Up Close & Personal with Jack Headley
April 25, 2002
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University centerfielder Jack Headley has had a huge impact on the Bronco Baseball program since transferring in from the University of Miami in 2000. Including this season he has started 150 of the 151 games in which he has appeared in for the Broncos.
As a freshman he was named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-America team and earned second-team all-West Coast Conference honors after batting .380 with 15 doubles, five triples, four home runs and 40 runs batted in. After his sophomore year in which he batted .341 with 15 doubles, two triples, one home run and 25 RBI, he received first team All-WCC honors.
This year Headley leads the Broncos with 20 stolen bases in 24 attempts, tops in sacrifice flies with six, and is fourth on the team in RBI with 29. He has made a smooth transition from second base early in the year to playing centerfield and roaming the vast expanse at Buck Shaw Stadium. Against Portland last weekend he made one of the most amazing catches you could ever see at any level.
The junior from Gilroy, Calif., recently sat down and discussed a wide variety of subjects including that tremendous catch.
Q: Can you explain what happened during the barehanded catch you made during the Portland series?
A: "First of all I went to make my break on the ball and I slipped and fell. I then regained by footing and tried to go at it again but slipped again. I started to take off again but I stepped on my glove this time and it fell off. So to this point there are two slips and a stepping on the glove. So I got up and noticed that the ball had gotten some good ground and I had a long ways to go and it was too late to get my glove so my instincts told me to go after the ball. I have caught balls before with my bare hands as a kid in different sports and I was just basically praying that I caught this one."
Q: Had you even done anything like that or seen anything like that before?
A: "No I haven't, but interestingly enough my Dad has done that same thing before so he wasn't too surprised by what I did. I think it is pretty funny that that same thing has happened to both of us."
Q: What has your previous two years at Santa Clara been like and what has this year been like for you?
A: "The last two years were not quite as intense, quite as focused or quite as team oriented. Even though this season has not gone quite like we wanted it too, I think we all are at least on the same page. We have been right there in a lot of games, right on the brink, and unfortunately been on the wrong side of it, but I think we are more ready to play and the guys are playing more of the team game."
Q: Are the teammates that you have met over your time here guys that you will remain close with after Santa Clara?
A: "Of course. I think of a lot of them as my best friends. I think they will be in my wedding and I hope to be in some of their weddings. We have developed quite the brotherhood through the baseball team."
Q: When did you decide that baseball was the game that you wanted to play more than any of the other games you played?
A: "Well I did grow up playing basketball and especially football in high school. For some reason my father instilled in me that baseball was the sport that I had the most talent in, even though when the other sports were in season, those were the ones I wanted to play. But, I think he was right, I think he understood how hard the other sports were on the body and he knew that I wouldn't be tall enough to play basketball, so it came down to baseball."
Q: What has it meant to you to have your parents around game in and game out?
A: "It has been awesome. I originally went to the University of Miami out of high school, but one of the biggest reasons I came back was so that my mom and dad could get to see me play. They have been to so many games and it is not unusual for me to call my dad after a game and ask what he saw that I might not of. They are my biggest fans and it is great to have them around because they really are supportive of me no matter if I do well or if I do bad."
Q: What do you think that life after Santa Clara holds for you?
A: "Hopefully I can get a chance to play professionally, but if I don't I will have a marketing degree from Santa Clara which is not too bad. My future has been a question I have been asking myself for a little while now, but if I get an opportunity to go out and play I will take that opportunity."
Q: Have you given this year's freshman class any advice on adjusting to college life?
A: "I have talked to a few of them on the side about adapting to the differences between the high school and collegiate game. Obviously the pressure is a little different in that there really isn't as much emphasis on winning in high school as there is in college so we discuss that aspect of the game. Also we talk about balancing different areas of their life from the social and academic side to the athletic side, I just try to help any way I can."