Interview: Chip Cannon

Chip Cannon is a 2004 graduate of The Citadel. He has since gotten off to a spectacular start to his professional career in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. Once a two-way player and the most feared hitter in the Southern Conference, get Cannon’s thoughts on handling the bat full-time. Now married, and with three homeruns and ten RBI at the beginning of his third pro season, Cannon is in Double-A New Hampshire this spring. He spent some time with Diamond Prospects before Spring Training to discuss a number of issues ranging from playing in an NCAA Regional to life at military school for four years.

DP-Please list any college statistics of importance, awards won:

CC-I’m not big on awards. Dean’s List 7 times, Gold Stars one time. Louisville All-American, All-Conference three times. Second all-time in school history in homeruns. Led the country in walks my senior year, 65 or so?

DP-Please list any major high school accolades:

CC-All-District two times. Honorable Mention All-State (I went to high school in Texas, not SC)

DP-What is your greatest high school thrill?

CC-Hit three homeruns in one game. I played shortstop so that was a lot of fun too!

DP-What is your greatest thrill, or two, beyond high school?

CC-Winning three SoCon titles, hitting a couple of homers in the regional. Hitting for the cycle in Michigan last year was cool too.

DP-Who are the three toughest pitchers you ever faced?

CC-Kip Bouknight (USC/Washington Nationals), Tony Sipp (Clemson/Cleveland Indians) and Justin Verlander (Old Dominion/Detroit Tigers).

DP-What was your toughest adjustment after high school?

CC-Learning what pitches I could hit and what pitches I couldn’t. In high school I tried to rake everything. Also, I had to learn the game mentally a lot more. There are a lot of hidden signs in the game and trying to find them can make you a better player.

DP-Do you miss being a two-way player?

CC-Not at all. My arm always feels fresh and it doesn’t ever really hang like it did when I pitched. I do miss the feeling you get when you control the game the way you do as a pitcher.

DP-What is the biggest crowd you’ve ever performed in front of and where?

CC-Carolina for two regionals was a nice crowd. I was the starting pitcher in the biggest college game at Riley Park versus the College of Charleston, but the biggest crowd was in Double-A against the Red Sox this year where there were close to 8,000 noisy New Englanders.

DP-Who has made the greatest impression on you as a person and why?

CC-Easy. My dad. He has always been there for me as a father and friend, whether I’m 4-for-4 or 0-for-4. We talk about a lot of things and he is so proud of me and what I do. He gets a kick out of collecting my baseball cards.

DP-Who has made the greatest impression on you as a baseball player and why?

CC-Phillip Hartig. He was a four-year All-American at The Citadel. He showed me how hard you had to work and shared some things that he had learned. He passed the torch to me when he graduated and I always tried to go about my business like he would.

DP-Who is your favorite athlete (non-baseball)?

CC-Peyton Manning is because the way he goes about his job and how professional he is. Class act guy.

DP-Who is your favorite MLB pitcher and position player and why?

CC-I liked Cal Ripken. I had his rookie card and I played shortstop growing up. He was pretty good. 

DP-Who is your favorite MLB team?

CC-The Blue Jays….duh...I like Atlanta too.

DP-What is your favorite sport to play other than baseball?

CC-I like all sports. I played them all growing up. I like to play golf. Jonathan Ellis and I play a lot together.

DP-What is your favorite sport to watch other than baseball?

CC-I like college football. Love them Gamecocks except for when they played Missouri!!!!

DP-What goals do you have for yourself in and out of baseball?

CC-When its time to walk away from the game I want to know that I gave it my best shot and I enjoyed playing. The game was very good to me and I will always respect that.

DP-If you could have dinner with three people in history, who would they be and why?

CC-Bill Gates, talking a little business, Mickey Mantle, to hear some stories and my wife, Alysia.

DP-Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

CC-Hopefully still playing baseball but definitely still being a fan of it.

DP-Give a high school player who is reading this article one piece of advice.

CC-If you work hard and respect the game, it’ll be good to you.

DP-Chip, thanks and good luck this season, we hope it lands you in Toronto!