It's hard for someone who's 6-foot-6 to fly under the radar, but that's just what Corey Hart has done compared to some of the other talented young players on the Brewers. Last year, he hit .295 with 24 homers with 81 RBIs. Entering the final week of this regular season, Hart has a .272 average with 20 homers and 89 RBIs. The 26-year-old Kentuckian is also third in the NL with 45 doubles. He recently answered some questions from MLBPLAYERS.com:
MLBPLAYERS.com: As you approached this season, what were your goals?
Hart: I like to set goals, but they are more team-oriented goals. I would like to have certain numbers, but the goal here is to make the playoffs. If you do that, you are likely to have good individual numbers. That is why we win.
MLBPLAYERS.com: How do you evaluate your season?
Hart: I think it could have been better, but I think it also could have been a lot worse. My approach has been to contribute. Our team has had such a good year, and I play with a lot of stars, I just try and do what I can. They are going to try and pitch around Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, so I look to contribute. If I stay focused, I will be able to contribute, and I think I have done that.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You have been with this club now for a couple of years. How does this year's team compare to when you were first breaking in?
Hart: We have more wins now because we have winners on this team. Some of the guys here before were playing for themselves and their numbers as opposed to victories. We now have veteran guys like Mike Cameron, Craig Counsell and Jason Kendall, and they know how to win. That has helped young guys like myself prepare. They have been huge.
MLBPLAYERS.com: One stat that might surprise people is the number of stolen bases you have. Can you talk about your approach in that category?
Hart: I am not going to hit 40 homers, so I try and do some of the little things. I have always been pretty quick, so I try and use that as much as I can. It helps our team out when it happens in the right situation, and it is a part of my game that I like to sneak up on some people. I don't think that some people respect when I go, so I have been able to get my share. It is nice to have in my repertoire.
MLBPLAYERS.com: At 6-foot-6, does your size help or hurt you on the basepaths?
Hart: It probably takes away from me some. I work hard on reading pitchers, and our coaches do a good job of letting me know what I need to do and when I need to do it. Preparation is key, as is reading pitchers. Good jumps help as well.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You hit 24 homers in 2007 and 20 so far in 2008. Of your 44 career home runs, which one is the most memorable?
Hart: Probably my first one. It was also my first big league hit, and it was a great feeling. I haven't hit any walk-off homers or postseason homers yet.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You have said in the past that, if you weren't a professional athlete, you would be a teacher or a coach. What do you like about those professions?
Hart: Working with kids is fun. When you can influence somebody young, it is great. I had good influences on me when I was a kid. Baseball is what I love to do, but to help, teach and mold -- that inspires me. Down the road I will do that.
MLBPLAYERS.com: Speaking of kids, you are active in Garth Brooks' Touch 'Em All Foundation. Why are you active with that foundation?
Hart: Being from Kentucky, I'm a country music fan. So is my wife. We follow Garth Brooks -- to do something like that is nice. I have three kids, and, whenever you can help kids, you want to.
MLBPLAYERS.com: You have three kids and you are just 26 years of age. How busy are you when you are not at the ballpark?
Hart: Any free time I have is for my kids. My off-days aren't off-days. I am at a park or an amusement park. Traveling during the baseball season is tough, but we try not to go long without seeing each other. When you do have time, it goes to them.
Jeff Moeller is a freelance writer based in Los Angeles.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.