Sunday, January 25, 2009
Courtesy of Lance Williams,
Princeton's Town Topics Community Newspaper
Not many professional athletes get a second chance in the sports industry. This is especially true in professional baseball, where teams pick from a global talent pool and competition for spots on major league rosters is as cut throat as the most elite brokers on Wall Street.
Yet former Princeton University second-team All-Ivy catcher Tim Lahey is living proof that some players do, and he is making the most of his opportunity.
After being picked by the Twins in the 20th round of the 2004 Major league Baseball draft, Lahey, who struggled somewhat during his rookie season with the organization, was asked to convert from the position he had played all of his life ??? catcher ??? to one that he had never played before ??? pitcher.
Since that time, Lahey has used his Ivy League work ethic to transform himself from an organizational catcher playing rookie ball to an Eastern League (AA) All-Star closer, with a newfound status as a prized prospect for the Twins.
Lahey's move from behind the plate to the pitcher's rubber was the product of some bumps in the road and soul-searching.
"I thought I caught and threw well but didn't hit as well as I would have liked," said Lahey, reflecting on his rookie season in Elizabethton, Tennessee in 2004 during which he batted .202 with three home runs and two doubles in 82 at bats.
"It was also challenging to go from graduation at Princeton to playing in the Appalachian League, where I'm playing with a whole new group of guys and staying in some pretty bad hotels; it was a very different lifestyle and a culture shock."
When Lahey reported to spring training the next year, the organization chose two catchers over the Princeton star to play on the rookie squad and asked him to stay behind in extended spring training to work on some of his skills.
For Lance's complete story, please refer to Town Topics.