Work after baseball


#1

Throughout the years I’ve gotten letters and calls for recommendations from former players, and two coaches, with regards to job applications. Former players looking for work in the college game, driving truck, landscaping, groceries, construction and other work, just to name a few. In fact, I got one just last week and that prompted me to ask this question, here on this forum.

Let’s say …
You’ve worked very hard and have the talent to be scouted, selected by various clubs, and then spent … oh, fifteen (15) years in pro ball. After fifteen (15) years, 38 years of age, you’ve come to the end of your professional career and are now looking for work outside of baseball.

What would be your prospects in the job market? What industry would you look into? How would you make a living? What part of the world would you be in? Would you be married and have a family to support?


#2

Why such a question?

This web site fields and answers all sorts of question about … how do I get noticed, how can paly D1 ball, how about my mechanics, how… how… and how?

typical of those young enough to want to play ball, even pro ball maybe.

Ah… pro ball. Now there’s a wish and dream expressed by many, and I do mean many. With that comes a very cruel reality of what it takes to make it … even to the Rookie Short Season. To make it even that far, that low on the runners of the pro ball ladder, it takes a commitment of both-feet-in, lots of sacrifices along the way, a very lonely existence, and tons of L-U-C-K.

Now after all that work… work for being recognized as a professional - for which you are in the business of being paid to perform. You’re just as much of a professional as a CPA, an attorney practicing before the bar, and a resident MD with a practice in medicine. Your hard work and devotion to your training and education earns you that right to be called a professional. So you’d think that, like any other professional, your earning power would continue long after you’ve left the profession. Think again.

So, what would you do long after your playing days come to an end? How would you pay for groceries, pay the rent, mortgage, even the morning paper?

If you plan on making this baseball thing a career, then think of what you’d do at the end of that career. You’d be surprised at how many retired pro ball players are close to ringing a bell outside a department store right around Christmas time … sort of speak.


#3

This raises an important issue. Education. Most of my 15 year old son’s baseball colleagues don’t seem too focused on education. They seem to think they’re going to be paid to play baseball some day, and paid lots, and don’t need to study. Others think they’re going to get full baseball scholarships to college based on their baseball talent. The reality is that few if any will ever get paid to play, and a few will get only a fractional baseball scholarship to college (DI schools are allowed to give only 11.7 scholarships among 27 players on scholarship, or an average of .43 scholarship per player per season. DII schools give even less in baseball scholarships, and DIII give none.). Without education, the guy who gets a cup of coffee in pro ball has nothing to fall back on when he washes out. Same for the guy who can’t play college ball because he can’t get an academic scholarship, or gets an academic scholarship and loses it after his freshman year grades are in. I know guys who did all of the above. :smirk:


#4

south paw hit it on the nail. Education is key to everything in life.

Looking for a professional sport’s life has many cruel reality checks for the young. Unfortunately, youth has that sustainable drive that experience, beyond the teen years, is blind to the horizons ahead. Being somewhat confrontable with one’s surroundings, being with, or above, the local talent, is just peachy waking up and walking out the door, knowing where one’s going. Then there’s having three meals of a day and roof over one’s head, that fit nicely into said confrontable zone, without having to pay for those items.

Unfortunately, those with real talent, and I mean real… honest to goodness talent, are treated differently, without having to worry too much about planning for a future in the world that the rest of us live in. These people are special, very special. They’re the privileged, the gifted, the people that just have IT. They’re catered to, patronized, and you know them just by watching what they do…just different.

So, without seeming like a dark cloud over someone’s head, raining on the parade…just listen to some advice from someone that’s seen life on both sides of the fence. So here it is:
If you have the gifted talent to play baseball like it was in you at birth, if you are sought after by a lot of people to be on their side, if you have people that will introduce you to one program after another (because it’s in their best interests, not yours), if you fit all the stereotypes of what you are - not what you should be, then go for a life with the flicker of a road flare.

On the other hand… if you have to work your butt off, practice till the sweat is no more, live a life of solitude because you’re just not good enough to somebody, in addition to no one really cares who or what you can do (you know what I mean), then I strongly advise everyone to hit the books, prepare for the realities head … because fella… you’re about to hit a stop sign that’ll have you doing the dance-of-the-seven-break pedals. Whatever your banking on today, I don’t care what it is, plan on it not being there tomorrow.


#5

I think that this is a great post as I am a huge believer in the importance of being educated and am currently completing a pair a degrees.

However, to play devil’s advocate… I feel that baseball players by nature are dreamers and not realists, which is what causes them to pursue the dream of professional baseball. Also, being paid to play baseball is extremely difficult, so you really do have to be ALL in and committed. If you are putting the majority of your time to academics then filling in your spare time with baseball you’ll never reach your dreams of playing baseball for a living.

If baseball is in your blood then your should pursue it to the full extent you can for as long as you can. If it doesn’t work out, you can still try to stay in the game as a scout, instructor…or something else. It may not pay the best but if baseball is what gets you out of bed in the morning then your quality of life will still be better than if you took the “safe” route and the one that your parents will approve of and study to be an accountant or something.

The worst feeling in life is thinking “what if”.


#6

You mean like the 17 Ivy League graduates drafted in the 2017 MLB draft?
http://www.ivyleaguesports.com/sports/bsb/2016-17/releases/Thirteen_Ivies_Selected_in_2017_MLB_Draft
:grin:


#7

Exactly! 17/1205… thats 1.4% of draft picks… not the best odds if I do say so myself. But yes it isn’t impossible but its less likely than if you dedicated every moment to it.


#8

Exactly! 0.5% of high school senior boys are drafted by MLB, but 10.5% of college senior boys are drafted by MLB. With an MLB draft rate more than 20 times higher out of college (10.5%) than out of high school (0.5%), clearly not studying is the way to pro ball!!! Oh . . . wait . . . uh . . . LOL


#9

I am in no way saying that there isn’t a value to education. Throughout your 3-4 year scholarship ypu gain maturity, strength and 3-4 years of experience and mental toughness competing at the collegiate level. You have proved yourself a lot more than a high school player making yourself a less risky choice with more exposure. You also gain a back up plan if baseball doesn’t work out. All positives to going to school.

But there are lots of conditions to those scholarships. There are countless players that are going to college for the purpose of playing baseball there. I’ve had a friend specifically that committed on the fact that the coach told him “play baseball for us, and we’ll pass you regardless”. And more that have gotten injured and had to leave college due to a dropped scholarship.

Yes, ideally, people will be able to be studs on the mound and on the Honour list. But that is tough to do, and often it comes down to what is more important to you.


#10

Academics in the following - premed, electrical engineering, biotech engineering, maritime academics, agricultural sciences,polymer sciences, petro-chemicals sciences, linguistics, and anything close that follows, is a hard taskmaster if you plan to split your attention span in baseball, basket weaving, pottery and such.

Then there’s that landmine - the girlfriend. When she looks at you … dressed that certain way… looking that certain way… and asks you… " Well, what’s more important…yada… yada…yada." :kissing_closed_eyes:


#11

Education, education, education. Coach Baker is exactly right on this point. My daughter received a scholarship to play volleyball. During her first year, she sustained a serious back injury in the weight room that required surgery; unfortunately, it ended her volleyball career. She is back home now in Florida attending nursing school as she coaches the junior varsity team at a nearby high school. My point is, don’t give up on your dream, but as I tell my players, always have a plan B, C, D, etc … not everyone get’s to do what they want. Just remember, do what you have a passion for, and you will never work a day in your life.


#12

Coach B… the topic you have raised is one I think most don’t want to face. What happens after baseball??? We believe we are going to “make it” and get paid bundles of money to play a game. The truth is, as you have pointed out, it takes a great deal of talent and luck to “make it” but most importantly it takes a real love for the game.

I thank goodness every day that I had the opportunity to play at a very good D1 school. Many of my buddies actually made it all the way to the bigs including my roommate of two years. In college I focused on baseball and pitching but also focused on getting my education. The school I was privileged to play for was not only known for baseball but also for academics. I was not a very good student in high school and looked at the opportunity as not only one for baseball but also to get on the right track academically. The only way I was even accepted at such a school was due to my ability to throw a baseball 90 mph.

Upon entering school I had the attitude that the school and baseball program was using me for my ability so I was going to use them for whatever I could get out of them… I knew baseball would not last forever and it was just one play away from being over. I wound up with a free college degree from a very prestigious private university.

I look back on the experience and sometimes wish I had dedicated more time and energy to baseball. Several of my buddies, including my roommate of two years, made it to the bigs and have great lives after their careers in baseball. I had the opportunity to play professionally but only made it to high A ball for two years. I knew after my freshman year in college I was not going to be able to make a living playing baseball. The one, most important thing, that made me believe I was not going to “make it” is because the game stopped being fun.

What I believe many face is they put too much pressure on themselves to play baseball and “make it”. One must remember baseball is a game and games are meant to be fun. Somewhere around my freshman year it stopped being fun. I stopped playing with that freedom of “just having fun” and started to worry about what the scouts wanted to see…

I remember my Dad telling me when I was very young that there is nothing more important than education. He used to always say “do something you love for a living and you will never work a day in your life”. I knew when baseball started to seem like work I needed to focus on something else…

I have been in the same field for almost 30 years now and it has nothing to do with baseball. I enjoy getting up and going to the office every morning and am able to support my family. Sure, some days suck and I wonder if I had approached it differently would I have “made it” but such is life…