The Cleburne Railroaders, the only Texas team in the American Baseball Association, is managed by former Chicago Cubs infielder, Logan Watkins. Logan took some time to talk to us about his baseball journey and what the team means to him.
When did your interest in baseball begin?
I have always been someone who loved sports in general. Baseball is just the one that ended up being the best fit in terms of long term possibilities. Competition was what I was most passionate about.
You played for the Chicago Cubs in 2013/2014. How did that come about? What was it like to step onto the field as a professional baseball player for the first time?
I was drafted out of high school and just climbed the minor league ladder year to year until I reached the top. When I finally reached the big leagues it was a big weight off my shoulders. I felt I finally reached the pinnacle of the profession that I had invested in and sacrificed so much for. I mostly played second base.
What sidelined your career and drew you to Texas?
My career took a hit in 2015 when I suffered a ruptured achilles in spring training. I was able to play a few seasons after the surgery but never reached the big leagues again. Once Covid happened and I didn’t play for a full season, I weighed all my opportunities. Coaching ended up being what made the most sense for myself and my family – relocating to Texas.
You’re now the manager of the Cleburne Railroaders in Cleburne, TX. Tell us about the organization and its mission. What makes this team unique?
Our organization is striving to be a championship organization. What makes us unique is that we are the only independent ball team in Texas, and we currently have many Texans on our roster. On Sundays we change the name of our team to the Lonestar Railroaders to reflect and celebrate our uniqueness.
The Cleburne Railroaders is a baseball team that was established in 1906. It has embraced the city of Cleburne with its rich railroad heritage. In 2021, we wore new uniforms and changed the team’s colors to caboose red, whistlestop white and steel rail blue. The stirrups mimic the ones by the original railroaders worn in 1906. We play our home games at The Depot baseball stadium.
We have two community outreaches: the Home Plate Project and Hometown Heroes.
The Railroaders Home Plate Project is a non-profit initiative for the purpose of fielding the needs of Johnson County families. Founded by the Railroaders ownership group, this food bank partners with La Moderna Pasta Company to provide food and hope to our neighbors in need.
During every home game, The Railroaders Hometown Heroes recognizes a member of the armed services, a first responder, healthcare professional or other deserving citizen for their bravery in the face of adversity and their commitment to serving our community.
Talk about your journey to being the manager of the Cleburne Railroaders.
My journey coaching has been short but eventful so far. I just thank the ownership for having faith in me to lead this team.
Share some highs and lows of the Railroaders past baseball seasons.
This is only my second season with the team. That being said, we made the playoffs for the first time in our team’s history last season.
What does it take to manage the Railroaders? What do you look for in a player?
It takes patience and trust in your guys. I look for a history of success regardless of measurables.
Describe your 2022 summer season.
This year is still to be written. I think we have a hungry team that is ready to take the next step and build off our success from last season.
What are some of your future hopes/dreams for the team?
Hopefully our future is being a consistent contender for championships year in and year out. Building the foundation has been a lot of work but it will be worth it long term.
Cover photo from Logan Watkins