Retirement from baseball brings a mix of emotions for baseball players. Many may have a sense of accomplishment, while some may experience a sense of uncertainty or loss about what comes next.
The good news is a baseball career extends far beyond the game and the field. Despite retirement, the sport still gives retired players a lot of opportunities to continue their passion for it.
Let’s explore the common post-retirement careers every ex-baseball player takes:
1. Coaching and Training
Many ex-baseball players often find it easy to move into coaching or training. The skills and knowledge they’ve gained from their time on the field can be really helpful for those who are just beginning their baseball adventures.
Starting a successful coaching career usually begins with a love for teaching the game. Typically, retired players begin with volunteer or assistant coaching positions to gain experience. They then progress through different levels, earning additional certifications and qualifications as they go.
Apart from coaching, offering specialized training can be a profitable route for retired baseball players. They are often sought after as instructors for batting, pitching, and even strength and conditioning. These roles involve the skill of analyzing and enhancing techniques, strength, and overall fitness.
An example of a baseball player turned baseball coach is the former All-Star Chipper Jones. After he stopped playing, he smoothly moved into coaching and training. In 2023, he went back to helping the Atlanta Braves with hitting, which is the same thing he did during the 2021 World Series.
2. Broadcasting and Media
Athletes with excellent communication skills and a wish to stay involved in the game might find a perfect fit for a career in sports broadcasting or media. Retired players, in particular, bring valuable insight and credibility that can contribute to engaging and well-informed sports coverage.
There are various roles available in the broadcasting industry for retired baseball players. These include serving as on-air talent for games and analysis shows and working as producers, writers, and editors behind the scenes.
Above all, the most common are game analysts. They can use their firsthand experience to break down plays, analyze strategies, and offer unique perspectives during broadcasts. Starting as a guest analyst on local sports channels or radio broadcasts is a common stepping stone in this career. Gradually, with experience and exposure, retired players can work their way up to national broadcasts.
Take Robert George Uecker as an example. He worked as an announcer for the Milwaukee Brewers. He then became popular and dubbed “Mr. Baseball” for his humorous yet excellent commentary of the games. He even won the 2003 Ford C. Frick Award, which is annually given to voices who made “major contributions to baseball.”
Ex-players who can express their stories and insights in writing might do well in sports journalism. Whether it’s in newspapers, online publications, or through their blogs and podcasts, their viewpoints can capture the interest of fans and bring depth to sports coverage.
They can also start blogging. Retired baseball players can share personal experiences, discuss strategies, critique games, or even talk about betting strategies on Fanduel or any other betting platform.
3. Front Office and Management
Another path taken by retired baseball players involves stepping into front-office and management positions within baseball organizations. This can include roles such as general manager or player development executive.
Roles in front-office management include scouting, player development, and even general manager positions. These positions require a deep understanding of the game, including player evaluation and strategic planning, which former players can often provide.
However, working your way up in a team’s management structure might mean starting with entry-level positions. Still, this is a path where the learning curve is often quick, and the potential for growth is high.
One example of a retired player with a management role is Billy Beane. He transitioned into management and became the Oakland Athletics General Manager from 1998 to 2015.
On top of all, he introduced the “Moneyball” philosophy. This data-driven strategy emphasizes statistical analysis to identify undervalued players and maximize the team’s performance with limited financial resources. It made a significant impact on baseball, particularly influencing how baseball teams evaluate talent.
The skills that make a person successful in baseball can also set the stage for success in the business world. Retired baseball players who are creative and willing to take carefully planned risks can do well as entrepreneurs.
Some former ballplayers have turned their love for the game into successful business ventures. These include owning and operating sports equipment companies, sports facilities, or even franchises.
An example of this retired baseball player turned successful entrepreneur is former Toronto Blue’s pitcher Randall Thompson. He founded Dugout Mugs, widely known as the company that sells “the world’s first baseball bat drinking mug.”
5. Community and Charity Work
Many retired baseball players feel a calling to give back to their communities or get involved in charitable work. Their status as former professional athletes can help open doors for them to make a significant impact beyond the field.
Many of them often draw attention and support to causes they care about, from local community programs to national charities. Some establish their own foundations, focusing on anything from youth development to medical research, while others initiate community enrichment programs, such as baseball camps and clinics, to mentor the next generation.
One of the retired baseball players lauded for his charitable works is Roberto Clemente. One of his significant contributions was Ciudad Deportiva or the Sports City in English. He built it to help Puerto Rican children, especially those from impoverished and broken households, to have direction in life through sports. However, it’s now largely damaged and abandoned.
Another notable humanitarian mission he did was helping the Nicaraguan people during an earthquake in 1972. He personally delivered food and other supplies to the victims. Unfortunately, his plane crashed en route, which took his life.
There are countless ways for retired baseball players to build a fulfilling career even after retiring from professional baseball. With the right mindset and planning, they can leverage their unique experiences and skills and find a rewarding post-baseball endeavor.