Member of Adelphi University’s 10 Under 10.“My professional baseball contract isn’t hanging up in my hallway in my house. My diploma from Adelphi is.”—Bobby Lanigan ’12
When Bobby Lanigan graduated from Adelphi, his cake had a picture that was taken of him in second grade on career day, wearing a baseball uniform. “No question, growing up, I wanted to play baseball professionally.”
Mr. Lanigan came to Adelphi out of Moore Catholic High School, after an undefeated senior year on the school’s baseball team that had won the city championship. During the recruiting process, a lot of people asked Mr. Lanigan why he, a player from the northeast, wouldn’t go to a school in the south to play in that climate and get exposure. He chose Adelphi without a doubt in his mind.
“I felt an instant connection with Adelphi Coach Dom Scala,” he said. “Going to Adelphi was the best decision I’ve ever made.” While he always dreamed of a career in baseball, it wasn’t until he was named Adelphi’s Freshman of the Year and the conference’s Rookie of the Year that he started to see it as a possible future. “With that recognition and the confidence I got from my teammates and coaches, I really started to believe in myself,” he said.
By his junior year, his dream was on its way to becoming a reality. For the televised 2008 MLB draft, Mr. Lanigan was in his parents’ Staten Island home, surrounded by his family, coaching staff and players from Adelphi and high school. Mr. Lanigan was chosen in the top 100 picks, picked 92nd in the third round. “I just remember being in my dad’s arms, giving him a big hug.”
Growing up, his father was a tremendous influence in his life. His dad was the president of the Staten Island Little League in which Mr. Lanigan played, someone he looked up to, and his biggest supporter. “Before every game, as a child and an adult, he said ‘good luck and have some fun.’ I could give up five runs or zero, and at the end of the game he would always say ‘good job.’”
Mr. Lanigan, who skipped over the rookie league and went straight to short season with the Elizabethton Twins, recalled his dad, brother, two friends, and one of his high school coaches driving 10 hours to West Virginia to see him pitch. “I got my first win, and it was the last time my dad saw me play,” said Mr. Lanigan, whose father passed away shortly thereafter. “It was the only professional game he got to see me play. No question, that’s one of my best memories.”
The very first year he played professional baseball he helped his team get a championship ring. “That’s something that people who play baseball for 25 years don’t get, it was exciting,” he said.
In 2009 he started with a Single-A team, the Beloit Snappers in Wisconsin, before being promoted later that year to the Advanced High A team Fort Myers Miracle. He started the 2010 season with the Fort Myer Miracle, before making the all-star team in High A, and moving up to AA, joining the New Britain Rock Cats.
He spent 2011 with the Rock Cats, and was promoted to the Triple A Rochester Red Wings in 2012 before returning to New Britain. In July 2013, he signed a minor-league contract with the Boston Red Sox and joined the Class AA Portland Sea Dogs of the Eastern League. His end goal continues to be the same as it has been for the last five years: to play in the major leagues.
His schedule can be grueling; on the road for seven months of the year, living from hotel to hotel, 10 hour bus trips, traveling as far north as Maine to as far south as Virginia in a single month. “When frustration sets in, I just realize how many people want to be doing what I’m doing,” he said. “Working with children at a camp, tossing a ball to a kid at a game, signing an autograph, those are the kinds of things that give you a reality check. I’m reminded where I am, and to take advantage of every opportunity I have.”
Even with a hectic schedule, Mr. Lanigan made it a priority to dedicate two of his off seasons to returning to Adelphi to complete his degree. “It was a commitment I made to myself, and to my mom and dad. If I was going to do pro-ball and leave Adelphi after my junior year, then I would finish my degree at the first opportunity. I got it done, and I was proud of that,” he said. “My professional baseball contract isn’t hanging up in my hallway in my house. My diploma from Adelphi is. It meant a lot to me and a lot to my family to complete my degree at the University.”
In addition to his accomplishments on the field, Mr. Mr. Lanigan has received accolades for his contributions off the field and in the community. In 2011 he won the Harmon Killebrew Award from the Minnesota Twins Organization for his involvement in the community, working at camps for children with special needs, and visiting kids at hospitals. He also gives back to his former high school during the winter seasons, coaching high school girls basketball (his team won four straight championships) and also assisting in teaching physical education.
What words of wisdom does Mr. Lanigan have to offer current Adelphi students? “If you have the passion to do something, go for it.” He isn’t just sharing his own advice, he is living it.