Slugger Greg Vaughn excelled on the diamond from a young age. He starred at Kennedy High School before taking his powerful bat to the University of Miami and becoming a cornerstone at ‘The U’ during his time in South Florida.
Vaughn was drafted in the fourth round of the 1984 MLB Amateur draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. A four time All-Star, he spent time with five teams over the course of his 15- year MLB career. The 1998 Silver Slugger Award winner was one of the most feared power hitters in the game during his prime, mashing over 350 home runs while driving in over 1,000 runs during his career.
The multi-dimensional retiree is also heavily involved in the wine industry, partnering with a group to start GV23 Wines, which is Vaughn’s own brand and label of wine.
In the latest edition of Card Back Q&A, Vaughn discusses his short lived career as a roofer, taking off in Bob Uecker’s car, admiration for Bobby Bonds and more.
Tony Reid-Your 1992 Studio card mentioned that you had a job as a roofer as a young man. Can you tell us about your time roofing?
Greg Vaughn-That job lasted one day. I am from (Sacramento) California. When I went to Cape Cod I got a summer job. It was like ‘Hey can you carry these shingles up this roof?’ They were all A-frames. I called home and said ‘I think you guys are going to have to send me money because I’m not getting back on these roofs.’ Then they just had me drive the truck around. I called my coach and said I might just have to go home because I wasn’t going to be able to get on these roofs and carry supplies and all that stuff. (Laughs) So, they worked it out that I just drove around and delivered supplies from job site to job site all day. It took one day to stop being a roofer.
TR-That same Studio card stated that you wanted to meet Walter Payton. That is near and dear to my heart as a lifelong Chicago Bears fan. Did you get that opportunity before he passed?
GV– No I did not. I have become really good friends with Jim McMahon and other guys that played with him. Football was my first love. I loved the way he ran the ball and his passion for the game. I played running back on offense and safety on defense. They would call him ‘Sweetness’ and they called me ‘Sweet G’, so it was a way I could tie myself to Walter Payton. That was a glimpse inside Greg Vaughn’s worship of Walter Payton.
TR- Your 1993 Studio card noted that your favorite announcer was Bob Uecker. Can you share a story of your time with the long-time Brewers broadcaster and occasional actor?
GV-He is literally that funny in real life. I would go fishing with Ueck. He knows the game. He was able to play in the city he grew up in. He is one of those iconic type of people that get statues made of them. I am telling you, I played with some Hall of Famers but Ueck is probably the most popular person in the organization. He couldn’t go anywhere. He was a superstar in his own right. It was impressive.
I have a wine label, GV23 Wines and I was in Milwaukee at the ballpark recently and I wanted to know what my “adopted dad” thought of my wine. He had a few sips and he actually liked it. It’s always good to see him. Back when I was playing we used to have our cars underneath the stadium in the tunnel. I used to jump in his car and take it. He would be like ‘Goddamn, it Vaughn! Where are you at?’ It was a good time. He’s special. He was born to have that kind of job.
TR-The card also said your favorite player as a kid was Bobby Bonds. Very underrated pick but a good one, right?
GV– Yeah, growing up in Northern California we have a favorite American and National League team. The Giants were my National League team. The A’s were my American League team. I loved Bert Campaneris and Joe Rudi. I loved Reggie Jackson. I loved Vida Blue, ‘Blue Moon’, all of those guys. I loved Willie McCovey and Bobby Bonds. They were my two favorite players. I only got to see certain teams back then, the Dodgers and the local team. I loved Dave Parker. I really liked George Foster and Dave Winfield and the next thing I know I am playing against them.
TR-To grow up borderline idolizing these guys to then step in the same field and compete against them had to be an incredible thing.
GV-Internally, you just didn’t want to make yourself look like a fool if they said something to you. In retrospect, you had to feel like you belonged, otherwise you wouldn’t stay there. You didn’t want to be arrogant. From Rickey Henderson, to Dave Winfield and Jerry Royster, who is a member of my family and a hero of mine, I wanted to be humble and take any advice I could from those guys. There were so many players that were influential in my career that I just wanted to soak it all in and find out what made them successful and be a student of the game.