Padres Prospect Interview: The Grit Man

Sometimes an interview is so engaging that the story tells itself. San Diego Padres tenth round draft pick Christopher Kolkhorst is that man. Kolkhorst began the year in Eugene with the Emeralds before moving to the Fort Wayne Wizards in time to help the team to the playoffs. Enough of the background, here is the story of "The Grit Man."

Christopher Kolkhorst: You got time? I'll try to give you the short version. I went to junior college my freshman year, Blinn Junior College in Brenham, Texas, and one of my teammates growing up, we lived in the same neighborhood, we went to the same high school, and he was a year older than me, Dane Bubella, he actually led this league in hitting last year, with Spokane.

He was a year ahead of us, in his second year of junior college while I was a freshman.

He always told this story about this guy name Grit Man who played there I guess a year ahead of me, two years ahead of me, so he wasn't there while I was there, and he was supposedly the toughest guy.

He got hit by a pitch and he fell asleep with dip in his mouth and kept dirt in his drawers, and they called him "Grit Man."

You always talk about toughness, so junior year at Rice, I started getting hit by a lot of pitches and Bubella, we roomed together one year because he went to Rice and then I followed him to Rice, so basically, high school, junior college, and college we played together, and we were warming up before games…

I'm the type of guy who can get under your skin easy, I just love doing it.

I started saying "I'm the Grit Man, I love getting hit by pitches, I'm so tough."

He said, "You're not the Grit Man." He got pissed. "You're too much of a pretty boy, you can't ever be the Grit Man."

Anyway, it went on through the season, and after we won our Super Regionals to go on to Omaha, I made jokes amongst the guys: "If we go on to Omaha and we win it all, you have to call me Grit Man."

He was like, "Ok, if we win it all, you're the Grit Man."

And the nickname was born. I don't know, whatever way you want to look at it.

There is the inherent problem to overcome of course. Most people get the name from someone else. Kolkhorst made up his own name.

Christopher Kolkhorst: Yeah, for awhile I was the self-proclaimed Grit Man, and that was his biggest argument:

"You can't give yourself your own nickname! You can't do that!"

And I was like, "Why not?"

Has the nickname Grit Man carried on now that you have moved forward?

Christopher Kolkhorst: Kind of. All my friends took it on.

When I don't play baseball I watch the games on ESPN with Harold Reynolds. Someone had the story and they told it pretty good on TV.

I taped it and went back and listened and told my buddies back home, "Call me Grit Man."

A legend is born and a nickname with it.


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