Charlie Gamble IV says that the Red Sox are going to win the World Series. Charlie also says that the American League is dominant and that the NL is waaaaay too far behind right now. All of this and more from a young man that has taken a few chances and now he is working his way toward the Major leagues in the National League of all places. This coming from a life-time Atlanta Braves and Chipper Jones fan.
Charlie Gamble IV has made his way from the recreation baseball fields at Pleasant Garden all the way to the Houston Astros farm system and next season we may see him playing either first or third base for the Lexington Legends when the Astros Class A club comes to town to face the Greensboro Grasshoppers at First Horizon Park.
Charlie got his start at PG but before it was all settled he had gone through Southern Guilford and then on to NC A&T. Gamble’s dad, Charlie III, was a star player at Southeast Guilford and then later was the top catcher for Fighting Christians of Elon College. CG III then went on to coach at Northeast Guilford and at Southern Guilford before calling it quits just about a year ago. Education runs deep in the Gamble family with both of CG IV’s parents having teaching backgrounds.
CG IV just completed his first year with the Astros and spent the summer at Albany, New York with the Tri-City Valley Cats and even though it was short-season Low Class A, the Cats played in a beautiful 5,000 seat facility. Charlie just out of college at NC A&T and the Cats played 75 straight games non-stop every day, and that’s a big adjustment for kid coming right out of college. Gamble’s batting average hovered right around .243 and he had 4 HR’s, in fact two of the long-balls came in the same game.
Charlie says he noticed his greatest improvement coming back when he was in school at A&T. His coach Keith Shumate really helped CG IV get his game going and Shumate stressed hitting the weights which gave Gamble power that he had never had before. As a sophomore with the Aggies CG IV hit 13 HR’s and then he had nine as a junior and finished off his senior year with 10 dingers.
Charlie Gamble IV kind of let’s you know that there are still some good kids out there, and with Charlie at around 22 years old, he is still a kid at heart. His baseball heart belongs to the NC A&T Aggies and he says it was probably the best decision he ever made going to school at A&T. If baseball doesn’t keep him for a lifetime he hopes to one day be an Agriculture Tech teacher on the college level and he also wants to coach real bad, again on the college level. He still needs to complete his student-teaching assignments and has a keen eye on obtaining a masters degree in the AG Tech area of study.
This CG IV kid has his stuff together and he says he owes so much of it to his coaches at A&T, like the man his dad coached. That’s right, CG III was Keith Shumate’s high school coach at Northeast Guilford. CG III is also the man that taught our Charlie Gamble all of the basics and fundamentals of the game in their backyard down in Pleasant Garden.
I have heard so many people say over the years that nothing good ever came out of A&T. As the Aggies approach their Homecoming this weekend, I can tell you one thing that did!!!!!
Charlie Gamble IV. If my tape recorder would have been working properly I would have had 45 minutes to an hour with this kid, that’s how smart he is. All of the kids we work with are pretty smart, but without exception, Gamble is really one of the best I have ever seen.
Looking for a mold or for an example to use when developing your players? Bring in CG IV, and the risk reward will be worth the Gamble. Charlie was the MEAC Player of the Year in 2007 and his Aggie baseball team made the NCAA playoffs and traveled to face Clemson, in Clemson, S.C. back in 2005. The kid is 6’6 and weighs 240 pounds and plays on the left side of the infield but he would not be where he is today without the weight training. He started hitting it hard at A&T and now he works out several days a week at the Jamestown YMCA following his Houston Astros off-season workout program to the max.
CG IV was a first baseman in high school at Southen Guilford and then he moved to third in college but he never pitched a day in his life. Never could pick up the mechanics of what was going on out on the mound he told me but it sure didn’t stop him from playig a lifetime load of baseball. Right now, during this off-season, is the first time he hasn’t been playing baseball in the fall since he was six. Now he must spend his days training and doing what the Astros tell him to do.
Having never been a pitcher didn’t slow down CG IV’s baseball progression at all. In the summers back in grade school and HS he was in the Bronco, Pony, Colt, and Post 53 Legion programs and when he got to college at NC A&T he spent summers with Dale Ijames and his Southern Collegiate Summer League and with the Fayetteville Swamp Dogs of the Coastal Plain League. Charlie found success in Kernersville with Ijames and the Swamp Dogs set CPL records for wins and for attendance while Gamble was in Fayetteville. He told me he wished he could have played for the Hi-Toms or the Asheboro Copperheads but you go where they want you and that is that.
Before Houston selected Gamble he was hearing from the Rockies, Marlins, and Padres among others and CG IV says the young up-and-coming third baseman he watches is Ryan Zimmerman with the Nationals and for guys that have been around third longer, it’s Scott Rolen. Charlie only missed one game all four years while he was in college and that was to attend his granmother’s funeral. He pretty much played in EVERY college game while he was at NC A&T.
Where was he when he got selected in the 25th round by the Astros back in early June? At his apartment over on Spring Garden Street with his old buddy from Southern Guilford, Jake Smith. Jake, a catcher, is now with the Oakland A’s Class A Kane County club and Jake was the Johnny Bench award winner while in college at East Carollina for being named the nation’s best catcher. Charlie and Jake were teammates at Southern Guilford.
You may one day find him playing at third base for the Houston Astros or he may end up teaching and coaching on the college level but one thing is for certain already, “It’s no risk when you’re talking to Gamble”. This kid is a bonna fide keeper. He’s one of the good ones and one day he will probably be in the NC A&T Sports Hall of Fame.
To find out more about CG IV, just go down to the Sumner community or to the Pleasant Garden Recreation Center, he’s already a legend in those neighborhoods.
****Discussion with Charlie Gamble IV took place on Thursday October, 25 2007 at George’s Pizza and Sub on Randleman Road.*****