Corey Hart is an outfielder/first baseman/designated hitter with the Seattle Mariners. Corey Hart is also a retired baseball player and current coach. Before you get too confused, let’s dive in to the “original” Corey Hart.
Corey David Hart was an infielder drafted out of the University of Oklahoma in the 23rd round of the 1998 draft by the Kansas City Royals. He had previously been selected in the later rounds by the Houston Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks but had passed on signing in order to continue his college career.
The switch-hitter was a scrappy sort with a tough-nosed approach and ability to play all over the field. He steadily progressed through the Royals’ system until he reached Double-A in 2001. However, he spent the next four seasons kicking around between that level and Triple-A.
In 2005, he played for the Bridgeport Bluefish in independent ball and also the Milwaukee Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate. Unfortunately, after eight professional seasons he had not made the major leagues and he retired from playing.
In 714 career games, he hit a combined .242 with 17 home runs and 248 RBIs while posting an impressive .371 OBP. More information about his career statistics is available here.
Ironically, as he was wrapping up his final season in the system of the Brewers, the current major league Corey Hart (Jon Corey Hart) was just reaching the bigs. They even played most of the year together for Triple-A Nashville.
Since his playing days ended, the “original” Hart has taken up coaching, working for multiple organizations. He currently serves as the hitting coach for the Miami Marlins’ advance Single-A affiliate Jupiter Hammerheads.
This past offseason, Hart answered some questions about his career. Keep reading for some great stories from somebody who has had quite the career in baseball.
Corey Hart Interview:
Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: Roberto Alomar was my favorite player growing up. He was my favorite because he was a switch-hitting second baseman, and so was I.
Can you describe your draft experience(s)?: I went to Connors State Junior college out of high school and was drafted by the Astros (draft and follow) my freshman year. Then I was drafted again by the Diamondbacks my sophomore year, where I was offered a decent amount, but elected to go to the University of Oklahoma where I always wanted to go. Finally, I was drafted my senior year by the Royals in '98, where I finally signed.
How would you describe your game/skill set?: When I got to pro ball I was quickly labeled a utility player because I could play everywhere pretty well and I was a decent hitter that hit from both sides of the plate. I played mostly in the middle infield and found myself at third base quite a bit as well. I would say that my glove definitely prolonged my career.
How often are you confused with the "other Corey Hart?" Any good stories there?: I still to this day get confused with the other Corey Hart. I receive his cards in the mail (for the last 10 years or more) and people ask me to sign his cards in person. I'm 6'0 with a shaved head and he's 6'7 with long hair.
A couple of good stories:
When I was in Double-A and he had just signed, I started receiving his cards in the mail. People were asking me to sign his card with an envelope to send them back. After I received a handful, I actually signed a couple and sent them back (as a joke). The next year we (Royals) played the Brewers in spring training. I was playing third, and he made it to third as a base runner and we started talking. I told him I get his cards all the time and that I actually signed a few. He told me, ‘That's ok I've signed some of yours too.’
A few years after, we played together. I was coaching in the Brewers organization and was in big league camp with them. We went on a trip to Mesa to play the Cubs and he didn't make the trip. A fan called me over to sign a card, and it was one of his cards. The card had a signature already on it that was preprinted from the factory. It was my signature (same one I had since the seventh grade). I told him about it and he said he had seen it, so jokingly I told him that I wanted half of the money from the card deal.
My last year to play, we actually played together in Nashville in 2005. My first at-bat in the Brewers organization, I pinch hit for him. So, I walked up to the plate and told the umpire Corey Hart hitting for Corey Hart. The catcher and the umpire got a pretty good kick out of it.
What is your favorite moment from your baseball career?: My favorite moment of my career had to have been winning the PCL championship in 2005. It was my last official game.
What are the most important things you took away from your playing career?: I learned work ethic. I learned to work together with others as a team. I learned how to play the game. I made friends that I will have for life.
And last but certainly not least, I met my wife while playing in Nashville.
What are you up to since retiring as a player?: Since retiring, I am approaching my ninth season as a hitting coach. I coached with the Brewers for four years, and about to start my fifth year with the Marlins.
You can check me out on Facebook or follow me on Twitter @historianandrew