***The following article was written by Mike Recchia, a Chicago White Sox pitching prospect, as a guest of FutureSox. This is part of our Prospect Perspectives series: articles written by the players themselves. Recchia is a Chicago area native and lifelong White Sox fan, who is now working his way up through the farm system. Mike talks about the unusual and sometimes difficult track he’s taken to get here, and how he sees his future. We hope this gives our readers a unique view into a player’s perspective on life in the minors.
By Mike Recchia
It is June of 2010; MLB Draft day, and I couldn’t be more excited. Family and friends had an idea that I’d be drafted, but no one knew where. Heck, I hadn’t a clue either. Draft day is exciting for everyone hoping to fulfill their dream of becoming a Major League Baseball player. Get ready for a ride.
I was heartbroken. Maybe I wasn’t good enough. Maybe I should have worked harder. I thought my baseball days were over. All the things I heard and believed turned into lies and I felt betrayed. Family and friends had my back, and family to me is number one. My mom and dad were 100% supportive of anything I would do.
Ring Ring – New York Yankees here, Mike.
The opportunity to wear the pinstripes is amazing. I worked my butt off and enjoyed every moment with the Yankees, and got to meet everyone. Yes, including the likes of Derek Jeter, A-Rod and so on. I won’t get into that season’s details, but I will brief you on the Yankee life. It’s tough, it’s hard work. It’s a championship mindset and they expect excellence.
Maybe I was a late bloomer. Maybe because I didn’t throw 98mph they figured, ‘why do we need this kid?’ One day while at my offseason job at a construction site, the Yankees blew up my phone. I ended the season strong so hey, maybe a ‘great job’ call and look forward to seeing you in spring training.
I was released and bummed out. I cried and said that’s it, it’s over and I failed. The next day I got back to the gym at my high school and worked out, thanks to my longtime helpful coaches, Frank DiFoggio and Jim Benes, who I work with to this day. They helped me along the way, telling me to keep working. I couldn’t give up – I’m an athlete and a dedicated one. I worked even harder, some workouts causing physical illness.
Indy ball at home [Windy City Thunderbolts, Frontier League] became my gig in 2012. Wow what a season that was. I’m pretty sure I matured on the field, and all the time spent working on things turned me into a better pitcher. I was named a Baseball America Independent Leagues All Star, and the Frontier League’s Pitcher of the Year. I felt like I was king of indy ball. Goals still not accomplished, however. That offseason my cell phone rang again….
Ring Ring – Baltimore Orioles here, Mike.
I said “where do I sign” and again, signed another contract! This one did not last long. I don’t know what they didn’t see in me. I had one hell of a spring and just like that…
I called my wife and cried to her. I was in awe and just couldn’t believe this was happening again. On my way home I thought OK, one more year in Indy ball and I’ll get a job and start my new life.
At this point, my twins were born. My wife Ashley gave birth to my son, Miles and my daughter, Nora. Those are the three most important people in my life now, and I’m an Indy ball player at home. But not for long.
Ring Ring – Chicago White Sox here, Mike.
As I matured even more and grew more confident in pitching, the Chicago White Sox called and signed me. My favorite team growing up, my hometown team. The place I sold Italian sausage when I was younger. Now I could one day play at that field I thought… Most Indy ball signees are signed for depth and to fill a roster spot. But me? No, I don’t do that. I play to be the best and to show people I can be the best.
I worked my way from Low A ball to High A my first year, High A to AA my second. Most, if not all, doubted me. People figured AA was going to be too much for me. Go ahead and think what you want about me, but I held my own. My 1st AA season ever, and I did it. I know I did it and I know one day I’m going to pitch in the Major Leagues. I do it for my wife. I do it for my kids. I do it for my family. I want to show them I’m a hard worker.
I’ll say it. I’m 25. I went undrafted and never was a “prospect”. But when you put that ball in my hand I will succeed. I’ve been through so many ups and downs in my career, but it’s all about dedication. I’m confident, but not cocky. I’m going to pitch in the big leagues because I know I can. I thank the Yankees, the Orioles, and the Windy City Thunderbolts for giving me the opportunity, and to have the White Sox take a shot on me.
My wife needs a 2nd bathroom and I’m going to give her one. My son and daughter are almost 2 and they are going to get the world. This is because dreams can become a reality. My dream was to become an MLB pitcher. I’m on that path and there’s no wrong turns in sight.
Off to the gym I go, White Sox fans…
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