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PLAYERS OF THE 1980’s
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1983. Santa Cruz High Halfback Just Wants To Run With The Football. Glen Hill did not start playing football until his junior year even though he wanted to. His brother had suffered a leg broken in three places while playing at Cabrillo and Glen’s parents didn’t won’t him to play until he was a junior. Glen wanted to play and attended all the games since seventh grade, but he respected his parents decision.
Hill was brought along slowly his junior season and started only three games, but he is making up for lost time this year.
A running back with sprinter speed, Hill is now the supreme game breaker in the SCCAL. In seven games this season, he has run for 1,083 yards with a staggering 8.3 yard average. Plus he has scored 11 touchdowns.
Coach Sakamoto said, “He has drawn a certain amount of respectability in the program. A lot of people have done it, but he in particular threatens the defense so much. They have to be aware of him and they know if he breaks free he has the ability to score. If Hill turns the corner watch out! I feel very confident in saying he’s a legitimate 4.5 over 40 yards.”
But Hill is not just fast, he has size too at 6-2, 190 pounds, having grown lately, gaining ten pounds in the last two months. “He is not just fast, he can run inside when necessary. He is elusive to a degree. He’s not the jitterbug type runner, but he can move his feet and swivel his hips. He’s not just a straight up runner,” Sakamoto said.
In his first game this year against Stevenson, Hill gained just 42 yards, but he has ran better than 130 yards in each game since. Some of the best have been 208 SLV, 268 McKinleyville and 79 against Aptos.
This year, I find that I’m more mature as a runner. I’m not looking for holes, I just run to air. I’m looking for the open spot. Last year I think I was just more concerned with running hard, not really worried about cutting and stuff. This year, I’ve learned to run hard and use my mobility. I’ve learned how to hit people when necessary. I think I’ve matured as a runner, not as a power runner.
Sakamoto, “Once he gets by the line of scrimmage, he has the ability to make a five or ten yard gain into a 50 or 60 yard gain. Dee Herren the offensive backfield coach, he’s a smart kid and is coachable and knows how to run instinctively. No one has taught him how to run. Glen’s his own worst critic, he analyzes his game afterward.”
Defenses are designed to shut Hill down, though SC has another effective runner in Ron Bailey. “I know there is going to be a player in my face every time I get the ball. I accept the challenge and do the best I can,” said Hill.
Hill is an image conscious individual, sensitive and articulate. “They the opponents, view me as a football player and they have to stop me. But as a person I don’t know how they view me,” said Hill.
He doesn’t want to be thought of as cocky or arrogant. He’s a little on the shy side, he says. He accepts all the personal attention and adulation he receives. But he isn’t sure how to deal with it.
At school it is different. “I don’t get treated any differently. But more people are aware of what I’ve been doing. I’m not the kind of person who presents himself as the so called big man on campus. I keep a low profile.” I just don’t want people to get the wrong idea of me as a person. I don’t think I am any better than any other player here. They’re trying to do the same thing I’m trying to do, play to the best of their ability.”
Hill is not only a “home run” threat in football, he’s one in baseball too. A power hitting outfielder. He has turned on some major league scouts. But he has also received numerous letters from universities and colleges interested in him as a football player. Some include Stanford, Cal, UCLA, San Jose State, Arizona State, Washington, Washington State and Oregon.
What to do, play baseball or football? It’s a dilemma Hill must solve before too long. “I’m just waiting and playing each sport including basketball, like I’ve been doing and trying my hardest. Whatever happens, happens. “It’s kind of hard to make plans. It’s kind of hard to say which way I’ll go. A lot depends on what happens to me in baseball. I’ll just have to face it, when the recruiting comes.
Part of the reason for my success would be my offensive line of tackles, Steve Johnson and Tom Russo; guards, Chris Codiga and Rob Henry; center, Shawn Butts; tight end Ron Esche. Another part would be Coach Sakamoto, because he’s worked with me and Coach Herren, whose worked with me and given me confidence to go out and play to my potential.
“There has been tremendous growth. Last year he was still a freshman as a football player. He’s a darn good athlete and he’s intelligent,” said Sakamoto. Dee Herren, “He really didn’t play all the time last year. But Glen’s a real quick learner. Every game, he learns something new. It’s not too often a person will come around with as much ability as Glen. Not in just one sport, but in all the major sports,” .
Nov. 22. ALL COUNTY Senior Glen Hill selected as the Offensive Player of the Year on the Sentinel All County team. Hill a 6-2, 190 pounder, ran for 1,165 yards and a 7.2 yard average in a nine game schedule scored 12 touchdowns. During the SCCAL season he ran for 547 yards, a 5.8 average and scored five touchdowns
ALL SCCAL Offense: Glen Hill and Chris Codiga was on of three two-way selections. Hill gained 547 yards in 94 carries for an average of 5.7 yards per carry, primarily behind the blocking of Codiga.
Part of an article from the Sentinel Spring Training article of Feb. 15. On a question of whether he would rather be a back up in the majors than a starter in triple-A. The way Hill sees it, he will have 15 to 20 at bats this spring that will determine whether he plays in the majors or minors this coming year. Not much of a chance, but a chance. According to the director of player personnel of the Toronto Blue Jays, Hill might also have a shot of making the team as a right handed designated hitter. “We’re looking for good things from him. He’s still a young player with an enormous amount of potential He has a lot of baseball ahead of him.” The only baseball ahead on Hill’s mind now is spring training. “I’m going in there knowing I can win the Lotto. It’s like the Big Spin and I can either win $10,000 or $3 million. I’m going in there with patience and will just hope and pray for the best.”
In a recent Associated Press spring training preview story, Glenallen “Thrill” Hill was listed as one of four rookie “hot prospects” that seem destined for Cooperstown.” It’s a nice thought. “I want to shine that “Thrill” thing. Its something that I acquired, but I’d like to leave it behind me.” In a couple of weeks, he can begin making a new name for himself.
July 2003 from the SJ Mercury headlined CCS HAS SEEN ITS STARS
On the first team was Glenallen Hill along with Barry Bonds and Harry Heilmann from Sacred Heart SF 1914-32 in the outfield. Glenn is in pretty good company here.
Glen hit .271 with 186 hr, in 13 year career. Best season 1998 with Mariners, then to Cubs hit .351 with 8 hr and 23 RBI in 48 games. Watched some of the games on Chicago station and the broadcasters where high on Glen. The year or so before he was voted the top player in the minor leagues. In late 2000 he helped the Yankees get to and win the world series. Batting .333 with 16 hr and 29 RBI in 40 games. He was really ripping.
Sentinel January 30, 2001. SANTA CRUZ’S WESTSIDE STORY. Yankees’ Slugger Glenallen Hill Talks Of Baseball, Life After Playing.
Glenallen Hill, a designated hitter for the world champion New York Yankees, has had five knee surgeries, a broken wrist, ruptured appendix and hamstring problems during his illustrious professional career.
On top of that he turns 36 in three weeks
Funny thing is, he’s never felt better.
“It’s kind of scary,” Hill said from his home on the Westside, where he was born and raised. “It’s like driving an old car. It rattles and makes all sorts of noise. And one day, I don’t hear and knocks–right before it breaks down, right?”
Since his formative years as a three-sport standout at Santa Cruz High School, Hill, who stands 6-foot-3, 230 pounds, has been a mechanic giving his body daily tune-ups in the gym.
His power is no secret. Prior to joining the New York Yankees last season, Hill, playing for the Chicago Cubs, hit a tape-measure, 490-foot home run out of Wrigley Field and atop a roof of a neighboring apartment in a 14-8 loss to Milwaukee.
It was the longest homerun in the Cubs; long history.
“I’ve seen Sammy (Sosa) hit the building and break windows but I’ve never seen anyone hit the roof. Four-ninety? That was 790,” longtime Cubs infielder Mark Grace marveled to reporters.
The storied Yankees acquired Hill from the struggling Cubs for two minor leaguers in mid-July.
While most players would be elated at the opportunity to play for a contender, Hill remembers being upset. “Initially I was concerned about leaving my teammates,” Hill said. “These were my teammates, my friends, people I had gone to work with on a daily basis.”
But Hill had been through this before, playing for seven teams, including the San Francisco Giants and two stints with the Cubs, in a span of 12 seasons.
“Once I got to the city, I was catapulted into a situation where I realized I could not be sad,” Hill said. “I had to show the people why the Yankees traded for a player like myself.”
Living up to the folklore of the Bronx Bombers, Hill, who served primarily as a designated and pinch hitter, hit 10 home runs in his first 51 at-bats and was named the American League Player of the Month for August.
He batted ,333 with 16 home runs and 29 RBI in 40 games with New York. He finished with a career-high 27 home runs for the season.
As for the excitement of playing in the World Series? “There is no excitement,” Hill said. “It’s nerve-racking. There’s no tomorrow. Everything you do is very critical. It’s not a fun experience. When the game starts, it’s not fun.”
Hill started three games in postseason and played in nine as he struggled at the plate, going 1 for 17 hitting.
In November, the three-time defending world champions pick up Hill’s option for the 2001 season but didn’t do so with slugger Jose Canseco, which means Hill should serve as the full-time designated hitter.
Hill as 185 home runs, 584 RBI and a .273 batting average in his major-league career.
“He has speed for his size,” said Ray Hunter, Hill’s junior-varsity coach and varsity assistant. “Even then, he had thighs like this (Hunter says holding his hands at shoulder width).
“His bat speed is so incredible. If he hit’s a ground ball, he’s out before he gets out of the batter’s box because he hits the ball so hard. Third basemen hate him.”
Hill’s getting older and better, and the only mention of retirement of late is a reference to high school baseball jersey.
Last Friday at halftime of a boy’s basketball game at Santa Cruz High, mayor Tim Fitzmaurice gave Hill a city proclamation, officially declaring Jan.26, 2001, “Glenallen Hill Day.” Hill’s high school baseball jersey is retired during the ceremony.
“I’m really going to play until someone says, ‘We don’t want you no more,’” Hill said. “As long as I can hit, I’ll play.
Hill has reached the pinnacle of the sport with the Yankees last October and has an annual income that would match the GNP of several Third World countries, but he isn’t ready to hang up the spikes.
As he does each off season, Hill has returned home to be with his wife Lori and their four children: Simone, 14, Chanel, 9, Heleyna,2, and 4-month old son Glenallen Jr.
“His nickname is C.J., Hill said in between making googling noises to catch his son’s attention.
Glenallen married Lori, his second wife, on New Year’s Eve 1994.
“Because I’m on the road so much, when I come home I have to work real hard on relationships,” Hill said. “I don’t do a lot of vacation type things in the off season.”
Being home also means Hill will spend a fair shore of time in the community in which he was reared.
He has attended numerous high school basketball games at Santa Cruz, where he played for legendary coach Pete Newell Jr.
He speaks to at-risk youth, students at local elementary schools and signs autographs for free at the Capitola Book Café.
His celebrity is as much his as it is his fans’.
“I do it because a lot of people around here have followed my career since I was a rookie. I want to give back to the community,” he said.
While retirement isn’t a subject Hill graciously accepts, he has plans for his future. He anticipates his baseball career lasting another three years.
Hill hopes to coach baseball at his alma mater–he didn’t go to college. After he graduated from Santa Cruz in 1983, he was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth round of the free agent draft and accepted a minor-league contract. He was also offered a football scholarship to Arizona State.
Hill also sees himself throwing his hat into the political ring and writing a book.
“I think he would be a great mayor,” wife Lori believes. “He’s serious. He cares about what’s going on in the community.:
Hill realized his involvement in coaching would precede a career in local politics.
“I want to coach at Santa Cruz High,” he said. “High school is a real important time. You can have a real profound influence. With politics, everything has to be perfect. I can jump into coaching right away.
“I’m pretty serious about (politics). I would like to sit in on some City Council meetings, try and join a couple of local committees and boards. I’m only home four or five months, so it’s tough to infiltrate myself into the system. I feel there are plenty of things in the city I would like to see taken care of.”
Chances are Hill, who was greeted with a standing ovation at his jersey retirement ceremony, would fare well with the popular vote.
His high school baseball coach Bill Dodge noted that as much as Hill is known for his athletic prowess, his demeanor is what mattered most.
“Back then, the scouts were a lot closer at the games,” Dodge said. “They would hang out behind the dugout. They wanted to know what type of player they were getting. Well, after one game, the scout from Toronto came to me and asked, ‘Is he always into the game like he was tonight?’”
“During the game, Glen was giving encouragement in the dugout, then he was going down to the bullpen and giving positive vibes to the relievers warming up. He was all over the place.
‘He’s the type of player we’re looking for,’ the scout said. To me that is a defining moment. That is Glenallen Hill.”
GLENALLEN HILLL’S CAREER MAJOR LEAGUE STATS
YEAR TEAM AB HR RBI AVG
1989 Toronto 52 1 7 .288
1990 Toronto 260 12 32 .231
1991 Toronto/Cleveland 221 8 25 .258
1992 Cleveland 369 18 49 .241
1993 Cleveland/Chicago Cubs 261 15 47 .264
1994 Chicago Cubs 269 10 38 .297
1995 San Francisco 497 24 86 .264
1996 San Francisco 379 19 67 .280
1997 San Francisco 398 11 64 .261
1998 Seattle/Chicago Cubs 390 20 56 .310
1999 Chicago Cubs 253 20 55 .300
2000 Chicago Cubs/NYYanks 300 27 58 .293
Totals 3,649 185 584 .273
KING OF THE HILL
Glenallen Hill, a former Santa Cruz High standout in three sports and member of the world champion New York Yankees, had his Cardinals baseball uniform retired on Friday night at Fehliman Gymnasium.
Following a plaque presentation by Santa Cruz mayor Tim Fitzmaurice, who officially named January 26, 2001 “Glenallen Hill Day,” and a speech from Hill’s high school coach Bill Dodge, former Cardinals assistant coach Ray Hunter unveiled Hill’s framed jersey.
Hill, 35, who emerged from the crowd before the ceremony at halftime of the boys basketball game against visiting Harbor, took a long hard look at the tribute.
Hill let out a chuckle and lightened the mood.
“First and foremost I would like to ask everyone, ‘Does that look a little small?’” a muscled up Hill said of the jersey.
Hill thanked his friends, fans, parents and wife Lori and was received by a standing ovation at the sold-out event. He was gracious to everyone, extending an invitation for free autographs to any youngsters at any point of the game.
“When I was on the road, I always brought Santa Cruz with me,’ he said of why he has maintained a permanent residence in the city. “I was born and raised on the West Side and I love it here.”
Hill was as smooth with the microphone as he is with his bat, though he called himself a victim of stage fright.
“Man I’ve hit off a lot of big-time pitchers, but I’ve never been this nervous,” Hill said.
The Yankees acquired Hill from the Chicago Cubs in mid-July last season and Hill made an immediate impact.
He batted .333 with 16 home runs and 29 RBI in 40 games with New York.
Moreover, Hill, who served primarily as a designated and pinch hitter, hit 10 home runs in his first 51 at bats with the Yankees and was named the American League Player of the Month for August.
Hill told fans, which included many present and past baseball players from several local high schools, to never stop chasing their dreams.
And thank them for allowing his to come to fruition.
JOHN WILSON class of 1983
From the Sentinel Spring Training article of Feb. 15 All Wilson Does …Is Beat You.
The Walter Mittys of the world had to take heart when John Wilson signed a contract to play professional baseball for the Everett, Washington, single A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. That’s because kids like Wilson give the rest of us hope. He’s the kind of guy you don’t picture playing professional sports. Wilson just looks like an average guy. He acts like and average guy, but Wilson is far from ordinary. In 1982 Wilson was a all-league pitcher and first baseman for SC (for the third year). In 1984 he pitched his first career no hitter at Cabrillo College. In 1986, he led the staff at San Francisco State and was selected as a division II All-American. In 1988, Wilson will get a shot at playing a full year of pro baseball.
Despite his impressive credentials, he is not a 6-4 giant blowing 90 mile an hour gas. All Wilson does, as he has throughout his entire career, is get the job done. He is a smart a steady pitcher with good control of three pitches. He keeps hitters off balance with his off speed pitches and exhibits great composure on the mound. Most importantly, he is a winner.
He was not drafted in the free agent draft, but was picked up soon after by the Giants. Wilson was given a plane ticket to Washington, $700 a month and a chance to fulfill a dream. In his month and a half at Everett, Wilson pitched 16 innings, picked up a save and a loss while keeping his ERA under 3.00. In March, Wilson will travel to Scottsdale, Arizona to compete for a spot in the Giant single-A organization. Wilson knows he can compete at that level and hopes to move up.
STEVE GLASS, class of 1983
From the Sentinel Spring Training article of Feb. 15. Glass Hopes To Join Majors By 1990. On March 9, Steve Glass gets the chance to help fulfill what has been a dream for generations of kids. He will be headed to West Palm Beach, Florida, to begin spring training with the Atlanta Braves. Steve will be in his second year as a professional baseball player. He hopes to make the Braves double-A team in Greenville South Carolina. If not, he would go the high-A league Durham North Carolina Braves. After three seasons at San Francisco State, he was drafted and went to the Braves rookie league team in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Though he played shortstop in high school and college, he started his pro career at third base. Soon he was at shortstop were he played great shortstop, but struggled with the bat at first, but ended the season with a respectable for a shortstop .285 batting average. If everything goes as planned for the 6-3, 205 pound Glass, thinks he can be in an Atlanta Brave uniform by 1990 as a third baseman. “I can swing for power and play defense,” he said. Glass learned most of his baseball from retired SC coach Bill Dodge. “He’s one of the best coaches I ever had. He taught me discipline and how to believe in myself. He knew all the proper fundamentals,” Glass said.