Imagine that you are drafted as a senior from the University of Louisiana in the 34th round in the 2002 baseball draft by the New York Mets. You compile more than 4000 at bats, slam more than 100 home runs, imageand hit a respectable .273 over your next thirteen seasons as a professional ball player.

For most professional athletes, that would signify a pretty good career and retirement at the age of 35 would not surprise anyone. Except that I am not referring to Skip Schumaker who amassed similar numbers and was the subject of a recent piece in this space when he retired to enjoy a comfortable pension salary for the rest of his life

Instead, this is the story of Chase Lambin who played all of those years in the minor leagues and never was rewarded with even one major league at bat. It is also a story of a baseball life that draws from a dream and commitment to be the best you can be, even if that means never reaching the fullest extension of your dreams………

Chase Lambin has indeed decided to “hang ’em up ” as an active player but he is not turning himself away from the game of baseball. Instead, he has taken a position as the first base coach for the Triple A farm team of the Texas Rangers in Spokane, Washington . And perhaps, this is the beginning of a new dream to coach or even manage a team in a big league uniform.

Regardless, imagehe has lived the life of a professional ballplayer and along the way has been blessed with a wonderful and understanding wife and two children. In a compelling letter written to his family, teammates, and friends published in New York Future Stars following his retirement announcement, he explains his journey best…..”Many an ex-teammate has said to me after their retirement, “Ride it till the wheels fall off Chase. Because once it’s over, it’s over.” Well I listened. My wheels may not be completely off, but there are a lot of miles on these tires, and they are running pretty low. My body just doesn’t do what it used to do. I’ve always said that if I couldn’t play to the level I’m accustomed to, then it was time to walk away. And I’m okay with it. I’m more than okay imagewith it. I have been BLESSED beyond measure.”

He says he’s been blessed…… And indeed he was. Though some might have bitter reflections on a journey that fell short, Chase Lambin sees the cup half full as well it should be. Again, in his own words Chase Lambin says it best……”I was once asked by a teammate early in my career, if I didn’t make it to the big leagues, would I consider my career, “All for naught?” Without hesitation, I said, “No.” Life (and baseball) is about the journey, not the destination. And what an amazing journey it has been! Baseball is a microcosm for life. It teaches life imagelessons that I don’t think any other profession could teach.”

Chase Lambin’s career took him through sixteen American cities (as best I can count) – each with a different culture and a story within a story over thirteen seasons. Indeed, his is a story of a journeyman ballplayer who found his niche in life away from the spotlight – but always within reach of that imageever elusive goal.

As many imagehave said, baseball is a game of failure that is always followed by opportunity……until one day the string runs itself out and Father Time takes hold (of us all) and it’s time to move on. Chase Lambin rode it till the wheels fell off and is there one of us that wouldn’t have done the same thing…….

And as he poignantly said …….”Baseball is about the journey, not the destination.” And maybe for all of us, we have something to learn from that……



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