MIAMI -- For Rockies catching coach Rene Lachemann, who had four Major League managerial stints, Monday's opener against the Marlins will be his 51st in professional baseball.
Lachemann, 68, recalled his very first one as a player, although not for anything that happened on the field. The Kansas City Athletics signed him as an amateur free agent out of the University of Southern California, since there was no Draft in those days. Lachemann did Spring Training in Daytona Beach, Fla., and wasn't sure where he would begin his pro catching career.
Lachemann recalled, "They had socks -- red socks for Triple-A, blue socks for Double-A, green socks for B ball, I think it was. Lewiston [Idaho] was B. Then Daytona Beach had yellow socks and Burlington, Iowa, had purple socks. I had every pair of socks there was in Spring Training. I ended up in Burlington, had a pretty good year and went to the big leagues the next year.
"I remember we had a day off before going to Burlington. I went and laid out on the beach and got terrible sunburn. Then we took the train from Daytona Beach to Burlington, Iowa, and I had blisters on my back and was in all kinds of pain. The game was probably against Quad Cities. I don't recall what happened in the game, but Opening Day is always special."