Josh Barfield has a baseball background that few of his peers can relate to. As the son of former All-Star and two-time Gold Glove Award winner Jesse Barfield, a former Yankee, Josh grew up in, with and around the major leagues.
Barfield, 30, in his first season with the Ducks, was a fourth-round pick of the San Diego Padres in the 2001 amateur draft and made his MLB debut in April 2006. That turned out to be the start of his best season, as he hit .280 with 13 home runs and 58 RBIs in 150 games as a Padres rookie.
After playing 130 games for the Cleveland Indians in 2007, he appeared in only 29 total games in 2008 and 2009 and has been fighting his way back to the majors ever since.
We asked Barfield about his unique baseball childhood, his stint in MLB and the road he needs to take to get back.
What was it like growing up in a major-league clubhouse?
"I just remember having a lot of fun. I grew up with a lot of the other kids on the team and it was nice to go to work with your dad and play around. A lot of the guys you looked up to, you got to see them on a daily basis, so it was pretty fun."
Any of the other kids in the clubhouse grow up to play baseball?
"When we were in Toronto, Prince Fielder was there too, so we got to be together for a couple of years. It's kind of cool to see guys you grew up with do what he's doing in the big leagues."
What's one story that stands out from that time?
"I was probably 8 or 9 years old and my dad was with the Yankees and he hit a ball off Randy Johnson that looked like a home run but [Ken Griffey Jr.] robbed it, and it's a play they always show on the highlights. So after the game I was waiting outside the clubhouse and Griffey came out and I said, 'You robbed my dad of a home run,' and he said, 'Are you Jesse's kid?' and I said, 'Yeah.' So he took me in the clubhouse and signed a bat and a ball, and ever since then he's always been great to me."
What's it been like playing with the Ducks?
"It's been fun. I didn't know what to expect coming to Independent ball for the first time, but there's a lot of talent in this league and it's been a good experience. You come here to show that you can still play and get your work in, and I think I've done a good job with that. I've had good at-bats on a nightly basis and that's what major league teams are looking for."
How do you get back to the majors?
"It's a lot of hard work to get to the big leagues, and then once you're there, you want to prove that you can play there, and I think I did that in my first year where I had a lot of success. After that year it was up and down for me, but just having that experience and knowing that I can play in the big leagues is something that keeps me going."