Ryan Leahy has experienced baseball through a variety of roles — as a former D1 and professional player, a D1 college coach, a MLB scouting supervisor, and the owner of a business designed to help high school prospects with recruiting.
Leahy joined the New England Baseball Journal Podcast to talk about his journey from a multi-sport athlete at St. John’s Prep (Danvers, Mass.) to the highest level of professional baseball.
“I love impacting people and bringing positive energy, and I think every job that I’ve been in, I’ve had a chance to do that,” Leahy said. “Hopefully the kids that I’ve had a chance to coach would say the same thing. But it’s been a wild ride already, just the number of connections. The biggest takeaway is that you never know what person could impact your life.”
Leahy is an expert on New England talent, as a former Northeast Scouting Supervisor for the Los Angeles Angels. He earned the organization’s Scout of the Year Award in 2018.
During the pandemic, he went all-in on his own personal business, Recruiting Edge, a service that helps high school players get recruited by helping produce highlight videos, providing written evaluations and honest professional assessments.
“When we started the business, it was more to be an independent voice other than their travel ball coach,” Leahy said. “I want to be an independent person for them that would basically guide each player to what’s best for them. It’s maybe not where they see themselves. As an independent person, I try to provide the value of being super honest — not to a point where I’m trying to offend anyone, but trying to be realistic because I’ve been in this world.”
Leahy, a former BC baseball captain and five-year professional baseball player, also shared how his pro career was affected by the diagnosis of recurring thyroid cancer, and how he has refused to let it stop him from achieving his goals in baseball.
“I just had a bump on the side of my neck, and I couldn’t even really feel it,” Leahy said. “Somebody else mentioned it to me. From there, we went on this wild, never-ending tour of doctors. I still have it. It’s recurring thyroid cancer. I never chewed — it’s just bad luck, I assume. It gave me a better perspective on everything. The first year, I had radioactive iodine. That was our treatment. Then I went to spring training, and I actually got my own room because I couldn’t be near anybody for a few days.
“I’ll never forget the guys welcoming me back. I got called up to big league camp one day, and I remember Jered Weaver going, ‘What is this — part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation?’ Still to this day, that was the best welcome back that I ever got.”
Leahy’s career at BC overlapped with that of Pete Frates for one year. Frates took Leahy’s No. 3 after the elder graduated in 2004. Frates also followed in Leahy’s footsteps as a BC captain. Frates later bravely fought a battle with A.L.S., helping to raise over $100 million before dying due to complications from the disease in 2019.
“I have a funny story about Pete,” Leahy said. “I went to practice one day with Coach Gambino (after I graduated). It was like early in the fall. So, a lot of players that are probably shortstops are now at third base or at second base. Everybody’s in a different spot where they haven’t really played. So, they struggled with relays and cut-offs. Pete brings everybody together, and he’s like, ‘Hey guys, listen, it’s just cut-offs and relays. It’s not like we’re trying to cure cancer here.’ And he turned and looked at me and said, ‘You wish, Leahy.’ Still to this day, that’s my favorite Frates story. The humility that he had and being a St. John’s guy, our families are close. Our daughters are a similar age. It’s just a good family all-around and a legend of a human being.”
Listen to the entire podcast with Leahy.
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