Luke Hagerty: A True Example of Resiliency

Eli Aronson On February 1st, 2019, the Cubs signed hard-throwing, left-handed pitcher, Luke Hagerty, out of Ball State University. Luke’s path to this point has been anything but ordinary. The 37 year old, raised in a small Ohio town between Toledo and Fort Wayne called Defiance, was just a skinny six foot seven high schooler when his baseball journey began. Baseball came easy to him, but he didn’t really love it; he loved basketball. So, before his senior year he was going to quit baseball and focus on basketball–that is until his baseball coach heard about this and told him if he stuck with baseball, he would receive a scholarship to play in college. He knew what a scholarship could do for his family. He was throwing 82 mph when Ball State offered him a spot. The coach told him if he could throw 10 mph harder, he would be a first round pick in the Major League Baseball draft. By his junior year of college he was throwing 94 mph and was drafted by the Cubs in the first round of the 2002 MLB draft. His first stop after he got drafted was at the Cubs minor league affiliate in Boise.  He dominated at the lowest level of minor league baseball. He laughs at those days, when he could still throw a baseball without pain. Tommy John surgery sidelined Hagerty for 2003 and 2004. And while aiming to revamp his career with the Miami Marlins, he struggled to throw strikes and maintain velocity, and was therefore, cut. With nothing left in the tank, it appeared to be the end of his professional baseball career. Since then, Hagerty relocated to Scottsdale, Arizona, and created his sports and fitness gym X2 Athletics. The majority of Hagerty’s clients were baseball players, seamlessly forcing him to pick up a baseball again.  So he did, and no longer suffered from the yips–something a lot of pitchers who had Tommy John have, causing them to have poor command of their pitches.  Mr. McArthur said that he has seen the yips “decimate” many good golfers back in his playing days. This winter, Hagerty, amongst several former professional baseball players, attended a tryout session in Seattle. He was consistently throwing 97 mph and topped at 98 mph. The Cubs and the Brewers both showed interest, but it wasn’t much of a decision for Hagerty.  The Cubs are the Cubs–it’s Chicago, and it’s where he belongs. Mr. McArthur, also known to the Latin baseball program as Coach McArthur, looks up to Hagerty’s ability to perform well into his thirties. Mr. McArthur finds hope in the story, mentioning that “old 30-somethings can hang with the young bucks given the right circumstances.” While Mr. McArthur may not have an MLB stint left in him, his mentality of persistence and youth may help lead Latin JV Baseball to another 6-0 start this coming spring. Persistence is a special quality. It takes a lot of resiliency and a true desire to never give up. Varsity baseball captain, Jack Tempone, knows that grit is crucial when shaping a baseball player. “Being told you’re good enough will never help you,” Jack mentioned while thinking about his own career at Latin. “The best players have the persistence to show up everyday and play like its their last day, something I try to do,” Jack continued. While Hagerty getting that call up to Wrigley is still a longshot, it is worth noting the gritty attitude it takes to make a comeback at age 37.   Whether it’s in baseball, as it was for Hagerty, or translating documents for your Nazi Mind class, persistence is an extremely valuable characteristic.]]>