05/30/2012 12:34 AM
WAREHAM, Mass. -He’s a Harvard graduate, Massachusetts native and Cape League alum, and now he’s making the transition into the front office of the Boston Red Sox.
Former Wareham Gatemen pitcher Ben Crockett (Harvard) is seeing his dreams come to fruition.
"Growing up, I was a die-hard Red Sox fan,” said the Topsfield, Mass., native. “It’s a pretty ideal situation and I’m very lucky it worked out.”
Crockett took over the helm of Player Development for Boston’s Minor League Operations at the beginning of the 2012 season. Growing up playing the sport his whole life, he was excited to take his knowledge to a different level.
“This was a great opportunity and I was at the right place at the right time,” said Crockett. “I was excited once my playing career was over to make a move on the business side of the sport.”
In his new role, Crockett examines players within the Red Sox farm system once they are drafted or acquired. Players are scouted and drafted from both high school and college. They are also acquired internationally, providing a wide variety of players from different backgrounds.
But it’s the players who get a chance to play in college and on the Cape that have the shortest window to the big leagues, Crocket feels.
“Having that college experience in the Cape League certainly provides a more polished player coming into pro ball that is often further along than those at the high school level or internationally,” Crockett said. “They’ve played against higher competition and have ability to move through the system quicker than those who haven’t played in college or on the Cape.”
Crockett knows first-hand about the preparation the Cape League lends to its players. In 2000-01, he was a member of the Wareham Gatemen, where he spent two seasons proving himself against the toughest summer league competition in the country.
“I was lucky enough to play in Alaska the summer before, but playing in the Cape League had always been a goal of mine,” said Crockett, who posted a 5-1 record with a 2.95 ERA in 2000 for the Gatemen. “The Cape League was an incredible learning experience for me and afforded me any opportunities I got in professional baseball by giving me a place to perform. Those two summers on the Cape are my most fond memories of playing.”
Over the course of those two summers, Crockett earned both All-Star and Pitcher of the Year honors, as well as a Cape League title.
Off the field, he spent time with two host families, as well as working for the town of Wareham in their economic department; a job he says Gatemen President, fellow Harvard alum and Cape League icon John Wylde gave him.
“John was an incredible person and influence on the Gatemen organization,” Crockett said. “Myself in particular, I developed a good relationship with him. I cherish everything he did for me and the way he took care of the organization.”
After the Cape League, Crockett was drafted in 2001 by the Red Sox in the 10th round and again in 2002 by the Colorado Rockies in the third round. He spent four years playing in the minors in a variety of different leagues. His experience on the field has helped him transition into his new role off the field.
“My history allows me to relate to players as they struggle and as they succeed,” he said. “I can relate to and understand their challenges.”
Starting a new chapter in his baseball story, Crockett keeps his memories from the Cape League with him daily, and encourages players to make the most of the experience.
“I would tell future players to make the most of this opportunity and realize while it’s a fun place to live in the summer, it’s also a huge opportunity,” he said. “There’s an everyday grind they might not be used to, but you need to do your best, work harder and work through those lulls when you start getting tired. These are all things they will see in pro ball, so it’s great preparation.”