Over an incredible 20-year professional career, Trenidad Hubbard authored many memorable moments.
Now, he’s trying to help the next generation of baseball players do the same.
The Director of Player Development for Program 15 and the New Balance Future Stars Series, the veteran outfielder can look back to over 8,000 plate appearances and countless defensive gems when looking to work with players currently on their way up.
Hubbard played for nine different major-league teams, including memorable stints with the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. But it was with his first big league club, the Colorado Rockies, for whom he authored his most unforgettable moment.
“When I think about my career, the first thing that pops into my head is hitting a home run in Wrigley Field with my mom there,” Hubbard said. “My mom is no longer here with us, but when she was there in Wrigley Field, she had a big banner with my name on display. That’s pretty cool and something that will forever be etched in my memory.”
On September 6, 1995, the Chicago native hit a solo home run down the left field line off of Steve Trachsel in a 10-4 Rockies win over the Cubs. Hubbard left a lot of tickets for friends and family at will call that day, and what he did with the hanging, first pitch breaking ball he saw gave them all something they’d never forget.
“I was never intimidated by pitching, I’d had enough practice in the minor leagues to be prepared,” Hubbard said. “It worked out wonderful. I hit the ball out of the stadium and it felt like I was gliding around the basepaths. My feet never touched the ground. When I got to home plate, I saw the big sign that said ‘Trenidad’ and it was about ten family members holding it up because it had to be about 15 feet long. That was great to look up as I touched home plate, point to my mom, clap towards them and say thank you.”
Hubbard’s last big league action came with his hometown Cubs in 2003, and after two seasons split between Mexico and a few Triple-A teams, Hubbard was looking to transition out of an on-field role. That opportunity came in the form of a job with the Rockies, where he served as an outfield and baserunning coordinator for seven seasons.
It was while “Hub” was still with Colorado that he crossed paths with Program 15 CEO Jeremy Booth, who was a crosschecker for the Seattle Mariners at the time. Booth was scouting Hubbard’s son, who had been playing with the Dulles Vikings, and the two exchanged pleasantries.
“As a baseball man, he knew who I was, that’s how good Jeremy is,” Hubbard recalled. “He knows about everything associated with the game. As a player and coordinator, I didn’t know him because we don’t get a chance to delve into that side of the business, but we were in the same baseball circles. There was a time when he had reached out to me and described this program, and I thought it was wonderful.”
Eventually, Booth and Hubbard started working together, with both men eager to pass on the knowledge they’d gathered from their careers.
“I love with working with players,” Hubbard said. “I’d do that for free. It’s giving back. If you have the knowledge, what good is it if you can’t share it? What good is that experience if you’re going to keep it to yourself? That makes no sense to me.”
So, after discovering both had similar philosophies on the game, bringing Hubbard on board made all the sense in the world.
“Hub is invaluable,” offered Booth, who is also the New Balance Future Stars Series CEO.
“He's earned my trust both on and off the field and is a big part of what we do. He's a go to person for me, and his wisdom is something I draw on daily. We are better for having Hub, and I'm excited for Future with him leading our development.”
It’s clear that Hubbard has a strong understanding of how to do just that.
“It’s not just playing a game, it’s about training them and giving them a strong set of attributes that connects with what they already have and making sure they come out a better player,” Hubbard said. “What was appealing to me was the fact that Program 15 was multi-faceted; it was evaluation, it was training, it was mental skills, it was aiding in the recruitment process. It doesn’t get any better than that, that’s hard to find.”
Hubbard takes on a very active role with Program 15, not only serving as Director of Player Development, but working hands-on with players in both the mental and physical aspects of their game.
“I try to be an inspirational guy,” he said. “I want them to visualize themselves in Wrigley Field or Yankee Stadium and not in Houston at a training facility. Whether it’s baserunning leads and jumps and breaks or they’re over there in the cage, I need you to be somewhere else and I need you to visualize yourself at a major-league ballpark. I try to transform not just their vision, but also their talent into matching up with that vision.
“You’ll see me getting them on the bases and making sure that they’re familiar with breaks and leads and stolen base breaks and leads when they get into that situation, or you’ll see me working with them in the outfield on the essentials of proper footwork, technique and throwing guys out. A lot of guys think that playing the outfield is shagging. So I tell them, ‘Look, we can get pitchers out here to catch pop-ups. We don’t make catches, we make plays.’ So it’s a difference. I get them to take their opportunity to get better seriously. All we’re doing is giving these players the laboratory and showing them how to get better and making sure that their mix is right, their approach is excellent. Perfection is unattainable, so we want to make sure they don’t beat themselves with an exercise in futility in looking for that. Excellence is attainable, and that’s what we look to get them closer to.”