For us mere mortals, the idea of playing in the MLB would be the ultimate peak. Baseball after all, is our passion and we spend many hours fantasizing about playing in the big leagues and smashing out home runs or striking out batters with our perfect pitches in front of thousands of ecstatic adoring fans. Actually, it would be such a dream for many that not only would they waive the staggering amounts of money, but they’d pay everything they have for the experience.
Yet for some who get to actually experience becoming a professional ball player in the MLB, it might come as a surprise that after their career is over, they don’t just want to dine out on reaching their professional peak. It might come as even more of a surprise that they have other passions in their life that they want to achieve beyond baseball. Here is a quick look at two players who had great baseball careers but have undertaken interesting roles after they hung up their bat and glove.
Jeff Conine is a Marlins legend. He first joined the franchise in 1992, staying for five seasons and helping us win our first World Series in 1997. He then returned in 2003 and again helped the team win its second World Series. It’s fair to say then that Conine could’ve just enjoyed being bought drinks throughout Florida after he retired from baseball in 2008.
Instead, Conine decided to use one of his other passions for good—that passion being poker. He got a taste for the game by playing online with his friends, and now organizes huge annual poker tournaments to raise money for the funding of a hospital hotel. This hotel is close to his heart as he stayed there when his son was sick after being born prematurely and the poker events continue to raise large sums of money.
Ken Griffey Jr.
Ken Griffey Jr. is one of baseball’s superstars, with a playing career that lasted a monumental twenty-two years. In fact, he’s one of only twenty-nine players in the history of professional baseball that have featured in major league games across four decades. His playing career was littered with accolades and he hit an incredible 630 home runs, making him 7th on the all-time list. Knocking balls out the park wasn’t his only skill though, with Griffey Jr. winning ten Gold Glove Awards whilst he featured in defense in center field. No wonder then that the player nicknamed The Kid got voted into the All-Star team thirteen times and is now a member of the baseball Hall of Fame.
You’d think after a career like that, Griffey Jr. would’ve wanted some down time, but instead he took it as an opportunity to indulge in another one of his skills at the highest level. He branched out and became a professional sports photographer. He has managed to score some big contracts, being seen taking photos at NFL Monday Night Football and even NCAA bowl games. It must be a refreshing change for him to be pointing a lens at the stars rather than being the one the lenses are pointed at.