Some kids when they are growing up hang out with the jocks and hope to become a professional athlete. Other kids when they grow up mock the jocks and want to be in a band.
Then you have the Joe Strains of the world who get to do both.
A native of Colorado, Strain signed as an undrafted free agent in 1976 with the Giants. Surprisingly, the kid that nobody wanted was a good hitter with solid speed. He batted. 333 in rookie ball and played 136 in Class A, he batted .338, posted an OPS of .872 and stole 42 bases.
Was being overlooked the source of attitude for Strain? Did it put a chip on his shoulder? In 1978 he was hitting well in AAA and by 1979, he was in the majors playing for the Giants.
There, according to the blog “Sons of Johnny LeMaster“, he teamed up with fellow recent call ups John Tamargo and Greg Johnston to form a punk rock band called Giants Prospects.
Granted, they didn’t seem to put that much effort into the name of their band, but they did indeed perform. In fact Joe Strain was the lead vocals.
Now how do you get to be a major league baseball player AND the lead singer in a band. That is almost Buckaroo Bonzai level crazy.
Strain started 65 games for the 1979 Giants. He reached base 3 times in his second game. He also hit a go ahead homer off of Rudy May in the 9th inning in a July 10th game against Montreal.
But in 1980, Rennie Stennett joined the team and was the every day second baseman. Strain was reduced to a bench role, but managed to hit .286 as a part time player.
After the 1980 season wrapped up, Strain was sent with Phil Nastu packing to the Cubs for Jerry Martin, Jesus Figueroa and Mike Turgeon. The band in San Francisco was broken up.
Things did not work out in Chicago and 1981 was his final big league season.
Strain became a minor league manager and a big league scout after his playing days and actually contributed to the Giants winning the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014. One of the players he scouted was Sergio Romo, who was dancing on the mound when San Francisco defeated Detroit for the 2012 title.
No word if he ever requested his entrance music to be one of the songs performed by “The Giants Prospects.”
And if anyone out there has one of Joe Strain’s recordings, please send it along to firstname.lastname@example.org