Jacob Colwell, a senior at Saint Mary's University (Winona, MN) studying Sports Management, has taken on the challenge of contacting many former Rochester Honkers players and coaches. He wanted to see what they are doing now and some of their favorite memories of playing in Rochester. Below you will enjoy his discoveries as we present……Flashback Fridays!
Jimmy Conroy – University of Illinois
Photo at Jimmy & Kristy's Wedding
What’s your favorite memory while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
JC: There were so many great memories the 2 years I played in Rochester. To be able to play in a league that replicated the grind of professional baseball with some of the best players in the country was an amazing experience. If I had to pick a memory that really sticks out in my mind was being a part of a bench clearing brawl against our rival and nemesis Waterloo Bucks. It really brought our team together. I remember I was charting pitches in the dugout. I look up and to my disbelief no one was in the dugout. Next thing I know I am on the field and people are flying all over the place. The first person I come face to face with is Skip Handelsman, the head coach of Waterloo at the time. He startled me because he's a bear of a man. Luckily, he's as gentle as a cub. I actually saw Skip a couple years ago in South Carolina and we laughed about that day. No one got hurt except my old University of Illinois teammate "DD" that played on Waterloo and started the scuffle…serves him right.
What’s your favorite non playing memory from your time with the Rochester Honkers?
JC: Former teammate Jake Toohey and I got a really hearty laugh when we came back from a 7 day road trip to find that my 2001 Cutlass Supreme (tinted windows and state of the art factory speakers) was stolen. I had a bad habit of losing my keys back in college. So I figured I would just leave my keys under the seat of my car….. FAIL! The Rochester police found my car deserted on a side road 5 miles outside of town. The thieves only took my CD player. Tells you how sweet the car was.
Who was your favorite teammate when you played for the Rochester Honkers and why?
JC: There were so many hilarious, unique individuals when you are on a team of baseball players from all over the country. Its really tough to pick 1 guy so I'll give you the guys that stick out in my mind:The speedy enigma known as Mike Miller, dancing prowess of Chris Nowak and text book head-first sliding into first base by Joel Bocchi.
Watching Andre Ethier take batting practice was always impressive. I remember thinking The Force is with that one…
What has happened to you since you left Rochester and what are you doing now?
JC: I graduated from the University of Illinois and played a couple of years of professional baseball in the Yankees farm system (2005 and 2006). After I hung up the cleats I landed a job at Wilson Sporting Goods HQ in Chicago where I held several positions. I married my beautiful wife Kristy last June and currently live in Nashville, TN. I am a Territory Manager for Wilson Sporting Goods (Wilson/DeMarini/ATEC) in Tennessee & Kentucky.
What was your biggest realization while playing for the Rochester Honkers?
JC: Rochester was where everything first clicked for me on the mound. I did a lot of reading about mechanics and the mental side of pitching on bus trips the summer of 2003. I learned more about baseball and pitching that season over any other period of time in my life. I first realized that summer I had the ability to pitch at the professional level.
Do you still stay in contact with former teammates? If so who?
JC: Yes, Jake Toohey. We were roommates in college. He was at my wedding and we hung out in Cabo San Lucas for another teammates wedding last October. We literally like to butt heads when we see one another.