This story was excerpted from Thomas Harding’s Rockies Beat newsletter. reporter Manny Randhawa is filling in for Harding, who is on vacation. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

The year is 1975. The place is Longview, Wash., about a 45-minute drive north of Portland, Ore.

A young man who just graduated from Longview’s Mark Morris High School was looking for his first job, and he found one at the Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging company.

So he donned his hard hat, packed his lunch pail and set out for the graveyard shift at the local paper mill. When he first started on the job, he got some advice on how not to hurt his hands while undertaking the tasks required to turn wood chips into paper.

You see, the older workers knew a little something about the new kid. He was a star pitcher for his high school baseball team, perhaps even good enough to one day reach the Major Leagues. So when he was operating Paper Machine No. 7, there were some veteran millworkers there to help.

“They taught me about how not to get my hands in the way of the paper machines,” said Rockies manager Bud Black, who pitched in the big leagues from 1981-95. “They felt as though my hands were valuable.”

Almost every adult out there has had a first job. And with it being Labor Day, a time to celebrate our country’s working men and women, it’s a good time to see what some first jobs were for those who ended up becoming the select few to play the national pastime at the highest level.

Black is one of those few, as is Kris Bryant, his star outfielder who will likely become the Rockies’ starting first baseman when he returns from injury. Bryant is a former National League Rookie of the Year, an NL MVP and made the final defensive play of the 2016 World Series, clinching the Cubs’ first championship in more than a century.

But before becoming a superstar player, he was an umpire … albeit for two days.

“I think I was going into, like, ninth grade,” Bryant said. “And my brother and I wanted some money, probably for some Pokémon cards or something.”

Bryant figured it would be fun. After all, how hard could it be to umpire a bunch of seven-year-olds in a Las Vegas club ball league?

“It wasn’t a fun job,” said Bryant, who had parents complaining to him about what they saw as bad calls behind the plate.

“It was really annoying. One pitcher couldn’t even throw the ball anywhere near the strike zone. I wasn’t calling anything crazy bad — I was maybe expanding the zone a little bit. After that, I was like, ‘This isn’t it.’”

Don’t get Bryant wrong. Just because he felt the heat of being an umpire from some upset parents of seven-year-olds doesn’t mean he’ll be extraordinarily sympathetic with the umpires behind the plate when he’s in the batter’s box.

Bryant isn’t exactly the type that gets worked up over balls and strikes. But he won’t give any free passes, either.

“The experience made me sympathetic to umpires who are doing games for kids, like, 12 and younger,” he said. “It’s a tough job, but this is the big leagues.”