Gauntlett Eldemire is one of the many fresh faces featured on the 2013 Lake Erie Crushers. Eldemire is a local product, having graduated from University School as a resident of Shaker Heights. He was drafted in 2010 out of Ohio University by the Philadelphia Phillies.
Gauntlett dealt with injury problems and was unable to take the field in 2011, but he spent 2012 with the Lakewood BlueClaws, hitting .227 over 72 games with 47 runs scored, 18 stolen bases and a .351 OBP.
Eldemire went down as one of best players of all-time at Ohio University. He finished his career ranked in the top five in Bobcat baseball history in home runs (third, 44), stolen bases, (third, 37) and runs, (fifth, 156). In 2010, was named to the All-MAC First Team for the second consecutive year. Eldemire also earned third-team 2010 Preseason All-America honors from the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association.
The outfielder started the 2013 season red-hot, currently hitting .273 with 4 RBIs and a .324 OBP. We spent some time with the Shaker Heights native:
What is it like playing so close to home?
“There was a draw to play here. I haven’t been home since high school and I feel like it’s better for me to stay home with my family and also be with my friends. Hopefully they can come to the games and support me. I just feel more comfortable here.”
Did you always want to play baseball?
“I always wanted to play baseball. I had played soccer and basketball in high school. I was recruited for soccer by other division one programs, but I picked baseball over it. I have been playing baseball since I was about five years old.”
What got you into soccer?
“I just started playing because one of my friends wanted me to come out and play with him. I didn’t realize I’d actually be good at the sport. So I kept playing through high school and played on a premier team for Internationals. I guess I was playing to stay in shape and to do something during the offseason.”
You have spent time leading off in the lineup and batting ninth. Is there a big difference in approach?
“Not really. Every time I am at the plate I am trying to get on base, but it is basically the same approach. With leading off you are leading off the game, but in the nine hole you have more time to read the pitcher because you usually aren’t going to come up until the second or third inning. When you lead off, you can only watch the pitcher in the on deck circle, but in the nine hole you can see how he pitches to eight other guys. You can make adjustments.”
If you could spend a day on the golf course with any three other people, dead or alive, who would they be?
“Derek Jeter, Jackie Robinson and my grandfather because I never got to meet him. I have heard a lot of good things about him.”
Gauntlett is a very unique name. Where did that come from?
“I am Guantlett the third. My great grandfather was German and my great grandmother was Jamaican. When my grandfather was born, they said since he was mixed, his life would be like running a gauntlet.”
Before a game, what do you listen to that gets you pumped up and ready to play?
“I listen to Pandora radio set to Marvin Gaye.”
What is the worst part about road trips?
“Probably the bus rides. It can be tough to sleep. Some of them have beds on them, which helps out a little bit. And you never know what hotel you are going to go into.”
If you could have any animal as a pet, what would you have?
“It would probably be a horse. I would rather be able to play with the animal. If I had a tiger, I wouldn’t be able to play with it. I’d rather have an animal that I can actually enjoy and do activities with.”
If you weren’t playing baseball right now, what would you be doing?
“I always wanted to play baseball, but probably be in the FBI or in law enforcement.”
When you were drafted by the Phillies, you dealt with a lot of injuries. How did you handle that?
“It was tough but I was surrounded by a great group of guys. They had a great athletic trainer and that helped me out and helped me stay positive. It was nice to be able to get away to the beach sometimes. We were six miles from the beach (Lakewood, ). Location wise it was good.”
What is your favorite sport to watch other than baseball?
“I like to watch soccer. European soccer. My favorite team is Manchester United and I also like Arsenal. I do like watching the Miami Heat.”
You got out to a red hot start to the season. What was the key to your early season success?
“I feel like I am more relaxed. I am not trying to do too much. I was really excited to get back onto the field. It helps that this team is more relaxed than affiliated ball. I like playing for Coach Isom and the mindset is different. Guys are so focused on climbing the minor league ladder and here you can just play without that worry.”
You can put a face to the name and interview and see Gauntlett as the Crushers take on the Evansville Otters Tuesday, June 11 through Thursday, June 13 at All Pro Freight Stadium.
by Jacob Corrigan
All Pro Freight Stadium
2009 Baseball Boulevard
Avon, Ohio 44011