation. I like Bill Murray. He’s funny.
MM: Who influenced you most in life and why.
CC: My parents, for sure. They’re the ultimate role models, so my parents were the biggest influence.