#FormerRangerGreat: An Interview With Gabe Kapler
Kapler played more games with Texas than any other team in his career (3seasons) 322 games, (2nd Boston 312); ages 24 through 26.
Drafted 57th round (1,487th overall) by DET in 1995, signed 10 days later.
First game as a Ranger: (Opening Day 2000) 3-4, 2 Home Runs, 3 Runs, 3 Runs Batted In, 9 Total Bases
28-game hitting streak for the Rangers in 2000.
Finished with a line of .280/.342/.775 with the Rangers
Last professional game: August 14, 2010 as a member of the Tampa Bay Rays
Gabe Kapler: *Ha! I suppose it means a lot of my teammates giving me crap! I took a ton of heat for being a rookie and in a national TV ad. It was flattering at the same time because I was made aware that someone appreciated my work ethic. I can only control my effort level, and how I treat people so recognition on both fronts is always proof of concept that I’m doing some of the right things. *
DA: You did commercials for K-Swiss when you were the Minor League Player of the Year with Detroit, what was that like?
GK: *Those commercials were hard work. They felt like workouts because the filming was repetitive and all day long. I was exhausted by the end of the shoot but I learned a ton about the business of making a commercial. Sometimes we see something on TV and don’t realize how much effort from numerous people it takes to make a project go. I was better informed by the end of that experience with K-Swiss.*
DA: You wore a blank jersey in a commemorative game in Detroit- tell us about that?
GK: *Each guy that started the final game of the last game ever in Tiger Stadium wore the jersey number of the all-time great that played that position. I played CF and my all-time player happened to be Ty Cobb. Cobb didn’t have a jersey number so neither did I. That last game at Tiger Stadium is one I will never forget. *
DA: What was it like being traded for Juan Gonzalez (along with five other guys)?
GK: *It was an honor, but I knew in my heart it was the combo of me and others that netted the return of Juan. Justin Thompson was a huge name at the time. He was known as one of the guys in the game who was consistently getting Ken Griffey Jr. out. Frank Catalanotto was in that deal; the trade was much larger than me.*
DA: The high point of your career would probably be winning the World Series with the Red Sox- what was the low point?
GK: *The low point of my career was being optioned to AAA Colorado Springs while in the middle of a 3 year contract with the Rockies. I was only there for a few weeks before being released and signed by the Boston Red Sox. I really thought I was going to have an opportunity to do some great things in Colorado so it was a major disappointment to not have that chance. *
DA: What was a unique memory from your time in Texas?
*I have the most amazing memories from my time in Texas. Mikey Young, Rusty Greer, Billy Hass, Cat, those guys mean the world to me. I guess my favorite memory is doing a spot for TV with Young. We had an all-out ketchup and mustard fight. It’s on video somewhere. Also, I did a weekly radio show with Bob and Dan from the Ticket, BaD radio. I had as much fun doing that show as anything in the clubhouse. Bob and Dan are still friends to this day.*
DA: The Rangers are much different from when you left in 2002, what is your opinion of the Rangers as an organization?
GK: *The Rangers today are a professional, classy organization. From top to bottom, dedicated, smart individuals working together to bring a World Series title the the Metroplex. When I was in town, Doug Melvin was on the right track. We were starting to develop in 2001. Doug is one of the best baseball men I’ve ever been around. Absolute stud.*
DA: What do you think the Rangers need to do to get back to the World Series (and win it this time)?
GK: *Honestly? There is some luck and good fortune involved. I could easily make the case that the Rangers have been the best team in baseball for the past 3 years. Sometimes it comes down to health, a little luck and momentum.*
DA: Give us one slightly incriminating road trip story from the minors or majors?
GK: *I was using the restroom leisurely one day while I was in A ball. My roommate needed to get in there but I was taking my time. He couldn’t wait and tried to take a dump in a waste basket. He completely missed fired. The room was not in good shape.*
DA: Have you ever been on a team where someone was stronger than you?
GK: *It depends on how you define strong? Travis Hafner was as country strong as any human I’ve been around. I pride myself on being mentally strong. Strong to me means something different than it does to most, I assume.*
DA: How was your experience in Japan with the Yomiuri Giants?
DK: *My time in Japan was a great learning experience. I did not play well while I was there so that was a bummer. I loved the food, culture travel and adventure of it all.*
DA: Wikipedia says you have 11 tattoos. Please give us an interesting back-story to one of your tattoos.
GK: *All of my tattoos have their own story. Each one represents an emotional struggle or the celebration of something. The ones that mean the most to me are my wife and my two sons’ names.*
DA: How amazing was it to coach and play for the Israel team in the World Baseball Classic?
GK: *Very cool to represent a country. I guess knowing that an entire nation (or at least the baseball fans of an entire nation) was hanging on the team outcome was overwhelming and inspiring.*
DA: What would be some things you would do differently in your baseball career (switch-hit, play a different position)?
GK: *How about play football? If I could go back and do one thing different it would be to be a QB. I’d do just about anything for that opportunity. *
DA: What’s the most bizarre item you have?
GK: *I don’t own bizarre items. In fact, I try not to own items, period. I like simplicity when it comes to ‘things’.”
DA: Are you the brains or brawn behind Egraphs.com?
GK: *Neither. I can tell you that I believe wholeheartedly in the product for the fans and the platform for the players. Egraphs is a shared experience between a player and a fan, immortalized forever. When I was 15 years old, if I could carry around Cal Ripken Jr.’s voice for inspiration, I would have been a happy kid. I can only imagine what it would have been like to hear him say something like “Gabe, keep working hard and one day we can play against each other.”. This dream of mine became a reality years later in Baltimore. I wish I had an egraph from him to look back on now. Here’s an example of an egraph from Kinsler to a fan. https://www.egraphs.com/3042
DA: Where is Egraphs going to be in five years?
GK: *In five years Egraphs will be connecting celebrities across the world with their fans in a unique and magical way. Fans everywhere will be enjoying this experience and sharing egraphs with their loved ones.*
DA: Where is Gabriel Stefan Kapler going to be in five years?
GK: *I hope I’ll be watching my sons play on the same high school football team with a bag of sunflower seeds in my hand.*
Thanks for the memories Gabe, we will always remember you as a #FormerRangerGreat.