11/15/2011 11:45 AM ET
Mayberry: Dad serves as inspiration
Phillies right fielder looks up to his ball-playing father
My dad's influence on my baseball career has been huge. I wasn't around when my dad was playing in the big leagues, but when I was younger he was the hitting coach for the Royals. I had the opportunity to hang around their clubhouse. It was great. I had the good fortune to be around the game and see what day-to-day life was like for a Major Leaguer.
I really don't see any disadvantages to growing up the way I did. I think my childhood has been an advantage. I think part of the reason I've been able to have success is because of what I learned growing up around big league baseball. With my father being who he is, I always have someone to go to when I have a question or issue in baseball.
My dad was very hands on. Up until college, my dad was always my hitting coach. Obviously, he couldn't be as involved when I went off to college. To this day, I still talk to my dad about hitting. He and I talk a lot. He's a very good motivational speaker. He definitely keeps you excited and makes you want to perform. In fact, I don't think anyone gets more excited about me hitting a home run than my dad.
My dad and I don't have a set schedule as to when we talk during the season. Sometimes I talk to him before a game, and sometimes I talk to him after a game. That's another great advantage of having a dad who has been here before. He knows when to give me space and when to call me. He's great like that. He understands because he's been through all of this.
Over the years, he has given me a lot of good advice. He once told me, "It's not where they send you, it's what you do when you get there." That pretty much sums it up for me. I've been up and down in pro baseball, so I know what it's like. It helps you to keep a positive frame of mind. You need to stay mentally tough because you never know what can happen.
My father was a big, left-handed-hitting first baseman. He was a real power hitter who hit 255 home runs in his career, with 34 being his single-season career high. He was a patient hitter who could drive the ball to any part of the field.
To be totally honest with you, I think my dad and I are more different than similar. I'm taller and lankier. He was stockier and shorter. Hopefully, I can do some of the things he was able to accomplish in his career.
When the season is over, we continue to talk baseball, even though my dad lives in Kansas City during the winter, and I live in Arizona.
Philadelphia's John Mayberry is a second-generation big leaguer. His dad, John Mayberry Sr., was a two-time All-Star and played 15 years in the Majors, spending time with the Astros, Royals, Blue Jays and Yankees.