Last summer, Blue Springs High School graduates and brothers Jeremy and Jake Lufft got to play on the same team for the first time as both suited up for the North Kansas City Apartments Giants of the Ban Johnson League.
Jeremy Lufft graduated from Rockhurst University last year and Jake Lufft, after playing his first season at State Fair Community College, joined the MINK League and played for the Sedalia Bombers over the summer.
The brothers could reunite next summer, but it won’t be as teammates.
Jeremy Lufft will be taking over for Dan Stacks as the new manager for the Giants next summer and Jake could play for him. Their father, Tom Lufft, will be an assistant on the team.
“He wants to get drafted (next year),” Jeremy Lufft said. “If that doesn’t happen, he’s going to be my starting third baseman. I hope he respects me like a coach instead of a brother. If he’s not performing, he will be on bench. But if he’s hitting his home runs like he does, he will definitely be out there.”
Jeremy didn’t waste any time recruiting players. He went to the Ban Johnson League All-Star Game Monday and spoke with the four of the Giants players – Zachary Todd, Clayton Medlin, Will Morris and Sean Roseborough, all of whom said they were interested in returning next summer.
Jake also helped him find players as Grain Valley graduate Garrett Morrow and Blue Springs graduates Anthony Gunn and Ray Paniagua said they were interested in joining the Luffts.
“I told them, if I was coaching them, it would be a guarantee that they would be on a winning team,” Jeremy said of talking to the Giants’ 2019 all-stars. “I am also bringing in some of my brother’s friends. They grew up playing together. I am also talking to a couple of Rockhurst (University) guys about playing for us.”
Coaching is something that Jeremy has been considering in recent years.
“It’s something that I have thought about, but I didn’t think it would come this early in my career,” he said. “But I took the opportunity that was given to me. I want to see how it goes. I figured I’d be a good coach since I played my whole life and know all the aspects of it.”
Jeremy, now 23, will be 24 when he starts managing next summer. He said being a younger manager will be to his benefit because he can relate well with the players. In 2018, he played his last season with the Giants and was the Ban Johnson League Most Valuable Player.
“Coming as a player who was here last year, I have a player’s point of view,” Jeremy said. “I know how the players want to be treated and how they want to be coached. Equal playing time is something that I have thought about, but I am going to be coaching to win a championship.
“I want to find the time for everyone to play, but I want to use the right players to win ballgames.”
If everything goes well, Jeremy will consider making a career out of coaching.
“We’ll definitely see how it goes after next summer,” he said. “If I enjoy it and think I am good at it, I might as well advance in my career in coaching.”