5 Tweets with Jeff Cirillo
So far most installments in the "5 Tweets with ..." series have helped introduce you to an up-and-comer in the Brewers' minor-league system. Two exceptions to that rule were former big-leaguers Mitch Stetter and Seth McClung, who spent enough time with the big-league club that their names weren’t new to most Brewers fans. The most notable non-Brewer in the series so far is musician Lukas Nelson, but that Twitterview was for my benefit only and it worked as the perfect lead-in to hanging out with him for a bit after the show on Willie's old tour bus.
Today we have another subject whom needs no introduction to long-time Brewers fans. The story of how this Twitterview came to be is an example of how one small thing can lead to another small thing and the next thing you know you’re emailing a two-time MLB all-star.
I found Jeff Cirillo on Twitter just after referencing him in my post regarding the consideration of players from the "Steroid Era" for election to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Jeff’s name has never been associated with anything of the sort; I just used him because he was a former Brewer whose name appeared on the Hall of Fame ballot. I followed Jeff on Twitter and tweeted the blog link to him. A day or two later I received an email saying, "Jeff Cirillo is now following you on Twitter."
Cirillo made two stops in Milwaukee during his career. Selected by the Brewers in the 11th round of the 1991 amateur draft, he made his debut in 1994, playing in 39 games as a rookie. He stayed with the club until after the 1999 season when he headed for greener pastures (or mountains, as the case may be) and signed with Colorado. He played for the Rockies for two seasons before being traded to Seattle, where he played two more. He appeared in 33 games for the San Diego Padres in 2004 before being released. In 2005 he signed a contract to return to the Brewers.
At that time the Brewers had plans to platoon Wes Helms and Russell Branyan at third base. The opening day pitching match-up caused then-manager Ned Yost to start Cirillo and it paid off. Cirillo ended up going 2-for-3 with a double, a home run, two runs scored and two runs knocked in in his return to the Brewers lineup. He also made a nice defensive play en route to helping the team, behind starting pitcher Ben Sheets, beat the Pirates 9-2.
Jeff's Brewers career saw him appear in 978 games, collecting exactly 1,000 hits for a career average of .307. His career numbers may never grant him entry into the Hall of Fame (he did not receive a single vote this year) but his numbers and time in a Brewers uniform make him a Milwaukee favorite. He returns to the Milwaukee area every year to host his charity golf tournament, the Jeff Cirillo Charity Golf Classic at Geneva National in the Lake Geneva area. The outing benefits the Social Development Foundation.
This fan's heart certainly did flutter when he received notice that Mr. Cirillo follows him on Twitter! I sent him a direct message, asking if he would be interested in answering a few questions for Peace & Glove. Much to my surprise, he replied right away and said that it would be no problem. We exchanged tweetmails for a few days and this is what we came up with. Enjoy!
TT: Are you doing any coaching/instructionals in your post-playing days, or are you busy fishing?
JC: I am a major-league scout with the Angels. I cover the Mariners, Rangers and Athletics. Not a big fisherman.
TT: Ha. I saw you tweet a pic of some HUGE fish, so thought I'd ask. Where do you call home these days?
JC: Bellevue, Wash.
TT: Care to share with me a few details about your charity golf tourney?
JC: 4th annual JC Classic. Charity is SDF. Helping families get out of poverty. Great turnout 1st 3 yrs. Tons of Brewers fans.
TT: That's great! Brewer Nation loved both your Milwaukee stops! You had an outstanding career; any one highlight come to mind more than others?
JC: Opening day 2005 at the Pirates.
TT: Very cool! In all your travels have you ever found cheese as good as what we serve up in Wisco? :)
JC: Ha that's funny! Best people I ever played for.
TT: Last one: Any thoughts of getting into coaching?
JC: A couple more years, then yes.
TT: I'm sure you'd be great! Perhaps back in Milwaukee w/ Dale when he's done w/ the Cubs :) I REALLY appreciate you taking the time! Good luck w/ everything!
JC: Take care.