“It seems like yesterday,” said the Oakland Athletics manager, who was introduced along with all of his 1980 teammates before Saturday’s game between the Bears and rival Stanford. “I’ve seen some of them from time to time, going to the basketball games. I’ve seen Mr. Milano here quite often.”
Milano is Bob Milano -- the manager of that 1980 team, who managed Cal for 22 years and has his number hanging on the outfield wall.
“It’s 7,” Milano interjects, reminding his old catcher of his ubiquitous nickname.
“It’s 35 years ago,” Melvin continued, “and you remember like it was yesterday. It was a long time ago, yet those memories stay pretty close to you, because we did some great things and did some really dramatic things.”
One of the players on that team – shortstop and co-captain Rod Booker -- has a son -- Austin Booker -- who was a starter on the 2011 College World Series team, was recently in the Athletics system.
“It’s not so much a surprise now, because I’m getting second generation guys playing for me, from guys that I played with in the big leagues, too,” Melvin said.
Melvin has two former Cal Bears on his roster currently, and while Marcus Semien isn’t a second-generation Cal ballplayer, per se, his dad did play football for the Bears. Mark Canha will be in the lineup tomorrow, despite the return of left fielder Josh Reddick, after his white-hot start, as he’s gone 8-for-20 with 5 runs, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 6 RBIs and 13 total bases in his first four Major League games.
Semien has taken hold of the A’s starting shortstop gig, and doesn’t look like he’s giving it up any time soon, starting the season 8-for-23 (.348) with 2 doubles, 6 RBIs, a .810 OPS and showing a lot of athletic range at short.
“They’ve been terrific, both of them,” Melvin said. “Semien, we knew we had a role for, and Canha really had to play his way into it, and all he’s done is play his way into the starting lineup, now, so it’s been great, it’s terrific that both of them get to play here, where they went to school. There’s a lot of pride involved with that. I know that first hand.”