Spiezio always had best instructor
Outfielder's father played nine Major League seasons
ST. LOUIS -- Scott Spiezio had a Major Leaguer for a dad for all of six days. It's safe to say he doesn't remember it very clearly.
It's not that Ed Spiezio only spent six days in the bigs. Quite the contrary. The elder Spiezio played 554 Major League games over nine seasons. He played in two World Series and won a ring, and he had two seasons in which he reached double digits in home runs.
But six days after Scott was born, Ed retired. So for the entirety of his youth, Scott had an ex-big leaguer for a dad. And so even though the younger Spiezio didn't spend his childhood in Major League clubhouses, he benefited. He got lots of one-on-one attention and coaching.
"I lucked out," Scott Spiezio said. "I had a professional, Major League at-home instructor with me from the time I started baseball, when I was probably two years old, all the way to today. It's benefited me not only on the field but in life."
Scott Spiezio received plenty of intensive instruction from a man who obviously knew a thing or two about how to play ball. He didn't go to a lot of games, but he certainly learned how to play.
"He taught me everything," Scott said. "I don't know how good I would have been without him. We had to play structured practices about every day. He threw tennis balls to me, and then as I got older, he started throwing hard balls and ground balls and fly balls. He'd show some tough pitching. When it got too cold, we would just practice in the basement."
Ed Spiezio spent his first five Major League seasons playing for the Cardinals. He was on the 1964 and 1967 World Series championship teams, as well as the '68 pennant winner. He played in both the '67 and '68 World Series.
So although Scott treasures the ring he won with the Angels in 2002, his 2006 ring, which he earned as a Cardinal, has its own very special meaning.
Actually, a lot about Scott Spiezio's tenure in St. Louis has carried some extra weight. He wears his dad's No. 26, and he plays near home -- both Spiezios were born in Joliet, Ill., and both attended the University of Illinois.
When Cardinals players received their World Series rings on April 3, most of the rings were presented by representatives of the St. Louis front office. Scott Spiezio, however, received his from his dad. It was one of the highlights of the ceremony for pretty much everyone at Busch Stadium.
"It's something nobody has ever gotten to do," Scott said. "[It's the] first time father and son have had two rings apiece. It just topped it off, wearing the same number. I don't know if it will ever happen again."
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Daniel Berk contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.