Former professional baseball player, Mike Floyd, signed copies of his 30-chapter, 311-page biography which describes his professional baseball career recently at Tunnel Creek Vineyards.
His popular new book, a memoir called “Bush Street Blues,” was released on May 17 to five-star reviews with Amazon sports books, online.
He explained how the name came about.
“That was my little sister; she came up with the name. It has to do with the bush league (minors). I was also in blues bands living in St. Louis. My career was more on the blues side. I didn’t get to play in the big leagues; it was disappointing.”
Floyd played for nine years from 1967 till 1975. During that time, he played right field for many different minor league teams. Those teams were the affilate teams of the California (Los Angeles) Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers and Houston Astros.
“I was with the Angels for five years, but the Dodgers were the best organization I played for. They treated you well and paid well. Coaches were top notch guys.”
During that time, Floyd had experiences with baseball legends like Reggie Jackson and Tommy Lasorda.
“I knew Tommy Lasorda since I was in high school. I was on the Dodgers non-roster play, and stayed friends with Tommy until 1975 when he went to the big leagues. I played with Reggie with winter ball as well as against him whem he was 18 at Arizona State.
Floyd explained when one gets to the minors, it is the goal of everybody to make it to the big leagues.
“That’s how you start as a rookie. The more you’re in the minors, the further the big leagues get. I thought in 1971, I had the best start before June and didn’t get called up. I was expecting to get called up because the Angels had two outfield batters injured, but it never happened. That deflated the rest of the year, and it cost me in the long run.”
Floyd also said part of the reason he never received a call to the majors was partially due to injuries.
“I broke my arm twice and broke my shoulder the next year, also got hit by several pitches. I got close, but it seemed like something would happen. It kept me from realizing playing in the big leagues. The injuries slow you down. A lot of clubs don’t like to take chances if you get hurt a lot.”
Despite this, Floyd said his biggest strength as a player was a good defensive player with a good arm, but he thinks batting numbers could have been better.
“Playing back then, we didn’t have videotaping. We couldn’t study as hitters. I was a fast, quick and strong hitter, but the numbers could have been bigger.”
Floyd played with the Astros for the final few years of his career until he walked away in ’75, and he explained why.
“I was 29, was married, and was just sick of traveling baseball and injured. I tore my Achilles, and they (Astros) told me to get lost. That was fine with me. Afterwards, I didn’t want any part of baseball for 20 years. In baseball, you got to be in the big leagues at 29 or go home.”
Despite this, Floyd says if he could change one thing, it would be this.
“Keep my mouth shut,” he said with a chuckle. “I attended school of journalism with the University of Arizona. At that time, everybody was anti-establishment. I would pop off, and it would cost me. It didn’t stick too well with the Angels management. I had a reporter come out for a couple hours and talk to me. I was a little cocky, and he kind of set me up. He came out with a lead paragraph on a story and got some real bad feedback from the front office. There was no free agency back then. If they wanted to bury you, they did.”
Floyd continued with another example.
“Let’s say we went on a road trip for 400 miles, hot and through the desert. We rode in this junky bus and had exhaust fumes that would come into the bus, and it made everybody sick. I told the management and was told to sit down. Those trips were hard on the whole team, especially so since I was kind of the spokesman for the team. Journalism came back to run my mouth, and it bit me.”
Floyd had a message for up and coming ball players who are looking to make a name for themselves in today’s baseball world.
“Learn as much as possible. Go to as many baseball camps as you can, go to instructors and go there to learn. That’s what these camps are for. We teach these kids so much, and they took it to college and some to the majors. There’s much more to the game.”
“A lot of these kids come and their technique is wrong. You can be taught bad techniques just as much as good techniques. We teach them how to be a better player. You have less than a second to hit the ball. You can’t go to the plate and take your time when a pitcher pitches 90 to 100 mph. If you can’t get your bat around, you’re just going to hit lazy flyballs and groundballs. They hit off tees and slow pitches, and it doesn’t match hitting versus 90 mph. That’s what they don’t get. Muscle memory prevents them from changing. They need to work on a stance that their body and reflexes can handle. They find that out real quick.”