Redskin Beat: An Interview with Joe Cronin

By Dan Warren

You played baseball at Scarborough High School, class of 2012; four years at Boston College, class of 2016; then was drafted by the Minnesota Twins. Your fifth season has been cut short by coronavirus. Dream come true?
I have always wanted to be a professional baseball player.

What is your first baseball memory?
Going to the Little League field behind St. Max with my parents and playing for hours.

One of the hallmarks of your professional career has been your ability to play 7 positions. Which two have you not played?
Catcher, and centerfield.

Joe Cronin
Courtesy Photo

What is your favorite position?
Shortstop. It’s also fun to pitch at the pro level.

This versatility is rare.
I enjoy all positions and play where needed.

Any position you don’t like?
Third base can be stressful, especially with a big right-handed hitter at the plate. I‘ve also caught bullpens. Nothing fun about that.

Let’s talk about your career for the SHS Red Storm. Two games you’re famous for— one where you pitched about ten innings in relief.
Junior year, 2011, at Cheverus. I came in to pitch in the 5th inning. The game went 14 innings. I finished. We won 6- 3. Some great clutch defensive plays by Nick Bagley, Greg Viola, and Nick Murphy.

Another career game—against Cheverus again, Western Maine Class A finals at St. Joe’s, Standish. Bottom of 7th. 5-5.
Two out. Sam Terry walks. I’m on deck, so I’m going to get a shot. Louie Distasio, big right-hander, pitching for Cheverus. Count 2 -2. Fastball, top of the zone. I hit a line drive, left-center, over the fence, to the right of the big scoreboard.

I think I ran around the bases faster than I ever have before!

Difficult high school moment?
Lost the state title game vs Messalonskee. Most devastating loss in my baseball career.

You played baseball at Boston College.
It was great. I got to play baseball in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC—North Carolina, Duke, et al.) and got a great education.

Why did you succeed in college ball?
A lot of reasons. I was given a great opportunity
by the coaches right away. Also, I was constantly working trying to improve. I think I
had a chip on my shoulder, coming from Maine, competing against players from all over the country. 

Senior year BC made a serious run at the College World Series.
The most fun I have ever had playing baseball. Talented team: 15 players ended up playing professional baseball, Three current big leaguers. Everything clicked. We played the NCAA regional at Ole Miss, beating the Rebels, Tulane, and Utah. We went to game 3 of the Super Regional against Miami. We made school history.

I went to a few games in that final stretch. You played many positions. Errorless ball your last 60 or 70 chances?
Shortstop, third base, first base. No errors in the last 20-30 games that year.

The player after whom the “ice bucket challenge” was named as a BC player?
Yes. Peter Frates. Played at BC 2004– 07. The most courageous person I’ve ever known.

Senior year, Game 2 Super Regional v. Miami. MLB draft being held. Pressure?
Rain delay during the game. Came across Twitter I had been drafted. Found my Dad, a quick hug, back to the dugout. We won the game. Quite a day!

Give us your minor league resume.
Five teams across four levels: Rookie Gulf Coast League Twins, 2016; Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels, 2017; High-A Ft. Myers Miracle, 2018; and Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts and Pensacola Blue Wahoos of the Southern League, 2018-19.

Other than Mike Bordick and Ryan Flaherty, you have lasted longer in professional baseball as a position player than any position player from Maine. Best memory?
Being able to play with players from so many different backgrounds and experiences. Being able to play in so many parts of the country I might never have seen otherwise.

What will you do after your playing career ends?
Not sure. Just began an MBA program. I want baseball to continue to be a part of my life.

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