10/22/07 5:00 PM ET
Heart of the Order: Jamey Carroll
By Owen Perkins / Special to MLB.com
He especially remembers what his mother would tell scouts who were concerned about Carroll's 5-foot-9 stature."She said, 'You know, he's not that tall, but he's an infielder, and I think it helps him, because it makes him that much closer to a ground ball,'" Carroll recalled. "I was like, 'Oh, Mom, perfectly said!'" It was Carroll's dedication to preparation and maximum effort that won him over to scouts and later to managers, teammates and fans who claim him as a favorite. As Carroll explains, he was drafted on the basis of his effort running out a pair of grounders to shortstop and the pitcher. "You can have a bad day of hitting, or a bad day of fielding, but you can never have a bad day of trying as hard as you possibly can," Carroll said. Coming up through the Minors, Carroll supplemented his salary by substitute teaching K-12 classes, and whether in his teaching days, working with his charitable foundation, or simply talking to kids as a big league hero, Carroll shares his experience of flipping the chorus of "can'ts" he heard on the way up into something positive. "I was told growing up in the game, 'You can't do these things,' and now I've turned those can'ts around," Carroll tells kids. "Now people say, 'I can't believe you're playing there,' and, 'I can't believe you're living your dream.'"
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.