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During his recent appearance on Bret Boone's podcast, former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Adam Dunn talked about playing for Boone's father, former Reds manager Bob, in 2002, and a hitting coach that season Dunn said set him back.
"The end product of my career wasn't what I was. I've got a lot of reasons why," Dunn told Boone. "We had a hitting coach while your dad was there. Again, love him or hate him - this one I hate. Set me back. And I could never get back to ... I had this conversation - ready for this one? So I make the All-Star Game my rookie year (2002). I don't know what I'm (hitting) - .300? I don't know what it is. Haven't really failed. After the All-Star Game, we go to - I don't remember where it is - I think it was like Arizona, San Diego. So I take an 0-fer in Arizona, and I take an 0-fer for the first game, maybe an 0-fer the first two games in San Diego. Well this hitting coach says, 'Hey, need to meet you on the field, early.' I'm like, 'Yeah, no problem.' Says, 'Hey, we knew this was gonna happen to you.' Went on this whole elaborate - now mind you, I've already been warned by one of our other guys that had him saying, 'Dude, don't listen to him.' I'm like, 'I'm 21 years old. Yeah, he's my big-league hitting coach. Of course I'm gonna listen to him.' Well he says I don't pull the ball enough to be a big-power guy. I walk too much. And I agree with that - I knew what he meant by I walk too much. And I agree with that. But again, I'm 21 years old. I'm like, 'I walk too much? What the hell's he talking about? I don't pull the ball enough - what the hell's he talking about?' So about three or four times a week - on the field - we would hit these weighted softballs that he would flip. Right? On the field. Big-league stadium. Big-leaguer. Flip. My front hip - and he told me to try to hit it off the right-field foul pole. So of course I'm out there. And he's like, 'Well, you know, Geoff Jenkins can do it at will. And Ryan Klesko can do it at will.' So of course I'm like OK. Now I'm really doing this. And he had all these contraptions and gadgets. So, my second half didn't go too hot. Which, OK fine. Well, again, I used to work out in Arizona. So this certain hitting coach lived in Arizona. So now I'm hitting with him in the offseason. Right? And I never could get back to that feel that I had my whole life. I'd go back and watch film. And I'd go back and do this and I'm like, 'Doesn't help. Like I can't feel what I used to feel.' And I remember it. I'll look at pictures - not even videos - I'll look at pictures of old swings, right? And I'm like, 'I remember that feeling. I remember hitting a home run off of Roy Oswalt - 97 mile-an-hour kind of up and in to dead-center field, maybe left-center field in Houston before they brought the fence (in).' I mean just smashed it. I remember running around the bases going, 'How in the hell? Like how did I hit it over there? Like I don't even know how I did it.' You know? But I could never get back to that feel ever again. It would come in spurts. But I could never - hmm. Yeah, there's a story for you."
Jim Lefebvre was the Reds' hitting coach in 2002. It was his only season as Cincinnati's hitting coach. He resigned Sept. 28.
Dunn hit .300 with 17 homers in 366 plate appearances during the first half of 2002. He hit .191 with nine homers in 310 PAs after the break
Last August, former Reds radio play-by-play broadcaster Marty Brennaman squashed a long-standing beef with Dunn.
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This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Adam Dunn blames former Reds hitting coach for setback in 2002