“Every time you come out here, you ask him how he’s doing, he’s doing great. Another day in Paradise,” said Evansville Otters Infielder David Cronin.
“He’s so personable. You can talk to him about anything,” said Otters Pitcher Tyler Vail.
“If somebody wrote a book on him it would be a best seller,” said Otters Pitcher Austin Nicely.
“He’s an absolute freak of nature, with his energy and his athleticism,” said Otters Manager Andy McCauley
Teacher, confidante, racontouer, inspiration. Charles Boots Day is all these things and more to the Evansville Otters. For the past seven seasons he’s been the team’s wily bench coach, a steady hand, trying to help players get back on the organized baseball path.
“I like to work kids and try to get the best of their ability out and try to make a ball club. That’s the final thing, getting a contract signed,” said Otters Bench Coach Charles “Boots” Day.
Boots knows a thing or two about that, as his own odyessy to the Major League’s began in 1969.
“The first time I got called up, I was with the Cardinals in triple A. That was a thrill. I didn’t really think about it. All of a sudden, Warren Spahn was our manager, and he says “After the game, come to my room, when the bus comes back.”. I said “Ok“. I had no idea what was going on,” said Day.
Playing with the likes of Hall of Famers like Bob Gibson and Lou Brock, not to mention Ernie Banks and Fergie Jenkins, when he was traded to the Cubs the next season, was a thrill. However, Boots best years were spent with the fledgling expansion Montreal Expos, where he spent the next 3-plus seasons.
“The first couple years, it was like a revolving door. I mean, there were a lot of players going in and out. They were trying to find the right combination. They eventually did it after I left,” said Day.
The revolving door eventually sent Boots to the minors, where he ended his career with the Triplets. It also introduced him to the Pocket City.
“I enjoy Evansville. Evansville’s a nice little, it’s not really a big city, it’s not a small city. It’s just right, and the people are really friendly. I’ve really never met a bad person in this town, since I’ve been here,” said Day
Now, Boots Day may never have his bust placed here at Bosse Field like Bob Griese, however that’s not to say he doesn’t have a bit of this stadium’s history in his DNA, as well.
“It’s just neat bringing him back. He played for the Triplets. He was the first manager for the Otters in ’95. There’s a lot of connections here to Evansville. He’s just a calming force on the bench for me. Its been a match made in heaven. And as long as I’m here, he’ll have a job with me,” said McCauley.
Perhaps one of the most important roles Boots has is that of Otters batting practice pitcher, which he serves dutifully at the tender age of 71.
This is my 54th year in baseball, and I’ve thrown a lot of balls and I have Never had a bad arm. Never had a sore arm. As long as I can Keep throwing, I’ll keep coming back,” said Day.
Now Boots will be the first to concede he can’t go on forever. However, while the finish line is in sight, day is not ready to call it a career.
“Not yet. It’s on the back burner. It’s kind of creeping up to the front. It might be on the middle burner right now,”