On June 27, 2000,
privileged to interview
Newark Bears Owner
and former Major League
catcher Rick Cerone.
Rick Cerone knows baseball - having witnessed it from many angles. First, as a big league catcher for parts of 18 seasons (with the Indians, Blue Jays, Yankees, Braves, Brewers, Red Sox, Mets and Expos), he had the best seat in the house - behind home plate. Then, after his playing career, while serving as a color commentator at various times for the Yankees, Orioles, CBS Radio and Fox Sports, he had the view from the broadcast booth. And, most recently, as a former owner of the Wilmington Blue Rocks and as present owner of the Newark Bears, Rick studies the game from the owner's box.
In fact, Rick Cerone's most present post deserves further note. Already legendary in his home state of New Jersey - as the durable Frankie "Blimp" Hayes is the only New Jersey native to have caught more big league games to date - Cerone may yet become even more celebrated in the Garden State - as he is the man who brought professional baseball back to Newark, N.J., after a 50-year absence.
If you ever have an opportunity to attend a Newark Bears game, and see what a wonderful job Rick Cerone has done with this Atlantic League franchise, NetShrine recommends that you take advantage of it. Oh, but first, check out our interview............
Who's been your most influential mentor?
Rick Cerone: My father.
What are your short and long-term visions for the Newark
Rick Cerone: To spark interest and economic growth in Newark.
Describe the funniest thing that ever happened to you in the
Rick Cerone: Working with Phil Rizzuto.
When was the last time that you wore a pair of
Rick Cerone: Twenty years ago - at least.
When you were young, who was your favorite big league
Rick Cerone: Mickey Mantle.
Which baseball movie do you enjoy best?
Rick Cerone: Bull Durham.
Where's your favorite ballpark?
Rick Cerone: Fenway Park.
What's your most vivid memory from the 1983 Pine Tar Game?
Rick Cerone: George running out of the dugout.
FILL IN THE BLANK: "I'll never forget where I was when
Rick Cerone: JFK was killed.
As an owner of a professional baseball franchise, do you
ever find yourself wondering "What would Steinbrenner do?"
Rick Cerone: Not really. Just that it's tons of work.
Intermission Lightning Round:
Pretzels or Chips?
DH or no DH?
Antique or Modern?
Night game or day game?
Home Gym or Fitness Club?
Cerone: Fitness Club.
Box seats or bleachers?
Back to the bigger questions......
Having spent time in both the A.L. and N.L., what was the
biggest difference between the leagues when you played?
Rick Cerone: Overall pitching is better in the N.L., better umpires also.
What's the most common mistake made by a young catcher?
Rick Cerone: Dropping to one knee to catch a breaking ball.
Who is the best player in the Major Leagues today?
Rick Cerone: Ken Griffey Jr.
What question are you asked most often when stopped in
Rick Cerone: How was it playing for Steinbrenner?
Which position is the most important on the field?
Rick Cerone: Catcher - that's easy.
If you could change one thing in baseball, what would it be?
Rick Cerone: Faster games.
What is the strangest memento that you've kept from your
days as a big leaguer?
Rick Cerone: My used jock and old cleats.
If Tony Soprano was a baseball player, what position would
Rick Cerone: Manager.
Who was your favorite teammate?
Rick Cerone: Ron Guidry.
Have you ever worked out on the field with your players on
the Newark Bears?
Rick Cerone: Yes - and I understand now why I retired.
That's it. Once again, our thanks to Mr. Cerone for granting NetShrine this interview!
Born in Jamesburg, NJ, Frankie Hayes caught 1,311 games in the majors. (He died at age 40 in Point Pleasant, NJ.) Born in Newark, NJ, Rick Cerone appeared as a catcher in 1,279 big league games. Hayes was known as durable since he caught every game for the Philadelphia Athletics (setting an AL record) during the 1944 season. He also holds the record for most consecutive games caught - 312.
During the designer jeans craze in the early 1980's, Rick Cerone was employed as a spokesperson/"model" for "10" Jeans - a clothing line in the New York/New Jersey Area. (Cerone wore #10 when he first played for the New York Yankees.)
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