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Catching Up: Q&A with Scott Podsednik

Catching up with the World Series hero who was part of first Renegades playoff team in 1995
Scott Podsednik played for the 1995 Renegades, and was a hero of the 2005 World Series. (Roy Notaro)
November 16, 2023

With the Renegades celebrating their 30th anniversary season in 2024, we are reaching out to former players for conversations about their time in the Hudson Valley and their baseball careers. First up is a member of the 1995 Hudson Valley Renegades, outfielder Scott Podsednik. In his one season in the

With the Renegades celebrating their 30th anniversary season in 2024, we are reaching out to former players for conversations about their time in the Hudson Valley and their baseball careers. First up is a member of the 1995 Hudson Valley Renegades, outfielder Scott Podsednik. In his one season in the Hudson Valley, Podsednik hit .266 and led the team with 20 stolen bases in 65 games. He went on to play parts of 11 seasons in Major League Baseball, stealing 309 bases, winning the 2005 World Series with the Chicago White Sox and swiping 70 bases with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2003.

The following is just a snippet of the conversation. To watch and listen to the full Q&A, visit the Renegades YouTube page here.

Hudson Valley Renegades: When you played for the Renegades in 1995, that was your second year in pro ball. What was that season like for you still being a kid fresh out of high school having been drafted the year before, and then going so far away from home for the entire summer?

Scott Podsednik: I had spent a short season in the Gulf Coast League the year prior,. and to be completely honest with you, I was a deer in headlights, both of those years. I came from a very small high school in Texas, and the competition wasn't that great. A small 3A school. So to go from there to that elevated type of competition to the professional world, it was an eye opener, for sure. I had no idea what I was doing on the baseball field. You know, I had some raw skills, some some abilities, but I had to learn the game. I had to learn how to be a professional -- how to play the outfield, how to run the bases -- I had no plan or approach at the plate. So it was just a learning experience from that point forward, and a growing up and maturing time for me as well. You know, I was, again from a small town, so getting up to Hudson Valley in the bigger city and playing in front of fans, I had a blast with it. But I was no way shape or form ready for the major leagues at that time in 1995.

HVR: You talked about being drafted the year before out of high school, was that an easy decision for you to sign with the Rangers at that point? Was there a thought of like, "Oh, maybe I should not sign go to college?"

SP: It was not an easy decision at all. I grew up wanting to play for the University of Texas. I was a Texas Longhorns fan. I was the second pick that year from the Rangers, and I had no idea what I needed to do. You know, I like the the idea of going to start my professional career, but then obviously, getting an education at Texas would have been a great opportunity as well. I can't recall exactly the reason why I decided to sign, but I went ahead and chose that route. It ended up working out for me. But at the time, it was a little stressful trying to decide what would be the best route. And look, there is no right or wrong answer now that I look back. I could have blown a knee out the second week playing at Texas or the professional ranks. But fortunately for me, I ended up you know, gaining some traction and it worked out in the end.

HVR: When you come to the Hudson Valley, you're managed by Bump Wills in 1995. What was Bump like as a manager?

SP: I remember Bump impacting the team in a positive way. But again, at that time, I really had no nothing to compare Bump to. I had Chino Cadahia the year prior. So these are my first two professional managers you know, I came from again a small high school to these two first seasons and I really didn't know what to expect. I just recall trying to learn as much as I could from Bump Wills and the coaching staff and you know, it was just I needed development. So I remember just trying to ask as many questions and learn as much as I could from him. But I remember Bump being been fun, exciting and I enjoyed playing for him that 1995 year.

HVR: I know you and Bump were both similar kinds of players as speedsters? Did did you learn a lot from him from that or was it more just about how to be a professional and carry yourself in a clubhouse and on the field throughout the grind of a season?

SP: We were similar kind of players. I remember talking with him about stealing bases, the footwork, paying attention to pitcher's patterns - they fall into all those types of things. But again, where I was being 19 years old and so naive you know, it took a while for all that to sink in, and to actually learn that is one thing but then to apply it out on the baseball field was another. I recall talking with him about those types of things about being a leadoff hitter, about how to use your speed out on the baseball field. So I think he was a good guy for me to play under that earlier my that early in my career

HVR: I'm sure you get asked about it all the time but in Game Two of the 2005 World Series, you had the walk off home run. What was kind of going through your mind at that point? Even 18 years later, just you know, that's just got to be the most amazing feeling.

SP: Still to this day it never gets old, I get chills anytime it's brought up. I mean legitimately, just to be playing in a World Series was incredible. But then we get to Game Two and and just real quick going into that at bat I was, well there was a set. I don't know if you recall the seventh inning we were down three. We loaded the bases they brought Chad Qualls and [Paul] Konerko hits a grand slam to put us up by one. So that was the loudest and the most chaotic atmosphere I had ever been in in my entire life. U.S. Cellular field at the time was just going bananas. And I remember out in left field, the top of the eighth or that next half inning, I'd watch the pitch, but then I would shift my eyes to Konerko at first base thinking, "What does this man feel like? He just hit a grand slam in the World Series to put his team up late in the seventh inning." And I watched the pitch and I look over at Konerko. And I'm just locked in on him and and he had electricity ran through and I can tell you know his body language he was just feeling it. I'm getting chills telling the story. So before Konerko hit the grand slam he and I were the only guys in the lineup that were hitless up to that point so Konerko had got hit the Grand Slam put us up by one, so I'm the only Sox guy hitless, I was 0-for-4. So we get to the bottom of the ninth, Juan Uribe flied out. So I remember walking up to the plate saying look, we were facing Brad Lidge. He was slow to the plate. My plan was try to reach first base any way you can. My plan was to get to first base and first pitch I was going to attempt to steal. That was the plan so getting up there. So take ball one, ball two. I step out of the box I'm wanting to hack 2-0, I look over at [White Sox manager] Ozzie Guillen and and he's shaking his fingers like, "Don't even think about it." You take a pitch. So I took a fastball right down the middle of the plate. I step out of the box -- Lidge was fastball slider at that time -- I step out the box that said you know what, there's no way he's gonna throw you that slider 2-1 he doesn't want to walk you, you look for that exact same pitch. I looked dead red. So I was sitting fastball, and got one right over the plate. I put as good of a swing as I could put on it, and hit it as good as I could hit it. You know, I took off, I got every bit of it but it was cold, it was rainy, it was to the deepest part of the field. So I was thinking third, but I was still curious because I got all of it. So I remember I just ran first base I look out to right field and I see Tim Raines throw his hand up, saw it leave the park, and then I was just overcome with emotion and a feeling that I had never came close to experiencing at that point and never will in competition. I had the birth of my daughter was the four years later, that's a different story. But in competition, it was just a feeling that it's tough for me to put into words right now.