Yours truly had the opportunity to umpire Henry Clay High School baseball games when John Shelby II, more affectionately known by those close to him as "T3's" father was playing third base. John "T-bone" Shelby, who is now coaching for the Pittsburgh Pirates with his former Dodger manager Jim Tracy, went on to play in a World Series with the Los Angles Dodgers.
We asked John Shelby what he expected from his team this season? He said they have a few junior college transfers that they expect to contribute heavily," he said. "We have a lot of experience returning we can draw off of. There's going to be competition for playing time competition for playing time."
Though no position is ever sown up but in Shelby's case he likely assured of more than his share of playing time. Last season he led the team with 10 home runs, 52 RBI, and also sported a .344 batting average.
He spent a good bit of his time his freshman and sophomore years roaming center field and a little bit a short stop. This season he is slated to log most of his time at second base.
"John's going to play 2b but if we put him in the outfield, he could probably be one of the top three centerfielders in America," Coach John Cohen assuredly said. "John has a chance to be on TV and he's going to have a great Pro career just like his father."
Shelby is going into his junior year and is not draftable in college until after his junior year. Players can get drafted straight out of high school or out of junior college.
Shelby said he played a little of second base at the end of last season but this will be his first full year at the position. "I played mostly in the outfield last year and at shortstop and we had a real good shortstop coming in," T3 said, "and I told coach I could play second base. I like to be close to the action."
He said when he came out of Tates Creek High School, North Carolina Charlotte, NC State, and Clemson recruited him. What made him choose UK instead? "The SEC and playing in front of my family and friends and my home town," he said.
Does the weather affect you playing here at UK? "I chose this place and you can't be affected by the weather. You just have to go out there and play regardless of the situation or circumstances."
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