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Padres Interviews: Jeremy Hefner 

Hefner3I had a chance to catch up with Jeremy Hefner, a pitcher this season with the Tucson Padres.  Hefner, born and raised in Perkins, Oklahoma, still resides there in the off season with his wife and son.  As with most pitchers in the PCL, his numbers were a bit inflated in Tucson.  To explain what I mean, his 4.98 ERA he was second among Tucson starters with at least 15 starts. Hefner led the team in inning pitched (157.1), tied with Will Inman for the team lead in strikeouts (120) and was also ranked among the top 10 in both categories. 

Hef is a ball player, a family man, and a okie all the way through.  Enjoy. 

Steve: Who was your favorite baseball player growing up?

Jeremy: I don’t remember having a “favorite” player when I was a kid. I lived in Oklahoma and we had no Major League team. So, for me its who I saw on TV all the time… i.e. Red Sox and Yankees. So naturally I was drawn to the players on those teams. I am a huge Oklahoma State fan so Robin Ventura and Jeromy Burnitz were some guys I looked up to. As a little league catcher I loved learning about Johnny Bench (an Oklahoman).

Steve: Who has been the most influential person in your baseball career? 

Jeremy:To figure out one person that has been more influential than any other would be extremely hard. I have had several coaches and players that have helped me get to the point I am at today. I have an unbelievable support system of family and friends that I lean on daily.

Steve: What do you think you would be doing now if you weren’t playing baseball?

Jeremy:If I wasn’t playing baseball right now I would probably be in the business world doing something. I studied business management at Oral Roberts Univ. and would assume I would use my degree. My dream is to go into the restaurant business and/or open my own baseball development facility for little league through high school players.

Steve: Who is the prankster in the clubhouse and what’s their best work?

Jeremy:The best prankster that I have ever been around is no longer in our organization. Wynn Pelzer was traded to Baltimore a few years back and was not only a funny guy and great prankster but  an even better teammate. There wasn’t a whole lot of pranking that took place in Tucson this year. We did get some of the Rookie ball guys that came up for a couple games. Those were organized by the team, not necessarily one individual.

Steve: Do you have any pre-game rituals?

Jeremy:My pre-game rituals consist of virtually the same routine every start. Of course there are times when things beyond your control happen and you have to adjust, but that’s life. The most constant thing is, I eat is a PB&J because that is a staple in the minor league club houses. I try to stay relaxed with a good mix of music and team interaction.

Steve: What non-baseball teams that you root for?

Jeremy: I am a huge (No. 3 ranked) Oklahoma State Football, Basketball and Golf (i.e. Rickie Fowler, Charles Howell III, Hunter Mahan, Bob Tway, Bo Van Pelt, and Scott Verplank just to name a few)  fan. Dallas Cowboys. OKC Thunder.

Steve: So Brad Pitt just played Billy Beane in “Moneyball,” who would you want to play you in a movie about your life? 

Jeremy:That would be the worst business decision in film making history. I love to have fun and I’m goofy most of the time but am not the guy you could watch for an hour and half and be entertained lol… I love The Office and it was sad to see Michael Scott (Steve Carell) go. For entertainment’s sake I would choose him because I don’t think any other actor could keep us entertained, with my story, for a length of a movie.

Thanks to Jeremy for his time.  You can also follow him on twitter @JeremyHefner17 For more info on Jeremy, check out this story from Joel Gantt, our Tucson writer from earlier this season.