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Chad Moeller Interview: From MLB Catcher to Coaching- Living the Baseball Dream

Saturday March 10th, 2012

MLB reports – Jonathan Hacohen: Today’s featured guest on MLB reports needs no introduction. But he is still getting one anyways! Chad Moeller was a catcher for seven teams over eleven MLB seasons. The man won a World Series and hit for the cycle. Few players can say that. To say that Chad has lived the dream would be an understatement.

Here is a rundown of Chad’s baseball bio:

Chad Moeller Bio

Born: Upland, California

College: University of Southern California – Majored in Economics
1st Team All Pac Ten in 1996.
College World Series 1995

Professional:
Drafted and Signed with the Minnesota Twins in 96 (7th Round)
Major League Debut in 2000 (Twins)
Arizona Diamondbacks 2001-03
Milwaukee Brewers 2004-2006
Cincinnati Reds 2007
Los Angeles Dodgers 2007
New York Yankees in 2008
Baltimore Orioles in 2009
New York Yankees in 2010

Individual Accomplishments:
Caught in over 500 major league games
Hit for the Cycle in 2004
Catcher for Randy Johnson 2002-2003
Caught Randy Johnson’s 16 strike out game
Caught Ben Sheets’ 18 strike out game
Played in the Big Leagues for 11 seasons
Played professional baseball for 16 seasons
Member of 2001 AZ Diamondbacks World Series Team

Resides: Scottsdale, Arizona since 2001

(courtesy of Chad Moeller Baseball, via chadmoellerbaseball.com)

Chad was drafted by the Twins in 1996 and made his major league debut in 2000. He then moved on to the Diamondbacks and won a World Series in his 2nd season! Chad showed a consistent bat in Arizona but made his biggest mark on the game from behind the plate. With a reputation for being one of the strongest defensive catchers, Chad Moeller’s reputation is well-known in baseball. Chad may no longer be playing ball, but he is still very active in the game. He created Chad Moeller Baseball (chadmoellerbaseball.com), which I would rate as the best baseball instructional site that I have ever seen. If you haven’t seen one of Chad’s videos on YouTube, get on it. You will learn about the game, laugh and become a better player all at the same time. I have included a couple of samples from Chad’s vast library.

As part of the interview process, I have really enjoyed getting to know Chad for many reasons. Firstly, the man has been there and done it all. But yet he is as down-to-earth as they come. Talking to Chad, I felt like I was talking a good friend across the street. He is what I call “good people”. Chad respects the game. He loves the game. He doesn’t take any of his accomplishments for granted, or developed attitude over the years. Chad knows his strengths but also recognizes his limitations. He had to work hard to develop a major league career and grinded everyday for those seven years. That is the mark of a true baseball warrior and a player that fans can respect and admire. Chad is a symbol of true baseball. Real baseball. Getting your uniform dirty and busting your behind on every play. Blocking balls. Tagging out baserunners. Welcome to Chad Moeller’s World.

Today, Chad shares his fully baseball story. From coming up with the Twins, winning the big one with the Diamondbacks and his journey through the big leagues to coaching. This interview is a must-read for every baseball fan! Get ready to enter the mind of a true-blooded MLB catcher, as we present our interview with catching great, Chad Moeller:

Welcome to MLB reports Chad.  First question: back to the start of your career. A 7th round pick of the Twins back in 1996. Did you expect to be taken by Minnesota? Draft reactions at the time?

Thanks for allowing me to be on MLB reports.  This should be fun!  Back in ’96 I was playing at USC and so excited for the upcoming draft.  I really had no idea where I was going to be drafted.  I had heard several rounds, anywhere from the 3rd to the 5th.  Then three weeks before the draft, I was run over at Home Plate by a pick runner from UCLA in the 9th inning trying to tie the game.  In the collision I tore may ACL for the second time.  I played through a huge amt of pain for the next three weeks to try and cover it up.  My numbers fell as well as my draft status because of fears about my knee.  Most teams assumed it was torn and shied away from me.  Because of the injury  I was happy to be drafted at that point.  Mine ended up being the best situation a young player could hope for.

 

After you were drafted, it took 4 years until you made the majors. What was the journey like until being called up in 2000?

The journey was not easy.  But nothing with baseball ever was for me.  I was not the most talented player on the field. But I believed I could play and the Twins gave me that chance.

 

After being in the Twins organization your whole life, what was it like joining the Dbacks and playing for them for 3 seasons? Was it difficult leaving Minny?

The Twins was all that I knew.  I had a couple of friends on the team who gave me some good advice and it helped.  Bob Wells and Eric Milton told me it was a fresh start and I had a chance to make a new first impression.  I joined the Dbacks in Las Vegas for an exhibition game the day after I was traded. Flew all day and went into the most intimidating clubhouse for me.  The Dbacks were loaded in 2001 with nothing but big names.  All the players I had watched.  Mark Grace, Matt Williams, RJ, Curt Shilling, etc.  I got my first AB with the team that night in the 7th inning and hit a HR.  New first impression!

 

Your best seasons statistically were in Arizona. What was it about being with the Dbacks that brought you to your highest levels?

Great question. The ballpark was great to hit in and my swing was really working. Had some great coaches there. They can make all the difference.

 

Winning a World Series in your 1st season in Arizona. Can you even begin to explain the feeling?

No it is hard to explain going from last place to first place.  To get a ring was just a huge blessing.  But so was the WS check.  Bought our first house and got out of debt that the minor leagues can build up.

 

How do you compare the College World Series and the MLB version?

Both were fantastic, but I got a ring with one and not the other.  The college one I played an important part.  The MLB one… I was just along for the ride.

 

What was the feeling like leaving Arizona and joining Milwaukee?

Excited for a new opportunity.  I didn’t want to leave AZ but their plans had changed.  Milwaukee was great from a catching standpoint and for my family. But the hitting side stunk.  I could not hit there.  Lots of reasons, but that is where my career really took a change.  Starter- to backup- to being sent on my way.

 

In total you played for 7 Major League teams. Favorite memories from each?

Minn is where I started and had so many great friends.  I grew up there.  Inside-the-park HR.  AZ – WS and starting game one of the ’02 playoffs.  Mil- easy, the cycle.  Reds- playing for the team I loved growing up.  Dodgers- catching David Wells last game.  NY- First game against Boston. It was my 3rd game with the team and I went 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs and having Yankee Stadium chant “MVP” before my 4th AB.  It was my first game playing in NY for the Yankees. Also playing there in the last season of the old stadium.  Balt –  having a leadership role as a veteran.

 

You played the most physically demanding position in the game. Did you always know that you would be a catcher growing up?

Started when I was 11, as my cousin told me it was best way to the big leagues.  He played 11 years in the minors (Chris Cron).

 

How important was defense to your game? Is it difficult to juggle catching responsibilities with working on hitting?

Defense is how I stayed in the big leagues for that amount of time.  The bat had its moment and was good again at the end- but the opportunities were gone.

 

You played your last season in 2010. Was it tough to walk away from the game?

Yes, but I knew it was close.  The jobs were getting tougher to come by.  Spring of 2011 with the Rockies made it easier to realize.

 

Do you still keep in touch with many of your ex-teammates- any ones in particular?

Yes the I still have some good friend in the game.  Lyle Overbay. Our sons are on the same baseball team right now.  Jeff Liefer, we played little league and HS baseball together before playing with the Brewers together.  I also talk with Kevin Long the Yankees hitting coach all the time.

 

Did you have a favorite team growing up?

The Reds. My mom and dad are both from Ohio. Most of my relatives are still back there.

 

Since you left the game, I see that you have gone into coaching. Tell us all about Chad Moeller Baseball.

I was not ready to go back to Pro-ball and be away from my family.  I started Chad Moeller Baseball and teaching hitting and catching.  It has grown really quickly. Lessons, clinics and camps.  Then the website has taken off.  I put everything I teach on streaming video.  Step-by-step hitting and catching.  Most of what I found on the internet was by people who had not played in MLB and I wanted to share all that I learned. I made it really cheap to watch the videos, so that people could learn at home or whereever they could get on-line. The video analysis is what really makes the site interactive. Players from all over the country have told me that it has helped them improve and enjoy the game more.

 

If you could give one piece of advice to a young baseball player trying to make it to the show, what would it be?

Work as hard a you can so that you have no regrets when it is over. I have none (regrets) when it comes to baseball. Also take care of your grades if you’re not in pro-ball already. You will be a former baseball player longer then you will be a current baseball player (lord willing).

 

Will we be seeing you in the future in the major leagues in another capacity, perhaps a broadcaster or coach/manager?

One day… just not yet.  Maybe front office or on the field.  I love the game. But I’m not ready to go back on the road yet.

 

Final question Chad:  everyone at the end of the day wants to leave a mark on the game.  What do you most want to be remembered for as a professional baseball player?

That he got the most out of his ability and made every pitcher better when he was behind the plate.

 


***Thank you to Chad Moeller for taking the time today to speak with us on MLB reports.  You can follow Chad on Twitter (@ChadMoellerMLB). For all your baseball instructional needs, check out, bookmark and visit often chadmoellerbaseball.com. Good luck on Chad Moeller Baseball and we look forward to seeing you soon on a baseball diamond near us!***

 

Jonathan Hacohen is the Founder & Lead Baseball Columnist & Editor for MLB reports:  You can follow Jonathan on Twitter (@JHacohen)

 

Please e-mail us at: mlbreports@me.com with any questions and feedback.  You can follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.  To subscribe to our website and have the daily Reports sent directly to your inbox , click here and follow the link at the top of our homepage.

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About Jonathan Hacohen

I practice daily yoga. Most foods are organic. If you catch me in the supermarket, it will be in the produce aisle. Warrior 1 Yoga was born from my wish to help people be healthy and happy. I preach the 4 key's to life: nutrition, exercise, water and sleep. This is my journey - I am hope to meet you along the way to share a similar path!

Posted on March 10, 2012, in Interviews with MLB Stars and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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