BALTIMORE, Md. (WAVY) - Hampton Roads is known for producing great baseball talent; talent that makes it to the major league level. This season, a major league player who's roots rest in Chesapeake earned a spot atop the top.
As announced by Major League Baseball on Sunday, the National League batting crown belongs to Michael Cuddyer, the second baseman who graduated from Great Bridge High School.
Cuddyer batted .331 in 2013 and made an appearance in the Major League All-Star game thanks to his best friend, Norfolk native, and Mets third-baseman David Wright, who added Cuddyer on a captain's choice. To boot, Cuddyer beat out Chris Johnson, the son of Norfolk Tides skipper Ron Johnson.
Cuddyer caught up with WAVY-TV Sports Director Bruce Rader, and said he has no idea how a guy who's season averaged has never topped .285 suddenly wins his league's top batting prize.
"I wish I could put a finger on it. I would have done it ten years ago," said Cuddyer, "Obviously, you mature as a player, you mature as a hitter. Last year was a transition (going) from the American to the National league."
Cuddyer spent his first ten seasons with the Minnesota Twins before signing with Colorado in 2011. "I didn't know many of the pitchers, I didn't know many of the catchers. To go through the league again (in 2013), and to know now what pitchers' tendancies are, to know what catchers are trying to do to you, and how they're trying to get you out, that's helped tremendously."
Cuddyer, who first stepped onto a major league field on September 23, 2001, just reached the 12-year mark of his career. While he understands he's closer to the end of his career rather than the start of it, the thought of retirement hasn't even crossed his mind these days.
"If you take it one day at a time, when you look back, you're like, 'Man, I just got done with an eight-month, season," said Cuddyer, "As far as the future's concerned, I don't look too much past today or tomorrow."
He's now headed for the offseason, as the Rockies finished below .500 and well short of making the playoffs. That being the case, don't be surprised if Chesapeake residents see him back home enjoying the offseason with his twin girls, or playing catch with his son.
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