SCOTT HATTEBERG, HOW YA BEEN?
In 3 seasons with the Reds, Scott Hatteberg batted .291 in 291 games with a .384 on-base percentage. Always known as a tough out, he only struck out 503 times in 4,876 plate appearances over a 14-year career with Boston, Oakland and Cincinnati. When Hatteberg came to the plate, chances were good that he would put the ball in play and/or get on base.
One of the all-time “great guys,” Scott was popular with Reds players and fans alike. Author Michael Lewis, in his acclaimed book Moneyball, dedicated a whole chapter to Hatteberg and Scott was set to play himself in the screen adaptation of the bestseller until the movie was scrapped at the last minute.
I first met Scott in 2006 at Reds Spring Training in Sarasota. Immediately, I knew he was going to be a pleasure to work with. He was kind and agreeable and honored most, if not all, requests that came his way. As a player, whom I was around regularly, he was great but as a person he was even better. In 2007, I was the Reds media relations representative when the team was in Washington D.C. to take on the Nationals. One of my tasks that trip was to accompany Reds players on a visit to the National Naval Medical Center where they would meet and greet with soldiers who were gravely injured in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. There were only a handful of players who went on the visit, but not surprisingly, Hatteberg was one of them. That’s the kind of guy he was and still is and just an example of his immeasurable kindness and charity.
Following the 2008 season, Scott retired and is currently living in the Pacific Northwest area with his wife and beautiful daughters. And maybe most importantly, he still has an impeccable taste in music.
One of the first things I did when I was granted the opportunity to write Better Off Red, was to contact Scott to see if he’d be up for giving Reds fans an update on what he’s doing these days. Sure enough, he agreed.
BETTER OFF RED: Can you tell us what you’ve been up to since we’ve last seen you on the diamond?
SCOTT HATTEBERG: I’ve been really enjoying retirement here in Gig Harbor, Wa. My schedule has been pretty busy coaching my kids and traveling as much as possible. My first foray into little league was quite an eye opener. I thought the big leagues were intense! I also realized I’m probably the single worst underhand softball pitching instructor on the planet. So, I’ve got work to do.
BOR: I’ve heard more than one person say that you’d make a great manager someday. Has that ever appealed to you?
SH: Managing is something I’ve considered pursuing, but knowing how consuming that job is, I’m going to wait until my kids are a little older. Besides, I can do without the ulcers and grey hair for a little longer.
BOR: Can you list a couple of your favorite moments while you played in Cincinnati?
SH: I really enjoyed my time in Cincinnati. The park was awesome and I had some great teammates, but probably the coolest thing was getting to play with Ken Griffey Jr. Growing up in the Northwest, he was everybody’s favorite. Taking the field everyday with him was a huge thrill.
BOR: Now that you’re not playing, do you still watch the game? Do you still keep up with the Reds or any of your former teammates?
SH: I’ve found myself checking the box scores more than I thought I might. Of course I’ve tracked all my old teammates there in Cincy. It was really neat to see the progress those young guys were making. It looks like a really good team’s gonna come out of there in the not-too-distant future. I try and keep in touch with a few of the guys. I stay pretty close with Conine and Guardado, as well as the random message from Mr. Adam Dunn.
BOR: You have to know I’m going to ask this one, knowing your rich taste in good music, what was the last concert you attended and what are you listening to these days?
SH: Now we’re talking Jamie! The last show I saw was Lyle Lovett and John Hiatt in a little acoustic set. Very cool show. Of course, I’m a big Wilco fan as are you. I’m really liking their latest album. There’s a guy by the name of William Elliot Whitmore who has a really gravelly, front porch, bluesy sound who I’ve been liking. Elvis Costello’s new album is good and I think the Kings of Leon have a great sound. I’m always looking for recommendations though Jamie!
BOR: What are your thoughts on Hal McCoy and George Grande ending their long tenures in Cincinnati? Anything in particular you remember about either of them?
SH: It’ll be hard to forget Hal with his yellow shades and 8 inch unlit cigar and George with his great smile and kind words. They’re two of the classiest guys I’ve met in all my years in the game. Each were a couple of old school baseball guys you couldn’t help but like. I count myself lucky to have crossed paths with them.
BOR: This is probably a beautiful time of the year right now in the Northwest. Give us Midwesterners a description of the scene out there right now.
SH: The Northwest is tough to beat this time of year. The leaves are changing, the steelhead are running, the mountains are getting their first dustings of snow, and………….I’m gonna stop now before everyone decides to move over here. I guess I’m just biased.
SH: He’d sit in his locker reading Cosmo with 5 inch stilettos on.
BOR: List some of your favorite teammates through the years (they don’t have to be Reds).
SH: I’ve been lucky to have some great teammates but a few that stand out would have to be Trot Nixon, Jeff Conine and Mike Stanley. Besides being great friends, they were real professionals and big influences on me.
SH: I’m football illiterate and therefore am not invited into fantasy leagues. Besides, who has time for football when there’s steelhead in every river?
BOR: So before the Moneyball movie was scrapped, you were set to play yourself in the film?
SH: I was down in L.A. for 3 days doing prep work for the movie (costumes, sets, etc.) before they scrapped it. Apparently, they were as apprehensive to have me play myself as I was…Probably a good move.