At a smaller Division I school like Marist College, it’s not difficult to put a name to the face of the many athletes competing for the school. After walking around campus for four years with their bright red backpacks and constant Marist Athletics apparel, these athletes have established themselves as just that — athletes. As they round the corner to graduation, the question remains: who are they outside of their sport?
The following story is a part of Center Field’s 19 for ‘19: Stories of the Senior Class series.
Marist Baseball’s Frankie Gregoire has been a focal point of the Red Foxes’ recent success throughout his four years in Poughkeepsie. But just how does the senior continue to show why he’s one of Marist’s elite hitters? Frankie’s answer just might be, “MLB The Show.”
“I feel like I’m a better hitter when I play the show in season,” said Frankie. “I was struggling a couple of weeks ago and I was like, ‘My freshman year I hit really well and I played The Show all the time.’ So I picked up The Show again a couple of weeks ago and started to get a few more hits.”
The MLB The Show professional and Red Fox left fielder is a total standout at Marist College. He has put forth four tremendous years as the left fielder for the baseball team, helping contribute to a MAAC title back in his sophomore year.
“Winning the MAAC championship is kind of hard to describe,” Frankie said. “That was probably one of the most fun moments that I’ve had. The dogpile, everything else, and then we ended up going to Florida. It was pretty indescribable.”
The New England native found out about Marist through recruiting camps in Pennsylvania and New Jersey during his senior year of high school. The Marist scouts also saw him play at Diamond Nation over summer, where he received his offer to the college. Frankie did attest that he had other schools in the mix when deciding where to spend his next four years, but immediately knew he wanted to attend Marist.
Frankie’s journey began back in Simsbury, Conn., a medium sized town about 30 minutes outside of Hartford. He made plenty of noise when he made the baseball team during his freshman year at Simsbury High School, reaching a near .600 batting average over the course of his first season, until suffering a wrist injury after the conclusion of the season.
“I ended up breaking my wrist that summer right after the season,” Frankie said. “I didn’t even know it was broken at the time.”
He went on to unknowingly play through the injury throughout his sophomore season, producing a mere .300 batting average on the year — still an impressive number even for any uninjured athlete. Once Frankie realized something was wrong, he went to a hand specialist and discovered that he had been playing with a broken right wrist for 10 months and required surgery, sidelining him in a cast for over five months.
Frankie couldn’t quite get back to his success from his freshman season as he continued to struggle during his junior campaign; however, he managed to realize much of that potential over the course of his offseason between his junior and senior year.
“I learned that I can deal with a lot,” Frankie said. “It taught me to deal with adversity, not to dwell on stuff, move on and deal with what I got.”
On a typical day during tryouts for his senior season, Frankie broke his hamate in his left hand while swinging. He played all throughout his senior year with the broken bone and continued to do so through the summer until he finally committed to Marist. Frankie learned a lot throughout this roller coaster recruiting ride he was put on.
Plenty of athletes and people learn who they are and show their true colors through the catastrophes they may face. For Frankie, he has shown that no matter the obstacle, he’ll be back for more.
“I think the biggest thing that baseball teaches you is how to deal with failure,” said Frankie. After all, this is a sport in which reaching base safely only three times out of 10 means that you’re a pretty successful hitter. “Learning to deal with failure, just keep going and learning how to accept it and move on is the biggest lesson that I’ve learned.”
A lot of former athletes attribute their inability to play at a collegiate level — or higher — to some setbacks in high school, often involving a string of unlucky injuries. But for Frankie Gregoire, he sees a few injuries as just another hurdle.
“From being on this team, I’ve learned to put the team first,” Frankie said. “I know at a lot of programs, it’s a lot of guys that put themselves first, but being here really teaches you to put the team over everything instead of individual.”
Edited by Center Field Editorial Team.
Header image by Kristin Flanigan.