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Ryan Sherriff soaks up life's lessons in minor leagues

Former Glendale college standout pitcher finds way again after deep personal loss, shows himself to be apt pupil of the game in Florida State League.

August 15, 2012|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com
  • Former Glendale Community College pitcher Ryan Sherriff has had success in the minor leagues so far. He is 8-3 to this point with a 3.49 earned-run average with the Palm Beach Cardinals.
Former Glendale Community College pitcher Ryan Sherriff… (Courtesy of Juan…)

Ryan Sherriff felt an immediate psychological void.

With his father no longer in the stands to watch him pitch, Sherriff lost his chief inspiration and reached what he initially perceived to be a final decision — no more baseball.

Larry Sherriff had attended most of his son's games for the past decade until he died Jan. 9 at 57 from complications of multiple myeloma, or cancer of the blood. Baseball suddenly didn't seem as important to the younger Sherriff, who was a couple of months away from reporting to spring training in Florida with theSt. Louis Cardinals organization. Sherriff revealed his decision to his mother, Renee, who suggested her son reconsider.

It turned out that mother knew best. Since then, things have worked out well for Sherriff, a starter with Palm Beach, the class-A affiliate in the Florida State League.

"I told her I didn't want to play anymore and that I wasn't going to spring training," said Sherriff, a former Glendale Community College and Glendale Angelenos player who was selected by St. Louis in the 28th round (860th overall) of the 2011 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft. "She said, 'That's not what dad would want.'

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"I thought about what she said and she was right. I'm glad I didn't give it up. My dad talked to me every night and he supported me. I changed my mind and knew that I had to go out there and play."

Sherriff, a left-hander who helped Glendale college advance to the state tournament for the first time in the program's history in 2011, has flourished on the mound, having produced an 8-3 record thus far. In 63 innings, he's struck out 35 and allowed 29 runs and 13 walks and sports a 3.49 earned-run average.

Since being promoted to Palm Beach from the class-A short season New York-Penn League Batavia Muckdogs on May 20, Sherriff has provided a nice balance to the rotation by consistently providing quality starts for the Cardinals, who compete in the Florida State League's South Division.

"I had no idea I would be going to Palm Beach," said Sherriff, who was also drafted by the Washington Nationals in 2010. "I got called into the office and I was told I would be starting the next day.

"I called my relatives with the news. I feel like that little guy in front of the older guys."

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