Back in 1999, when people listened to Mambo No. 5 and Apple’s stock price was $42 a share, I played baseball as a senior at Salisbury High School. We faced some good players in Lehigh Valley at the time, including a big kid from Northwestern High School who threw 90 mph and was drafted by the Mets. But the best player in the area was an overgrown sophomore catcher from Catasauqua named Anthony Recker.
Even as a sophomore, Recker was a force. He could hit, mash for power, and no one dared run on his arm. One look at the darts he threw to second base during warm ups at the start of every inning was like a warning sign to the opposing team – don’t even THINK about stealing today.
Two years later, Recker hit .420 with 5 home runs and 24 RBI as a senior and was named the area’s Baseball Player of the Year. His play led Catasauqua to the 2001 Colonial League Championship.
Recker went on to play college baseball at Alvernia where he excelled and was selected in the 18th round of the 2005 MLB Draft by the Oakland Athletics. Seven years, 667 games, 89 home runs, four all-star appearances and countless bus rides across the country playing minor league baseball games in front of miniscule crowds for very little money finally paid off for him recently. Just four days before his 28th birthday, Recker played in his first Major League Baseball game. At Yankee Stadium.
Against the Yankees, Recker went 0-for-4 with a walk in a blowout loss, but his debut performance hardly mattered. Hopefully, Oakland will give him the opportunity to showcase his talents during the last six weeks of this season and he can establish himself as a bona-fide Major League Baseball player. It’s been a long and arduous road for Recker, but he persevered and is now living his dream (Morning Call article).
Recker is just the sixth baseball player from a Lehigh Valley high school to make the Major Leagues, joining current Phillies backup catcher Brian Schneider (Northampton HS) and former players Gary Lavelle (Liberty HS), Pat Kelly (Catasauqua HS), Dave Schneck (Whitehall HS) and Curt Simmons (Whitehall HS).
Here’s hoping his career is a long and prosperous one.
This post was written by Lehigh Valley InSite guest author David Saba of Spark.