Pinch Hit: A "Chip" Off The Old Block

Tuesday, May 31 2005 @ 01:30 PM EDT

Contributed by: Jonny German

Regular Box contributor Lugnut Fan steps up with the following interview of Blue Jay prospect Chip Cannon. Thanks, Chad!

Lansing Lugnut first baseman Rhame "Chip" Cannon was selected in the 8th round of the 2004 MLB draft. The Charleston, South Carolina native admits that not many people know his real first name. "My grandfather called me 'Chip' off the old block when I was a kid and the name stuck. Not many people know my first name," Chip confided as he smiled.

Chip did not travel to play his college ball as he attended The Citadel in Charleston. "It's a different place than normal college. You have to wear a uniform. You have the option to go into a military career while you're there and if you do, you are commissioned as an officer," stated Cannon.

While at The Citadel, Chip made his name in the Bulldog record books in a couple of offensive categories. His 40 career home runs is second only to Phil Hartig's 64, and Cannon tied Hartig for the single season home run record at The Citadel with 17. Unlike many young power hitters Cannon also showed tremendous patience at the plate his senior season, drawing a walk 71 times, 19 of which were intentional. Both totals are single season records. Cannon was recognized for his success his senior year in being named to the Louisville Slugger / TPX All-American team.

With Chip's offensive prowess, it is easy to forget that he also spent some time on the mound his junior season. "I kind of got thrown into the mix my junior year. We got into a situation that we didn't have anyone else to pitch and since I did in high school, I was thrown in." On the mound he accrued a 3-4 record in ten starts, with a 2.95 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 55 innings of work. When asked if he may transition to pitching at some point during his career, Chip smiles and says "No. I enjoyed it, but I like being able to relax and enjoy the game and the season."

After a successful college career, Chip still had no idea about his draft status. "You never really know. There are so many scouts looking at someone else. You can do something one night to impress someone and then do something else the next night that impresses someone else."

It was the Blue Jays who called Chip's name on draft day, and he was sent to Auburn of the New York - Penn League to start his professional career. The offensive success of his college career carried over to the Doubledays. When asked about the transition from the aluminum to the wood bat, Cannon states "It's tough the first year, but now that I'm a year away from it, I'm adapting pretty well." In 62 games with the Doubledays he hit .271 with 10 homers and 41 runs batted in. That tied him with Brian Hall for the team lead in homers, and his RBI total was the best on the team.

Chip has continued to show his power potential in Lansing this season. Through 41 games he has 8 home runs, the second-best total in the Midwest League, and has shown power to all fields, with half of his home runs being pulled to right field and the other half going out to left. He has been a consistent run producer in the Lansing cleanup spot with 27 RBIs through 41 games, good for a seventh place tie in the MWL. Chip has also displayed a very solid glove at first base. Look for Chip to spend the full season in Lansing, and as hard as he hits the ball, he may "Chip" a few windshields on the streets that run by Oldsmobile Park this summer.

Thanks again to Lugnut Fan for this interview. If you have an article or idea that you'd like to submit as a “Pinch Hit" on Batter's Box please contact us by e-mail.