The pitcher was on his way out of the New York Yankees' Florida complex when he had to turn around.
"Well, he'd gone home," Cal Quantrill recalled. "He's gone. My mom's gone. Randy Johnson is my dad's locker mate. I remember walking up to him — I'm 4 1/2 feet tall ... and he's 6-11, whatever he was — I go, 'Mr. Johnson, I was wondering if you could call my dad?'"
Paul Quantrill doesn't doubt this happened but also maintains his son became so engrossed in baseball he would wander off, as Cal did with John Olerud at an all-star Game one year.
"Cal Ripken, myself and Kirby Puckett looked all over for him," the elder Quantrill said. "He would blame me, but he took off with John Olerud and went down to the batting cage. Certainly I get the blame because I'm the dad."
Those experiences are a big part of the reason Cal Quantrill, from Port Hope, Ont., is so unfazed today by the dozens of scouts in the stands hanging on his every pitch, radar guns at the ready.
The college sophomore with a big personality to match his big right arm will start Stanford's season opener at home next Friday against Indiana. The Cardinal ace and projected first-round draft pick in 2016 is already on several pre-season All-America lists.
Scouts rave about Quantrill's competitive drive along with his athleticism.
Paul Quantrill pitched 14 major league seasons with seven teams, including six with Toronto and three with Boston. He spent two more with the Yankees.
Yes, it was an awfully cool way to grow up for his son, surrounded by some of baseball's biggest stars and future Hall of Famers. Newly elected Randy Johnson will be enshrined in Cooperstown this summer.
Of the 81 home games, Cal would go to about 60.
"Minimum," he said. "I'd go on the road sometimes with dad. Lived in the clubhouse, I was raised in that clubhouse. I still consider some of my favourite moments in the Blue Jays clubhouse and Carlos Delgado would go toss me batting practice as a 7-year-old. Think about that."
Now, as he walks across Stanford's campus of star athletes and some of the smartest people in all fields, he puts his task in perspective, not taking his position or prospects too seriously.
He still has the chore of keeping the pitching mound in shape in his home ballpark, Sunken Diamond. That's part of coach Mark Marquess' program that his players help serve as groundskeepers.
"I get to sit on the bench for six days and go out and try to do good once," Quantrill cracked during a recent sit-down in the stadium. "I would consider it an honour that I got the main mound, but I am the lowest on the totem pole on the main mound."
The Pac-12 Freshman of the Year last season, Quantrill played a key role in the team's surprising run to the NCAA Super Regionals, where Stanford lost to eventual College World Series champion Vanderbilt.
Quantrill considers the biggest changes in his pitching to be the non-physical tweaks, even if he is throwing a little harder and has added a couple of pitches to his repertoire — a slider and a curveball to go with his go-to fastball and changeup.
Hailing from a small town outside Toronto, Quantrill loved hockey. He stopped playing as a high school junior to avoid getting hurt for his better sport, baseball.
He has taken full loads at Stanford since he arrived, and is about a quarter ahead. He's done with his engineering, science and math requirements — all part of the plan to put him close to graduation before he is drafted next year.
Something kept telling Quantrill to go to college at Stanford before turning pro.
"The draft is an honour, but it's just a start," Quantrill said. "I play this sport because I love it. If it works out you can make a bunch of money doing it, that's awesome. That's a bonus, that's cool."Suggest a correction