One-on-One With an MLB Star; Fort Smith’s Craig Gentry
Q: Getting inducted in the UAFS Hall of Fame, what does that mean to you as a player?
“It`s an honor. This is kind of where it all began for me. I didn`t get a whole lot of scholarship offers coming out of high school and by coming here it put me on the map. I learned a lot here and kind of jump started me. I never knew I`d be where I`m at but through all the hard work, it`s paid off.”
Q: You come back here on the campus of UAFS and you see Crowder Field. You`ve played at a lot of big league parks in your years in major league baseball, what`s it mean to you when you see the field out there?
“That`s where it all began for me and there are a lot of memories out there. A lot of good memories and a lot of bad memories. It`s baseball and it was a blast. I loved playing here. I loved the team. I loved the staff. I loved going to school here. Everything about was a great experience for me so getting to come back here brings back all those memories. It was just a great experience.”
Q: You take your talents to Fayetteville and play at Baum Stadium and the University of Arkansas. Talk about your time there.
“It was a blast. Growing up in Arkansas, I always wanted to be a Razorback fan. I don`t know anyone that grows up in Arkansas that`s not a Razorback fan. That was also kind of a dream for me and coming here (UAFS) gave me that opportunity to go up there and fulfill my dream. I had a great time up there. I had a great two years. Learned a lot and learned a lot about myself and a lot about baseball. The exposure and the competition was next to none. Getting to experience something like that was amazing.”
Q: Obviously you were a great player here at Fort Smith Christian, at UAFS then at Arkansas, but when as a player did you realize, hey I`ve got a chance to be a baseball player for life.
“I got drafted and still never set in that I had it in me. I remember having OK seasons in the minor leagues for the first couple years. Then I remember in 2009 I was repeating double A and I was thinking about quitting and hanging it up and doing something else. I remember praying and saying `if this is what you want me to do then I need to know.` It seemed like right after that, everything started falling into place and I just started playing better than I ever imagined I could play. At the end of the season I got my first call up to the big leagues and that point it set in that this is something I can do and where I belong.”
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