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Memorable Moments: Todd Frazier
  • Posted on July 14, 2014 5:22:36 PM
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  • PISCATAWAY, N.J. (July 14, 2014) – With Todd Frazier set to take part in his first MLB Home Run Derby and All-Star Game this week in Minnesota, Glen “Beef” Gardner” takes a look back at some of his memorable moments during his time at Rutgers. Gardner, who is currently the director of baseball operations, recruited Frazier and coached him.

    On first finding out about Todd Frazier and recruiting him…

    Beef: “Todd was easy to find out about. His oldest brother Charlie, we had him coming to Rutgers and he ended up getting drafted and signing out of high school, so we never got him. But then we got his second brother Jeff to come to Rutgers. He had an outstanding career and ended up in the big leagues himself. Then I remember seeing Todd as a freshman (in high school) and I said, “Here’s the next Frazier.” I made sure I saw him as many times as I humanly could. As the years went on, we began recruiting him, and things were all going very well until it got towards the end when the signing period was coming, and he ended up going on a visit down to Clemson. As that story goes, I saw his father at a ballgame, and he mentioned to me that Clemson might be too much for us to battle, and (Todd) might end up going to Clemson. I can still remember that was a very bad three or four days of my life. I waited for him to come home from Clemson to see if he was going to go there or possibly come to Rutgers. Luckily for us and Rutgers, he ended up giving us the OK. I never asked him why he chose us over Clemson, because I really didn’t care. He came to Rutgers.”

    On the 2007 Big East Tournament…

    Beef: “We just got by July 4 and there are a lot of fireworks on July 4, but the ’07 Big East Tournament had more fireworks, mostly by Todd Frazier. If you really think about it, the last three weeks of the year, he just all of a sudden erupted. I remember looking at the stats and he had 10 or 11 home runs getting towards the end of the year, and all of a sudden the last three weeks happened and he went all the way up to 22. He finished in the Big East Tournament, and that was a good tournament too because us and Louisville, I believe, were great teams. We got to the end of that, and it seemed like every time he went up, I didn’t even look at him hit, I was looking at where it was going to go, because he was in such a zone when he hit. It was great for the rest of the team because pitchers didn’t want to pitch to (Frazier) that much, so it got a lot of the other guys a lot of good pitches to hit and was probably one of the reasons we won that tournament, because of Todd. Not only all the home runs he hit in that tournament, but the fact that he helped all our other players. As everyone knows, the best players are what make the rest of your team better, not only themselves. That’s what Todd did, not only for the tournament but the whole year. That year is going to be remembered in Rutgers history.”

    On Frazier’s home run in the 2007 championship game…

    Beef: “It went right in the cyclone. That place is not an easy place to hit home runs at all. The winds are blowing, and there are places you can’t hit it over the fence, except him. And his home runs were not only over the fence but maybe in somebody else’s yard. It was amazing. I never saw anything like it.”

    On Todd Frazier’s walk-off home run against Connecticut…

    Beef: “The story behind the walk-off home run is yes, it was 9-1, we were coming back, and the late innings came around and we still needed to get some runs. We started to get some guys on base and we were scoring a couple. It went to the ninth and we were down one with the  legendary Todd Frazier about to come up with one out. Coach Hill tried to call timeout to give him a quick word, but it was too late. The pitcher threw the ball and it went over the fence and Rutgers wins, walk-off home run.”

    On Moose batting Todd first in the order…

    Beef: “Todd hit first in our order mostly because on that team, we wanted to get him up as many times as we could, to give us a better chance to win. That ’07 team was so good, we were so deep. The right fielder, left fielder, shortstop, second baseman, first baseman, catcher and two of the pitchers were all drafted. These were really good players, so we could afford to put Todd to the top of the order and still have good depth in our lineup with the middle of our lineup. We really didn’t have any holes.”

    On the 2007 game against Cincinnati in which Todd hit two home runs in the first inning…

    Beef: “It’s hard to hit two home runs in the first inning if the rest of your team doesn’t get you a few hits along the way to get you up twice in the first inning. Now, Todd obviously was a great hitter and hit a lot of home runs against a lot of people, but that day he was really on with two in the first inning. I was pretty excited, I thought I was going to see four or five on that day, but it didn’t happen. One day we might. Maybe we’ll see it in the big leagues.”

    On Frazier’s hitting style…

    Beef: “Todd has a beautiful hitting style. Everybody hated his hitting style from when he was young, where he would bar his bottom arm, something you don’t teach anybody to do. When he came to Rutgers, we tried to get him not to do that. We could do that on a batting tee and we could get him to be perfect and have the prettiest swing you ever saw, but as soon as somebody threw a ball at him, his bottom arm barred out. The way he hit the ball, I would just keep my mouth shut. He would ask me all the time, “Was that better? Is that better?” And I would have to lie right to his face and say, “Yes. That was better.” When he hit it, the ball did some crazy things.”

    On how Frazier has evolved in the major leagues…

    Beef: “As a player, you could see it coming when he was here. He was always a leader and he always was in the game 100 percent. He learned that from Toms River South in high school. He learned very well, and he came through Rutgers and it was all the same thing. I watch him on TV and he’s such a confident kid, he’s always well-prepared and you can never really fool him. I think that’s what it is. When you’re confident in what you’re doing, obviously the confidence just is shown to everybody, and you’re going to become a leader that way. To be a great ballplayer the way he is, that helps too. He started out in the Little League World Series, he won that, and that stuff matters. He’s learned from it his whole life. That’s why he is where he is right now.”

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