On Baseball: How Charlie Blackmon (a.k.a. Chuck Nazty) Bluffed His Way Into a Career

Greer, a .305 hitter over nine seasons with the Texas Rangers, met Blackmon that summer, after Blackmon’s discouraging spring at Georgia Tech. He had transferred there after two seasons at Young Harris College in Georgia, where he had been a 20th-round draft choice of the Red Sox. Before that, after a high school career near Atlanta, Blackmon was chosen by the Marlins in the 28th round.

He was tall and lanky — a projectable body, as scouts say, perfect for a left-handed pitcher. Blackmon considered himself a pitcher, too. He did not hit a home run over the fence until his senior year of high school, and once had season tickets to Braves games at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, where he marveled at the artistry of Atlanta’s star pitchers — Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz.

After he transferred to Georgia Tech, though, Blackmon developed tendinitis in his elbow and changed his arm action to compensate. His velocity dipped and he pitched just one inning all season — two hits, two runs, two walks. The Yellow Jackets left him behind on trips, so Blackmon would haul a bucket of balls into the batting cage and pitch to a…

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