MEMPHIS, Tenn. - It's not very often that the home crowd is asked to cheer for a player on the visiting team, but on Tuesday night at AutoZone Park, Round Rock Express first baseman and former Memphis Redbird, John Gall, was honored with his own bobblehead night.
"About five days ago somebody came to me and said there was a bobblehead [of me]. I said 'Are you kidding?'" Gall said before Tuesday's game. "It's been awhile since I've played here, but it's always flattering."
The California-native was among eight other former Redbirds to be honored in the 2009 bobblehead series, known as the All AutoZone Park Team.
Receiving the six-inch representation of himself upon his arrival in Memphis and given a few days to look it over, Gall said he was pleased with how it turned out.
"Actually, I had one back in '04 that was a little more generic and so I saw this one and I was actually pretty excited," he said. "The whole Mizuno cleats and socks up and the whole thing, it's a good job."
During Round Rock's stay at AutoZone Park, the miniature Gall found himself atop No. 22's locker, clear for all to see. He said his teammates were definitely giving him grief about it, with Round Rock's other former Redbird Chad Paronto leading the pack.
"I played with [Paronto] here in '04...he wishes [he had one]," Gall said of Paronto's reaction. "I don't know where the Chad Paronto bobblehead is, but you guys should have one."
John Gall played in the Cardinals organization for seven years and with the Redbirds from 2003-2006. He played 454 games in Memphis and hit .292 (476x1630) with 57 homers, 231 runs and 255 RBI.
"I have great memories of Memphis," he said. "We've had some great teams here. And as far as the stadium goes, it was a good flashback coming in here and playing on the Fourth of July the other night."
Gall should enjoy playing at AutoZone Park, having a .365 (19x52) as a visitor entering the recent series. Six of his seven home runs and 14 of his 20 RBI against the Redbirds have been at AutoZone Park.
He also commented on his major league debut with the Cardinals on July 26, 2005.
"It was San Diego and I remember that Tony La Russa didn't show up to the game until about 45 minutes before the game time, there was no line-up up, and I had no idea that I was playing. I had just gone through BP and thought I wasn't going to be playing. It was a right-handed pitcher throwing and then I got thrown in the line-up and my first hit was first at-bat."
Despite the surprise start to his debut, Gall went two-for-four that day with a single and a double. Gall only played 30 games for the Cardinals before being released from the club in the summer of 2006. Since then, Gall has played for the Marlins and is now in the Astros organization.
When asked if he wanted to guarantee a home run on John Gall bobblehead night, he refused and instead made an easier guarantee.
"I'll promise you I'll be playing first base and batting fourth."
And so he was a man of his words.
Gall went one-for-four later Tuesday night and maintained a lofty .363 (4x11) average at AutoZone Park. The former 'Bird will return to Memphis one more time this season at the end of July, but this time it will be on Adam Wainwright bobblehead night.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.