Your St. Cloud Rox have a winning tradition. More specifically, a tradition of producing players who win. 36 St. Cloud products have curated experience at the highest level, the Major Leagues, including the most recent alum to make his major league debut, Michael Busch. The former first round MLB draft pick Busch started for the Los Angeles Dodgers last week in his MLB debut.
But one current collegiate product has stamped his future in the MLB: introducing Charlie Condon. Sporting number 24 for the Georgia Bulldogs, the 2022 St. Cloud Rox member has risen to prominence in the SEC during his redshirt-freshman season.
Condon has seemingly carried his breakout momentum from the Northwoods League last year right into his best year to date in the best conference in the NCAA.
The first-baseman and outfielder is now a mid-season favorite for SEC player of the year after collecting a team-high in batting average (.410), hits (66), runs batted in (57), homeruns (19), and so on.
Very impressive numbers, but completely unprecedented for a young man who just turned 20. How did he celebrate his 20th birthday? Just by hitting three homeruns in a game against the number two-ranked team in the county, the Florida Gators.
And not one soul in St. Cloud is shocked to see this level of excellence.
“I think one of the biggest things that separated Charlie from the rest was his burning desire to be great,” St, Cloud Rox Field Manager Brian Lewis said. “He was harder on himself than any coach or critic.”
And one looming theme underlines his rise to dominance in the SEC: consistency.
“Charlie Condon was the same person everyday. Who he was in the clubhouse, the gym, the bus, the field, he never changed who he was…” said Rox Hitting Coach, Nick Studdard.
Considering his numbers this past summer with St. Cloud, his consideration for both SEC Freshman or Player of the Year, and national recognition isn’t shocking.
By mid-season with St. Cloud, the Northwoods League had taken notice of the Rox talent as well, with Condon earning a selection to the 2022 NWL all-star game. And that’s where he announced his presence.
The Northwoods League all-star game is held as a major attraction for big league scouts, and Condon was percussive for those in attendance. With a good attitude and 6-foot-6 frame, the intangibles were there.
In Wisconsin Rapids for the all-star game, he impressed with a 3-for-3, 2-homerun performance, earning him the Northwoods League All-Star Game MVP trophy! He joined the likes of Rox player Otto Kemp in collecting that accolade, acting as the second part of a back-to-back stretch of Rox All-Star MVP’s
Rox General Manager Scott Schreiner is thrilled with his production as well.
“We would take a whole team of Charlie Condons. Not only because he is a great player but an outstanding person. This past summer he had the ‘all-in” mentality in everything he did on and off the field. He was fully committed and understood what the summer in St. Cloud could do for him. He was in St. Cloud from day one and left after the last playoff game. Players who have his character, commitment and ability tend to do great things and he certainly is taking college baseball by storm this season. If the baseball world didn’t know who Charlie Condon was last summer they do now with what he is doing at Georgia and in the SEC,” Schreiner added.
Carrying this momentum over to 2023 was all a part of the plan: “I remember having multiple conversations with him about expectations before 2022. Not only [expectations] for the summer, but in 2023 with the [Georgia] Bulldogs as well, and he more than lived up to them,” Rox Field Manager Brian Lewis mentioned.
As expected, Condon himself saw his time in St. Cloud as a vital part to his success with Georgia: “The reps I got this summer in the Northwoods League have a lot to do with my success back down [in Athens, Georgia]. This summer taught me how to be a more disciplined and mature hitter, which has given me more competitive at-bats.”
A lot of times, growth as a ballplayer displays in multiple forms. Not only was it evident that Condon looked to expand mentally, but he quite literally grew into his 6-foot-6 frame.
“We red-shirted him freshman year so he could put on weight and get stronger…The weight gain, added strength, and baseball experience in the Northwoods League all helped him get to where he is today… he’s worked extremely hard and showed patience along the way,” said Scott Stricklin, Condon’s Head Coach at Georgia.
And in humble fashion, Condon deflects all of his growth and success onto those who supported him.
“I’d say I get my work ethic from my parents…Both of them taught me to judge my preparation, before I judge my performance,” Condon remarked.
We can only speculate what the St. Cloud product’s future might be, but one person who knows him well has a prediction. “We are witnessing a future first-rounder,” said Lewis, who coached Condon for over 70 games last summer.
Condon’s goal, you ask? He’s a little more broad and appreciative for the game itself when saying; “Regardless of how long I am able to play baseball for, there is going to come a time when it isn’t as prevalent in my life. I just want baseball to take me as far as I can make it, and enjoy the process along the way.”
One thing is for sure, baseball fans will see a lot more of Charlie Condon as he continues to dominate college baseball.