Shane Loux played professional baseball for 19 seasons, making his big league debut with the Detroit Tigers in 2002. He finished off his career winning a World Series ring with the San Francisco Giants in 2012. He is now working for the Arizona Diamondbacks in player development, coaching their short-season rookie team in Missoula, Montana.
We had a chance to ask Shane some questions about his experience in major (and minor) league baseball. And yes, we asked him what it was like being on the infamous 2003 Detroit Tigers.
You were a second round pick out of High School. What were the expectations like and was it difficult to handle at such a young age?
I was mature for my age, 17, so I feel like I handled it well. I was also naive to what was going on around me. I watch kids my age trying to do it now and I’m surprised I’m not more screwed up than I am. It’s a lot for a young kid to handle. I moved to Florida at 17 and lived in dorm with guys 5 years older and was expected to perform at an extremely high level. It forced me to grow up fast, which I’m glad for now. Looking back, it’s unreal that I survived, but I didn’t know any better.
What advice would you give other high school kids who are drafted early?
I would suggest that kids keep their mouths shut and do what is asked of them. It sounds so easy, but it isn’t, especially when some kids come from privilege and are treated like everyone else in professional ball. The kids I work with seem to think that being a professional baseball player is like a cool summer job and not a career. They need to understand that every decision they make in their lives have either a positive or negative effect on their career.
What was it like being on the 2003 Detroit Tigers, who lost a historic 119 games? Was it something that the players really noticed or felt?
The 03 Tigers was rough. Of course we knew how bad of a season we were having. It was hard because everyone was on edge and we just had a hard time pulling out of the funk we were in. Nobody gave up, we just weren’t winning. The hardest part was knowing that every other team just expected to come in and beat the hell out of us every night. It was difficult to not get that feeling ourselves. I do think it shows some character that we were able to win 5 of 6 to end the year. We could have easily folded and just collected our checks and went home. That last week was like we won the World Series every night and we finished the year strong as to not be the worst MLB team in history, that was something. We still are the worst team in AL history, but not MLB history. haha
You went five years in between reaching the major leagues between 2003 and 2008, and another three years from 2009-2012. What kept you motivated to keep trying to get back?
My motivation was simple. I wanted that feeling of being one of the best pitchers in the world. I made my whole world revolve around getting back to the Show. I did get married, I didn’t have kids, I didn’t do much at all except consume my life with thoughts of getting back. I became obsessed. I had doubters and that helped too. I rededicated my life, health, diet, training to one thing. I also focused on playing for the love of the game instead of anything else. It worked out because I made it happen. I had to work harder and be better than everyone else and I was. I created my own opportunities. That and it was in God’s plan for me to use my story to help motivate others, so I guess it wasn’t all me.
Who was the toughest batter you ever had to face?
Josh Hamilton. I don’t want to talk about it. Next question. (Editors note – Hamilton went 3-for-7 with two walks and a home run against Loux in their big league matchups).
What is your favorite big league memory?
Of course having my family be there for my first game in the MLB is right up there. What also stands out is when I got to be a part of Matt Cain‘s perfect game in June of 2012. He is a friend of mine and so it was special to watch him chase history that night. Also a little known fact is that I was warming up under the stadium in the 9th in case he gave up a hit. I’m so glad he was able to finish it off. I guess winning a World Series that year with the Giants was pretty sweet too.
What are you up to these days?
I am a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks Player Development staff. I coach for their Short Season Rookie ball team in Missoula, Montana. I enjoyed playing for 19 years, but coaching is the best thing I’ve ever done in my professional life. I enjoy it so much. The opportunity to coach up young players and teach them how to be men in this game, on and off the field, is such an honor. I am forever grateful for guys like Mike Bell and Dan Carlson for giving me the chance to find my true calling in coaching. Because of some of my old Tigers coaches like Jeff Jones, Steve Mccatty, Brit Burns and others, I feel equipped to handle this job. I am forever grateful.