Former Moeller Great Adam Hyzdu Looks Back
May 6, 2012Cincinnati Moeller High School
Adam Hyzdu reflects on his life in baseball
11:26 PM, May. 5, 2012 |
Adam Hyzdu never became the major league baseball superstar some forecast him to be, but closer inspection shows a career of many achievements. “I had some experiences that 99 percent of people in the world don’t have, and I’m grateful,” Hyzdu said in a recent telephone interview with the Enquirer.
The 40-year-old Hyzdu was one of the best athletes in Moeller High School history. Hyzdu broke the Moeller career home run record of Ken Griffey Jr. (22) and led the baseball team to a state title. In football, Hyzdu was quarterback on a Moeller state runner-up team.
Outfielder Hyzdu (pronounced HIGHS-due) was the San Francisco Giants’ No. 1 draftee in 1990, the 15th overall selection. It took Hyzdu 10 years to reach the majors, as he went from can’t-miss to what-if prospect.
Hyzdu said he learned to better appreciate the good times when they happened. Many did, including:
• National League Player of the Week honors while with Pittsburgh in 2002 (July 15-21), when Hyzdu hit .588 with three homers and 11 RBI.
• A 2004 World Series ring with the Boston Red Sox (Hydzu hit .300 in 10 at-bats during the regular season).
• 273 home runs in the minors.
• His number 16 was retired by the Altoona (Pa.) Curve, where Hyzdu won Eastern League MVP honors (Class AA) with a 31-homer, 106-RBI season in 2000.
In parts of seven major league seasons (2000-06), Hyzdu hit .229 with 19 homers and 61 RBI. The power numbers were respectable, given Hyzdu had 358 career at-bats in the bigs.
Hyzdu played in the majors for Pittsburgh, Boston, San Diego and Texas. Hyzdu finished his career in 2007 with one season of Japanese ball.
Hyzdu lives in Mesa, Ariz., with his wife and three children, and two years ago became owner of an RV dealership.
“I look at the experiences I did have,” Hyzdu said. “You win a World Series in Boston. The Player of the Week … that was a long time coming.”
There were also lots of long bus rides, wondering if playing baseball was still worth it. (It was). Along the way, people had heard about the Hyzdu-Griffey connection.
“A local beat writer would do an article on the Griffey thing, how I beat his home run record at Moeller,” Hyzdu said. “He hit 600 homers in the big leagues, and here I was toiling it out.”
Hyzdu batted .245 and .234, respectively, in his first two minor league seasons. He was given some slack as a former No. 1 draftee, but that only lasts so long.
“About four years into it, I finally woke up and started having great years in the minor leagues,” Hyzdu said. “That’s about how long it takes for people to turn the page on you.”
By 1994, Hyzdu had joined his hometown Reds as a Rule 5 draftee. Hyzdu had a strong spring and generated some buzz, but was one of the last cuts.
“I was basically devastated when the Reds didn’t take me in the draft in 1990,” Hyzdu said. “When they Rule 5’d me I was like, man, this is awesome. Had I been able to make the big leagues with that group of guys, it would have been great.”
Regrets? Too few to mention.
“In my first couple of years I wasn’t very good,” Hyzdu said. “Some of it was immaturity. I wasn’t prepared to understand my own skills and weaknesses, but I stayed with it. I had some great experiences in the game.”