Officer Wayne Edwards What: Professional Baseball
Chicago White Sox
Officer Wayne Edwards started playing baseball at the late age of 12 years old, but that didn’t stop him from making his dream come true of playing professional ball. After graduating from Village Christian High School, he attended Azusa Pacific University where he continued his baseball career.
He was drafted into the minor leagues during his junior year in 1985. In 1989, Edwards made his big league debut, playing for the Chicago White Sox. He pitched for the White Sox for three years, and then went back to the minors where he played for about four more years for teams affiliated with the Blue Jays, Orioles, Angels, Tigers, and ending his minor league career with the Dodgers. Although his Major League Baseball career is over, the sport is still a part of his life today.
He started playing for LAPD Centurion Baseball in 2002, and still pitches for them when he is needed. He also participates in Men’s Senior League Baseball games and occasional father-son tournaments. In addition to being a baseball fan, he has grown to love the sport of basketball as well. His wife played basketball through high school and college and his sons continued in her footsteps. Edwards cheers for the LA Dodger and Chicago White Sox, as well as the San Diego Chargers and LA Lakers.
Edwards has always wanted to be a cop, as his brother is and has been for 18 years. “I always had a dream to play baseball, but a desire to be a cop,” said Edwards. Fulfilling both his dream and desire, Edwards says he loves his job. “It sounds like the cliche answer, but I like helping people,” Edwards said. “It’s a dream come true.”
LAPD Sports Page: What is on the mind of baseball players as they report for spring training?
Wayne Edwards: As pitchers and catchers report early for spring training this month, thoughts of staying healthy and “did I do enough” race through the minds of the players as they step off the plane and into the Florida or Arizona sun.
You want to have a quality spring training to allow yourself the best opportunity to make the “Big club.” There are typically 40-50 players who report to the big league camp, 40 of those being on the “Big league” roster, and the rest invitees. Invitees are those who the organization feels had a good year prior and want to reward them by letting them be in camp. The other invitees are those the club feels may have a shot at making the club, may be able to make the club but the club wants to see if they are healthy, or the club just doesn’t have room on the original 40 man roster.
The 40 man roster is those players the club feels can help them either now, or sometime throughout the year. Therefore they can be called up or sent down, remaining on the 40 man roster. The guys you see on the television are the 25 that made it out of spring training and the club feels is the best fit to contend at this time. This of course changes throughout the course of the season as performance, injuries and trades take place.
Most players that are coming to camp are prepared to play the moment they step off the plane. Gone are the days where spring training is going to get you in shape, you now come in shape and show your abilities while in camp to give yourself the best opportunity to compete!
LAPD Sports Page: Do you think the sport of professional baseball is affected in a positive or negative way when high profile athletes admit they have used performance enhancing drugs?
Wayne Edwards: I understand everyone wants an “up” on the next guy, but at what point to you take the opportunities of chance away from the game, by enhancing your abilities with substances. I was always taught, “Never let anything control you, you always need to be in control.” This applied to everything, drugs, alcohol and even you emotions. Too many times we see guys let the substances or circumstances control them.
That being said, how many plays, games and/or records have been changed as a result of someone’s decision to utilize a substance to enhance their performance. I have heard people say, “the guy could already hit though,” yes maybe he could, then why does he need to take it? Well the answer is simple, the guy no longer hits, he drives balls out of the ball park! Balls that were caught at the warning track are now flying 20 feet out of the park.
“It’s nice to be the best, but not when being the best brings out the worst in you.”
LAPD Sports Page: If you were to give advice to kids as to which player they should watch to enhance their baseball playing skills, who would you recommend?
Wayne Edwards: Well, we have to remember, we will never know who does and who doesn’t. That being said, kids should still watch those players who inspire them to dream! If you don’t dream, you don’t have that desire to achieve. Watching a player who gives his all on the field, is a good teammate and who is a quality role model “off the field,” is important too. Remember, these kids will emulate these guys while they play too.
LAPD Sports Page: When baseball shifts from sport to business, what are the factors fans don’t understand about high profile athletes to sign contracts.
Wayne Edwards: The biggest thing fans don’t understand is that it truly is a business. They will send you down to the minors, trade or release you if they think they can get someone cheaper who can do the job you are doing. That said the average life span of a guy in the major leagues is about a year. When the time comes to negotiate a contract, they tell you how many things you can’t do. Sometimes you wonder why they even want you after some of these meetings. But all a player can do is get the most he can, knowing that it could end the next day with an injury.
Most people don’t realize that only a few players get their “guaranteed” contracts. Only the select few all stars get the big contracts, and of course these are the ones you read and hear about all the time. Everyone else is subject to being healthy and performing for their pay. There is no savings plan or retirement plan for those who never make it to the big leagues either. So it is necessary to do the best you can in the event you cannot get there.