MOUNT PLEASANT - When Jarvis Brown goes to work, he heads to the ballpark - and vice-versa.
Each time, he returns to the sport he's loved and played since he was a 5-year-old kid tagging along with an older brother: baseball.
Brown, 43, of Mount Pleasant, is now a full-time assistant baseball coach for Carthage College. Along the way, he played minor league baseball, Major League ball and even appeared in the World Series - in his very first big-league season.
Brown grew up first in Zion, Ill. "In Zion, baseball was huge," Brown said Sunday, sitting at Panera Bread, 5630 Washington Ave. "Baseball was in my family's blood."
He played baseball at St. Joseph High School in Kenosha, then attended one year of junior college. At age 19, the Minnesota Twins drafted Brown and put him in their minor league farm system.
Later, Brown returned to Kenosha to play for the Kenosha Twins. His memories of the minor leagues include long bus rides, freedom and camaraderie and baloney or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches kept in Styrofoam coolers.
"I loved my job," he said.
The Twins shifted Brown to outfield, which he credits with helping him reach the Major Leagues. He entered July 1991 playing AAA ball, leading off, stealing bases and hitting about .280.
"Base stealing, that's what got me to the Majors," he said. "And defense."
On July 2, 1991, the Twins called him to Minnesota.
"I was awe-struck," Brown recalled. Suddenly his teammates included Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek and Jack Morris. The great Tony Oliva was the hitting coach.
"I was a late-innings defensive guy and base runner" for the Twins, Brown said.
He played with the Twins for about two months, was sent back to AAA but was recalled in September. Amazingly, in that first Major League season, Brown was heading to the World Series with the Twins to face the Atlanta Braves. He witnessed the World Series media swarm, watched veteran players turn into kids again and met Hank Aaron.
Brown played in games one, three, five and seven. Meanwhile, the Twins beat the Braves in seven games for their second World Series win in five years.
For the next four years, Brown bounced around from the Twins to the San Diego Padres, Braves and Baltimore Orioles before becoming a coach in the Twins' organization.
Winning the World Series was Brown's team zenith.
But his personal pinnacle was stealing second, then third base on cannon-armed Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez in Texas.
And no one can ever steal that memory.