JACKSON -- The 2019 Jackson Bulls amateur baseball season is in the books and the countdown begins for 2020. Andy Wolf will be there, as he always is, providing Bulls fans with a bridge to both the past and the future.
Wolf, 40, has played Bulls baseball for 20 years. Baseball is what he does and, perhaps more poignantly, hitting is what he does really well.
This summer, Wolf became the team’s all-time hits leader, passing Kip Wachal’s 679. He’s well beyond that number now, and he figures to push it even farther forward next year and probably, beyond that.
It isn’t hits that Wolf is gunning for, and to listen to him discuss the subject makes that clear. Rather than talk about his record, he’d like to talk about the excellent teams he’s been fortunate to have played on, all the other outstanding hitters he’s seen, and his gratefulness for having been blessed with good health.
What’s interesting about Wolf is his consistency and his eye. Before collecting the hits record, he became the team’s career leader in walks. He’s also had a tendency, over the years, to get hit by pitches, which puts his on-base percentage very high. What he is, then, is a ballplayer who goes about things the professional way, leaving his coach, Scott Bahr, to consider him among the best players who’s ever worn a Bulls uniform.
A leadoff hitter, there are few 40-year-olds that can match Wolf’s speed. And that’s a good thing to have in a guy who’s got so much experience under his belt.
Originally from Bancroft, Iowa, Wolf currently resides in Milford, Iowa. After completing successful seasons in high school, he went on to Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge before finishing up at Morningside in Sioux City.
The Globe recently discussed baseball, records and athletic longevity with the Bulls’ hits record-holder for a Drill episode. You can see the video online at www.dglobe.com. Here’s a sampling of the interview:
QUESTION: What’s the secret to being a hits leader?
ANSWER: “That’s a product of being healthy for a lot of years. I’m playing in my 20th year of amateur baseball this year. I’ve been fortunate to be on good teams, great teammates, good coaches and managers along the way. So it’s a product of being around for a long time. That doesn’t mean I’m the best hitter on the Bulls, that’s for sure.”
QUESTION: How long do you think you might be pulling on that uniform?
ANSWER: “I’m 40 now, so as far as how long I’m going to play: You know, life is going to dictate that. I’m healthy, they keep asking me to come back, I’ll consider it every year. It just depends on life situations. My kids are 9 and 6 now, both in Little League, so I want to spend time helping them along their baseball journey. A big thanks to my wife. I mean, it’s a big sacrifice for my family. My wife Amber supports me playing. She makes road trips with us, comes up to Jackson. Takes care of the boys when I’m not around. That all plays a part of it.”
QUESTION: How hard is it to keep producing hits at age 40?
ANSWER: “I think I’ve gotten better as a hitter as the years have gone on. When I was younger I could beat out infield hits, and when I made mistakes I could make up for it with speed. Now I’ve learned to be more patient, to hit the ball the other way -- and hit where it’s pitched, and use that experience to my benefit.”