Originally posted on Hall of Very Good  |  Last updated 4/12/13
C.J. Nitkowski's baseball career has taken him to some pretty interesting places.  From Cincinnati to New York (twice), Japan to South Korea...dude has just about seen it all. But his latest role (get it?) finds him in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform doubling as Dutch Leonard in the film "42". HOVG:  How does one go from looking for another ride in the big leagues to pitching for Academy Award winner Brian Helgeland in a Jackie Robinson biopic? NITKOWSKI: It was pure luck. The filmed was cast out of Atlanta and word got to me that a baseball film was looking for former players as extras for action scenes. I threw my name in, then I was asked to read for the role of Dutch Leonard. I did. I was lucky they were looking for an older pitcher. Right place, right time. I've been told some actors wait years to land even a one line role in a feature film. HOVG:  As Dutch, you were able to return "home" to Engel Stadium in Chattanooga...what was that like? NITKOWSKI: It was fun to go back. I had not been there since 1995, when I was playing for the Cincinnati Reds AA affiliate. It was a nice trip down memory lane for me, I started my career in that stadium. HOVG:  The travels throughout your career have been pretty well documented...you've played just about anywhere that has space for three bases, a plate and a pitching mound.  Where did you have the most fun?  What is one story that you've never shared that you can share from that experience? NITKOWSKI: It's really hard which was the most fun, each experience carries its own uniqueness to it. Playing for the Yankees in 2004 was a childhood dream come true. Pitching in Japan and Korea were both much more fun than I ever anticipated. I am very lucky to have experienced it all. Any stories that haven't been shared haven't been so for a reason. Some things stay with me. HOVG:  Switching gears.  In 2009, it was revealed that you were interviewed by the FBI about Roger Clemens and his alledged involvement with PEDs.  This past January, "Rocket" barely got half the needed votes to get into the Hall of Fame.  Do you feel that was justified or is Clemens getting a raw deal? NITKOWSKI: It's hard for me to say. I believe that if there is no hard evidence against a player who is Hall of Fame worthy, then he should be in. If there is any evidence than he should be not allowed it, plain and simple. I'm too close to the Clemens/McNamee story to be objective. HOVG:  Lastly, without CJBaseball.com...plenty of players might not have embraced the blogosphere.  So, thank you for opening up the lines of communication between big leaguers and bloggers.  What's next for you, the blog...your film career?  Haha. NITKOWSKI: I fell into being the first player online, it wasn't something I was seeking out. If it wasn't me it would have been someone else. I don't really deserve credit for anything in this regard. As far as what's next I'm still training and hoping to land an invite to a camp for spring 2013. If not, I'll retire and move on to my next aspirations, writing and broadcasting. I'm pretty sure I'm one and done in the film industry. You can catch C.J. Nitkowski online over at his website or via Twitter at @CJNitkowski.

This article first appeared on Hall of Very Good and was syndicated with permission.

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