MAHS grad Molesky adjusting to life after baseball
While working at home one day recently, Vince Molesky stood up from his chair and began to stretch. It was nothing too intense, just stretching out his body after a day of sitting. But it was enough to make the Montoursville graduate miss baseball.
Molesky recently announced his retirement after playing five professional baseball seasons in both the Frontier and Atlantic Leagues. Molesky was a two-time Frontier League strikeout champion as a right-handed pitcher. In his first season with the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League he produced the third-lowest ERA among pitchers with at least 10 starts. In five season of independent baseball, Molesky finished with a 29-27 record and a career 4.17 ERA.
“I put five and a half years into trying to reach the highest level of baseball I could. And I came across a few injuries in my shoulder and with everything else going on in my life, I felt like it was a good time to step away,” Molesky said. “I made it to some high levels and places I never thought of going to. I was pleased with some of my accomplishments along the way.”
There were opportunities to play if Molesky wanted to return to baseball this spring, likely for his third season with the Somerset Patriots in New Jersey. But he’s dealing with two cysts in his shoulder which would likely require labrum surgery. At 29 years old and having already undergone Tommy John surgery once in his career while in college, Molesky wasn’t interested in the rehab it would take to be ready to pitch again.
So instead, Molesky is turning to the education he received at Mount St. Mary’s, including his Master’s in Business Administration. He’s now working as a contract specialist working for the Department of Defense.
This is the time of year Molesky would usually be getting ready to go to spring training. Instead, he’s about a month into his new job, working from home and enjoying the next phase of his life.
“This job is nothing like baseball in any way,” Molesky said. “People are asking me what I did prior to this and I say I was a pro baseball player, and they tell me it’ll do no good in this world. It’s like thanks for the encouragement.”
But it’s the experience Molesky had in independent baseball which helps him in his new line of work. He negotiated his own contract for each season. The game has also taught him lessons he has carried into the working world, like communicating with people and dealing with the general ups and downs of any profession.
But beyond all the sport has done to prepare Molesky for the next step in his life, it has given him experiences he never could have imagined. He had Tommy John surgery his junior season at Mount St. Mary’s, limiting his exposure as a potential Major League Baseball draft target. But his pitching coach in college helped get him an opportunity in independent baseball after going undrafted in 2014.
Molesky took the opportunity and ran with it. He led the Frontier League in strikeouts in 2016 and 2017 pitching for the Gateway Grizzlies. He signed with the Somerset Patriots in the Atlantic League in 2018 and helped them win a division championship and post the second-lowest team ERA in the league.
His 2.66 ERA that year was the second-lowest among those who made at least 10 starts behind Dallas Beeler and James Russell, who both played Major League Baseball in their careers. On Aug. 15, 2018, Molesky threw eight shutout innings against the Sugar Land Skeeters. He pitched both with and against former big leaguers. Last season he struck out Mike Carp, who was a World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox in 2013.
Molesky’s career has provided him with small moments like that which proved to himself he was capable of playing baseball at the highest levels, even if he never did get to play in the affiliated minor leagues.
“I’m just a smalltown guy who never had overpowering stuff,” Molesky said. “But there was a bunch of us in the Atlantic League who never played affiliated baseball, but we were out there dealing and competing against those guys who did make it to the big leagues or were in triple-A for years. It shows you that if you do get the opportunity to go to affiliated ball, you know you can compete.”
Not playing affiliated baseball is a source of frustration for Molesky. There were plenty of times in his career where he felt like he played well enough to get that opportunity.
But he also is aware he doesn’t have the raw stuff which has become so sought after. His fastball was mostly 88-90 mph, maybe getting to 92 on his best day. He was a pitcher throughout his career, not a thrower.
“Unfortunately, my time never came,” Molesky said. “But I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity I had. I wouldn’t be walking away if I wasn’t positive about my experience. The one thing I pride myself on is I kept turning heads even if I wasn’t getting an affiliated opportunity. I liked being the underdog nobody knew. And after it all, I have a positive outlook on my career and how things ended. I couldn’t be more grateful.”