by Sebastian Vannavong|
During his distinguished career, Greg Vaughn has posted a 50 home run season,
played in a World Series, been named to four All Star teams, and finished fourth in the MVP voting twice. Yet just this
May, he found himself in back in AAA battling to get back to the big leagues.
While many with his credentials would
have sulked or acted like the minor leagues were beneath them, Vaughn stayed positive and productive. In 34 games at
Colorado Springs, he hit .295 with 10 HR and 32 RBI before a June 4th call up.
"It was fun," Vaughn said of playing
at AAA . "My whole objective of playing is that I just wanted baseball to be fun again. (The game) has meant so
much to me for a large portion of my life, that I just wanted to go out there and have fun whether I finished there or I came
up -- I just wanted to have fun."
There was a time not long ago when baseball wasn't fun for Greg Vaughn. Last
season in Tampa Bay the veteran slugger was hitting a measly .163 before a shoulder injury ended his season after 69 games.
"I was hurt, and I didn't play after June 20th or so because of my shoulder," the California native explained. "It was
that and being frustrated after three years of losing 100+ games. All the negativity was just a frustrating experience
Vaughn is quick to point out that some of the misery he endured is of his own doing. "I made a choice to
go there, it's nothing against Tampa," he commented. "Maybe if I did what I was supposed to do, it would have been a
little more fun. I have to be accountable and responsible too."
Vaughn opened Spring Training with the Devil Rays,
but was released when the team decided to go in a different direction. The 37 year old took some time to re-evaluate
his career before signing a minor league deal with Colorado on April 9th.
"I went home -- I don't know if I thought
about quitting -- I just wanted to see what the future had for me," the 15 year veteran said. "I took it one day at
a time, thought I still had something to give to baseball, and wanted to get back here and play."
Vaughn entered this
season with 352 career home runs (11th among active players and 61st all time), but says the quest for 400 is not the driving
force for his return. "If I get it, I get it, if not I still had a great career," he commented. "If I do get it, it
will be awesome, if I don't it will be nothing to hang my head about."
Looking back, Vaughn says the 1998 season in
which he hit 50 home runs and helped the Padres capture the NL Pennant is the high point of his career. While he has
done a lot in the past, Vaughn still believes he still has a lot to offer a team, "(I bring) leadership, a dangerous bat,
and intensity," he said.
For now, however, Greg Vaughn is just enjoying life in the big leagues. "I am having fun,
I am happy," he said with a smile. "This is a good bunch of guys, a good team -- it's fun, baseball is fun again."
Zingler, July 2003
Vaughn @ Baseball-Reference.com
Simply Baseball Notebook