March 2011

Matt Young gets the call for opening day

9 April 2008: Infielder Matt Young (6) of the Mississippi Braves, Class AA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, in the season’s home opener against the Mobile BayBears at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. Photo by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images

Infielder Matt Young, a long-time Minor Leaguer, got the word today that he’ll be on the Atlanta Braves’ 25-man roster on opening day.

Reports from the Braves’ beat writers indicate that Young was so emotional when he was given the news Sunday morning that he temporarily forgot to listen to anything else that was said.

Nobody in the Braves organization has worked harder to get a roster spot. Young, generously listed at 5 feet 8 inches, has had to work harder than anyone else to get noticed. He has been a perennial award winner and all-star.

He hit .300 last year at Triple-A, .358 just a few months ago in Mexico, and in his career was player of the week in the International League, Southern League, Carolina League, Best Hustler in the Southern League . . . and you get the picture.

Has his height kept him back? Probably, but he keeps hustling and winning awards. And now he finally got the call after being in the Braves organization since 2005.

I’ve photographed him for several years, including quite a bit when he was in Mississippi, and I haven’t seen very many players work as hard as he has. He deserves this shot.

Also selected to the opening day roster today were Brandon Hicks, also a long-time Braves farmhand, another feel-good announcement.

15 March 2009: Brandon Hicks in a game between the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros at the Braves’ Spring Training camp at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Photo by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images










Former Brave Hampton decides to retire

29 March 2008: Mike Hampton of the Atlanta Braves in an exhibition game against the Cleveland Indians at Turner Field in Atlanta, Ga. Photo by: Tom Priddy/Four Seam Images

Former Atlanta Brave Mike Hampton told the Diamondbacks staff this week that he plans to retire.

Mark Bowman of reports: “When Hampton left D-backs camp Thursday, he informed general manager Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson that he was leaning toward retirement. He returned Saturday morning to tell them and his teammates that he has indeed opted to retire.”

After a good start for the Braves in 2005, Hampton suffered an arm injury and eventually underwent Tommy John surgery. He never pitched well for the Braves after that, tried to make a strong return with several teams, and finally was with the Diamondbacks on a Minor League contract.

I shot this photo in March 2008, when he started an exhibition game with much anticipation. But despite a good start and tremendous determination to return, he never completed the expected comeback with the team.