August 16, 2013 by Wayne McBrayer with photos by Rebecca Herman
ON THE FARM IN TUCSON, ARIZONA
~~WITH CODY DECKER, JUNE 7-9, 2013~~
Baseball has had its share of colorful players over the years. Guys like Dizzy Dean, Bill Lee and Yogi Berra would leave fans laughing at their on the field antics and funny quotes. Modern players like Nick Swisher and Jonathan Papelbon have taken the torch of baseball comedian to new levels. When Cody Decker eventually makes it to the majors, he will be the new funny man in ways Yogi Berra would appreciate and love. “Anytime you hear the name Cody Decker you smile because he’s a really good guy,” said Tucson Padres GM, Mike Feder, when talking about Cody and his personality.
Growing up in Los Angeles, he started playing baseball in the yard with his brother. His brother would make Cody “play with him out front and letting me hit every day until I was 4 and then I had to pitch to him until I got him out.” He started playing t-ball at the age of 5 and the next year he went to Steve Garvey’s All-Star baseball Camp. I asked Cody if he ever met The Garv and he told us, “Yea, a couple of times, although he’ll never remember it. I saw him 3 or 4 months ago at a charity home run derby and I reintroduced myself to him and said hey, I was at your baseball camp that lasted a week and I told him this whole thing and he said thanks. He told me he was proud of me, which was great and I felt very accomplished by that. Great guy, nice guy.” He grew up “a massive Dodger fan, so Eric Karros and Mike Piazza were my 2 favorite players.”
He attended Santa Monica High school and was a three year letterman in baseball. In his senior season, Cody hit .490 with 12 doubles, 11 home runs and 40 RBI’s. He was recruited by UCLA where he became a 4 year starter for the Bruins playing “anywhere and everywhere.” As a senior, he hit .322 with 21 home runs and 53 RBI’s and became the first Bruin since Wes Whisler in 2002 to be a 2 time All-Pac Ten selection. http://www.uclabruins.com/ViewArticle.dbml?&DB_OEM_ID=30500&ATCLID=208182451
When the 2009 draft came, the San Diego Padres scooped him up in the 22nd round and sent him to Padres Arizona Rookie League where he hit .354 with 21 doubles, 3 triples, 15 home runs and drove in 63 runs. He finished 2009 in A Fort Wayne hitting only .111 in 18 at bats. Rather than return Cody to Fort Wayne for 2010, they promoted him to A+ Lake Elsinore where he continued to display a power bat hitting 28 homers to go with 90 RBI’s and a .270 batting average. In 2011, he was promoted to AA San Antonio where Cody suffered an ankle injury that caused him to miss part of the season. He spent some time back in the Padres Arizona Rookie League and headed back to San Antonio where he continued to display a power bat even in a part that eats up right handed power hitters. In 49 games, Cody hit only .237 but smacked 13 homers and helped lead the San Antonio Missions to the title in the Texas League and was named the MVP for the series. In 2012, Cody moved to the outfield but continued to show power hitting 29 home runs for AA San Antonio and AAA Tucson and showing an ability to play multiple positions and do a good job at each one. For this season, Cody is at AAA Tucson where he is playing 1B and hitting .275 with 14 homers as of this story.
Cody joked with us that he is happy that they still keep him around, “although I don’t know why. They seem to enjoy like my Twitter account.” In the off-season he is a bartender and I am sure when he retires from baseball, he will do stand-up comedy. Why do you ask? Just listen to this: YouTube
In the meanwhile, be sure to connect with Cody…. Follow on Twitter @Decker6
For his current stats with Tucson, click HERE
Kino Stadium is a wonderful ballpark where the staff ensures that there is something fun and exciting going on for the fans all the time. This is the last season for the AAA Tucson Padres as they will be moving to El Paso Texas for the 2014 season. Their last regular season home stand is August 21-29. See the complete schedule HERE so you can plan your visit to see this fun and winning team! Go early – Go often! Follow @TucsonPadres
Interview & Story by Wayne McBrayer, TheCasualFan
Editing & Photography by Rebecca Herman, TheBaseballPHD