EDITOR'S NOTE: In an article published October 17, long-time Hauser High-School athletic director David Irvine discussed the hiring and the careers of two top-of-the-line educators - coaches Jerry Schoen and Bob Nobbe - that have had positive impact in the Flat Rock-Hawcreek community. After 20 years, Schoen recently retired from his diamond duties. In the coming weeks, HSJ will take an up-close and personal look at Schoen's coaching career. The first of a multi-part series will take a peek into a time-period of Schoen's background that is dotted with names known far outside eastern Bartholomew County.

The mere mention of either Jim Hendry, Karl "Tuffy" Rhodes and/or Scott Servais would be likely to ring a bell with most baseball aficionados.

Hendry served the front-office of the Chicago Cubs for 15 years before joining the administrative team of the New York Yankees.

Rhodes split five years in MLB with the Astros, Cubs and Red Sox. The centerfielder also did his thing in Japan for 15 years where his career homerun totals sat atop the Japanese baseball record-book for over a decade.

Servais was a catcher in the "bigs" for 11 years wearing the uniforms of the Astros, Cubs, Giants and Rockies. He currently is the manager of the Seattle Mariners.

The mere mention of Ken Griffey, Jr. is likely to ring a bell with even the most casual of baseball fans.

Griffey Jr., the son of a major leaguer, spent multiple season with the Mariners and the Cincinnati Reds before being a near unanimous selection to the MLB Hall of Fame.

When Jerry Schoen was hired as teacher/coach at Hauser High School, he brought with him an experience-resume that was baseball-rich. Included in it were the aforementioned names . . . Just to name a few.

Schoen needed little prodding as he recently walked back through his "early" baseball years. He reminisced without hesitation. He remembered with clarity. He re-told stories with relaxed fervor and plenty of smiles.

Schoen and Rhodes went to school and played ball together at Western Hills High School in Cincinnati. After graduation, they split. Rhodes was drafted and signed with Houston Astros. Schoen signed with Creighton University. He and Servais both played for the Blue Jays. Their coach was Hendry.

"Coming fresh out of high school, Jim Hendry was a big influence," said Schoen. "He made his expectations very clear. 'If you screw up, I'll be on you. If you do what you are supposed to do, we'll have no problems.' He was a great motivator and great person."

After 20 years of not seeing his college coach, the paths of Schoen and Hendry crossed recently.

"I saw him last year at the National (Baseball) Coaches Association convention," said Schoen. "That was nice."

After the first of several (unwarranted) apologies for (somewhat) diverting the direction of the conversation, Schoen threw another MLB name into the interchange.

"Do you remember Mark Sweeney?" Schoen asked his 1-man audience.

For the record: Sweeney is now a television analyst on the Fox network after spending his time in MLB with seven different teams. His most significant claim-to-fame (and path into the record book) was earned as a pinch-hitter.

"He was on two World Series winners," said Schoen. "The (professional) scout who signed him also signed me. That is kind of neat. I haven't seen Mark or Scott (Servais) in a long time, but I know I could give either of them a call."

Schoen then dove back into the days of his baseball infancy.

"I received great high-school coaching," he said. "Ken Selby (Ohio hall of famer) at Western Hills and (summer coach) Jerry Federle from Cincy Elder . . . they taught me the fundamentals. Then I went on to Creighton."

Schoen's stay at Creighton University was temporary but significant.

"One of my greatest experiences was sitting on the bench," he explained. "I learned a lot about the game and a lot about myself. Watching Scott Servais's work ethic day-in and day-out was a huge factor in influencing me."

But Schoen wanted to play on game days. So, after two years of learning while sitting, he transferred to Eastern Kentucky. Located in the city of Richmond, EKU was a member of the Ohio Valley Conference.

The transferred infielder wasted little time before making an impact in the OVC. Schoen was in his second year at Eastern and leading the league in hitting when an injury complicated the ending to his senior year. The situation presented a quandary. Surgery to repair his throwing shoulder would be necessary. And, the choices were clear.

1. Having the surgery in early spring would mean missing much of his final baseball season at EKU. But recovery would be in time to resume summer baseball activities.

2. Postpone the surgery. Finish out the collegiate season, but spend the summer rehabbing his shoulder

Schoen opted to have the surgery immediately. His playing career at EKU would be over. (FYI - Schoen had a double in his final plate appearance in college). But getting back to the diamond during the summer months could then be penciled in on his calendar.

"I wanted to stick out the season (at EKU)," said Schoen. "But I wanted to get better faster. I wanted to play major league baseball."

And it was "getting better faster" that could provide the ticket necessary for Schoen to most efficiently chase his dream.