So, did you know Cleveland Indians DH Travis Hafner was the valedictorian of his senior class at Sykeston High in Sykeston, N.D.?
Yet, everyone had a terrific class rank in his graduating class as there were only seven other people in his graduating class.
Hafner is batting .292 with 10 homers, 43 RBIs and a .381 on-base percentage so far this season in 68 games, 219 at-bats.
Smitty: So it must not have been too hard to become valedictorian with eight students in your class, but were you a pretty good student anyway?
Hafner: Yeah, I did all right in school. Math was my favorite subject. But that’s a key to being a valedictorian is to go to a small school (laughing).
Smitty: So your school didn’t have a baseball program, huh?
Hafner: There was no baseball. We’d play Legion Ball in the summer. Two different towns for that. For basketball, we combined with a couple of other high schools. And then for track, I think we had a really small track team. So those were really the only two sports (the school had).
Smitty: What’s the best hitting advice you’ve ever received?
Hafner: There’s been lots of good hitting advice over the years. The most simple thing is to always see the ball. That’s something that kind of gets overlooked. But if you’re not seeing the ball, then nothing else matters. So seeing the ball is important and just making sure you’re ready to hit on time and being early. Be early and see the ball.
Smitty: If you could sit down and talk hitting with someone, who would it be?
Hafner: Ted Williams would obviously be someone who I would have loved to have had the chance to speak with. I’ve read a couple of his books and know a lot of his philosophies. It would have been fun to sit down and talk with him.
Smitty: Do you have some similar outdoor interests that Williams had like fishing, hunting?
Hafner: I used to fish a lot as a kid growing up. Go into town and spend all day at the lake fishing. And I did some hunting in high school. We’d go deer hunting, but I haven’t really done a whole lot of stuff here lately, but I definitely want to get back into fishing.