Column: MCC's Self won numbers game Calliet
By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
Feb. 28, 2004
Meridian Community College outfielder Sam Self grew up idolizing a baseball player who played over 1,200 miles away Mickey Charles Mantle, also known as "The Man," "The Commerce Comet," or simply "Muscle."
Though the distance was great between Self's hometown of Madison and New York, where Mantle roamed the Yankee outfield for 18 seasons, the sophomore found a role model in the player, whose last season in the Major Leagues came before Self was born.
Self may not put up the power numbers that Mantle did during his career Mantle swatted 536 home runs and finished with a .557 slugging percentage but the Eagles outfielder does have a few things in common with the Yankee great.
Self posted a .364 batting average for MCC last season, while Mantle, who played about 90 more games a season, finished his career with a .298 average.
From 1956-1961 Mantle totaled double-digit numbers in base stealing, Self swiped a team-high 18 bases for the Eagles last year.
But the number nearest to Self's heart for what the young player has in common with Mantle is No. 7 the jersey number that the two now share.
Self didn't start out with the lucky number when he came to MCC last season.
The outfielder found out during his recruiting trip that Eagles assistant coach Chad Calliet also wore No. 7.
Self settled for No. 10 last season, but he made a deal with Caillet to try and win his number. The player and assistant coach agreed that if Self batted .400 for the season, he would get to wear the prized No. 7 this season.
The outfielder came up 36 percentage points shy of the deal in the regular season, but the team's trip to the 2003 Junior College World Series in Grand Junction, Colo., offered a new chance for him to win the number.
Caillet upped the batting percentage total to .500 at the World Series, with a clause that Self had to have at least 10 plate appearances.
Self didn't fall short of the agreed upon batting average in Grand Junction, as he went 6-for-10 at the World Series for a .600 average in three games. MCC finished fifth at the World Series, posting a 1-2 mark.
Even though Self earned his beloved number last season, the outfielder didn't have to look far for motivation this year to match or better his numbers for last season.
Self, who despite his personal quest for No. 7, will always tell you that the team comes first, and just like last year, his goal is that of every Eagle teammate.