Thursday, May 15, 2008

TDBR Interviews Jim Poole

The Dave Burba Revolution recently had the pleasure of chatting with former Cleveland Indians pitcher Jim Poole. Poole was a solid relief arm for the Tribe in the 1990's, however most fans will always associate him with 6 of the 1995 World Series--he was the losing pitcher of record. We spoke with Jim last Thursday from his home in Webster, NY.

TDBR: Hello Mr. Poole, how are you?

Poole: I'm doing alright, taking it easy.

TDBR: That's good to hear. So tell me, what's a day in the life of Jim Poole like these days?

Poole: Well, its not too exciting I'm afraid. I wake up around 7, go for a quick jog, head to work for about 8 hours, and then just come home and spend some time with my family. That's really it. I like to ride my four-wheeler, but that's more of a Saturday thing, you know?

TDBR: Sure do. What field of work are you in?

Poole: I work for my wife's father, at a place called Sorbodex Inc. We buy and sell gages for propane tanks.

TDBR: Very cool.

Poole: Its actually a really fun job, believe it or not. Everyday is a new adventure.

TDBR: Do you miss baseball?

Poole: I would be lying if I said I didn't. I just miss being around the guys I played with day in and day out. They really become like your family, and then they disappear from your life.

TDBR: When's the last time you threw a baseball?

Poole: Well, I threw one the night before last, I was trying to hit a raccoon that was in my garbage. And I also play catch with my kids all the time.

TDBR: Nice. So, I'm from Cleveland -- I'm just going to get right into what all us Indians fans are wanting to hear you talk about. 1995 World Series, 6th inning of game 6.

Poole: Yeah, I knew that was coming. It is what it is. We had a great team that year.

TDBR: Do you remember the pitch you threw to David Justice?

Poole: Yeah, I remember the entire at-bat. I can remember the exact moment when I gave that pitch to David. He put a great swing on it and hit a world class home run off me. That entire season was such a great ride though, I hate to focus on the losses.

TDBR: Hold on, did you say "gave" him that pitch?

Poole: Yeah, I did. I served it up for him, total BP meatball. Looking back I suppose it was an important HR. At the time though I thought our offense would easily win that game for us--but they didn't.

TDBR: What? I'm not following, why would you give the Braves a run?

Poole: Haha, I wasn't giving the Braves a run, I was giving David Justice a home run. Listen, you have to remember, this was 1995. This was the World Series and this was David Justice. Remember his smile? He was it man, the hottest thing in sports. It was like taking a punch from Muhammad Ali, throwing a pass to Jerry Rice, or getting a kiss from Matthew McConaughey-- if your a woman that is.

TDBR: What!?

Poole: Come on man, pitchers in the NL were doing it all the time -- its was sort of in the baseball code. I mean, have you never seen Dave's dimples?

TDBR: Yes, I have seen them, but I just don't understand--

Poole: I know, I know I am aware this was game 6 of the World Series and Cleveland hadn't won since like 1742 and everything. I should elaborate on the whole situation. You see, a day before that game Paul Sorrento and myself visited a children's hospital. It was heartbreaking to see those kids. And each one I talked to had the same request, "give one up to Dave...for me." Now you try to look into the eyes of a sick kid, who's only request is to see their hero David Justice hit a World Series home run, and say no.

TDBR: They actually asked you to serve one up to Justice?

Poole: Yep, my own kids did as well. They wanted to brag to their friends.

TDBR: Did Mike Hargrove know about this?

Poole: He put on the official call for it. He actually ordered Ken Hill to do the same thing in game 4 but Ken refused. Ken was also not on the team in 1996.

TDBR: Wow, this is astounding. David Justice kept Cleveland from winning a championship in a way I never knew.

Poole: Hey, you guys will get there some day, that Derek Anderson guy is pretty awesome.

TDBR: Alright, thanks for your time Jim.

Poole: You got it.

This interview was conducted -- in my head -- on Thursday, May 8th via telephone.

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