Legends On Deck

Cards’ Pitcher Ryan Sherriff: Where Will The Car Take Him?

Good deeds go unnoticed every day. Earlier this week, one good deed gained national attention.

St. Louis Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright noticed one of his teammates walking to practice everyday.  Wainwright was shocked to learn that one of his fellow pitchers had no other means to get to camp.  So he took it upon himself to cover the cost of a rental vehicle through the end of spring training for the young southpaw.

The beneficiary of Wainwright’s act of generosity, is 26-year old Ryan Sherriff.

In a recent phone conversation I had with him, Sherriff explained that the gesture meant more to him then the car itself.  “It was the action that took me to heart more than anything.  It just meant a lot to me.”

Originally drafted by the Washington Nationals in the 33rd of the 2010 MLB draft, Sherriff decided it wasn’t the right time, “It was more beneficial at the time to stay in school.”  The following year he was drafted again, but this time it was in the 28th round by the St. Louis Cardinals which he graciously accepted, and described as, “Awesome.”

For the first three years of his professional career he was used mainly as a starter.  He came into his own in the 2012 season, skipping Low-A and Short Season, going directly to the Class A-Advanced Palm Beach Cardinals of the Florida State League.  Pitching with a heavy heart after the loss of his father in that off-season, Ryan shared, “I ended up having a 10-3 record as a starter, ended up winning starter of the year and a bunch of other awards.”

Ryan was converted into a full time reliever in the 2014 season where he split time between Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis. When asked if his approach was different going from a starter to reliever, Sherriff said, “I try not to focus too much on mechanics, I just try to go out there and pound the strike zone.” He added, “People can’t get mad at you if you throw strikes.”

With an impressive spring so far, Ryan is gaining attention and momentum, and is all but sure to get called up to the major league level for the first time this upcoming season. When he gets that call, he shared the first person that will the news will be his mother. “If my Dad was still alive, he’d be the first person that I would call, but you know, my Mom is right there.”

Ryan opened up to me and shared that being a California native, he was a Los Angeles Dodgers fan growing up.  “Los Angeles Dodgers all the way. Born and raised in Los Angeles, my Dad used to take me to Dodgers games all the time.  What’s cool about it, you know, I got to meet Jonathan Broxton for the first time here.  And I got to watch him close out games at Dodgers Stadium.”

Despite his Dodgers roots, Ryan is completely dedicated to his new home in St. Louis. He was asked to join Team Israel in this years World Baseball Classic, and after pitching in the qualifying round in Brooklyn, NY, he decided it was best not to travel to Korea, “At the end of the day I’m a Cardinal and my main focus now is to make the majors, so I decided to stay on course and continue to chase my dream.”

On behalf of the entire Legends on Deck team, I would like to wish Ryan the best of luck as he continues his journey to the major leagues.

Mike Duda
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