by Zane Moses
After a short, yet impressive career, Jack Marder was told his injuries would force him out of baseball in 2014. The news, which effectively ended his dream of playing in the big leagues, was devastating, but it did not ruin Marder’s life nor did it end his baseball career.
The assistant coach for the Falmouth Commodores has been playing baseball almost his entire life, and growing up in California, baseball was his whole life.
“I’ve been playing baseball since I was three years old,” Marder said, “Anyone that knew me when I was five years old or ten years old I was the same kid, I played baseball, that is all I did.”
That love for the game translated into a Division One position with the Oregon Ducks, where he played for two years. After his sophomore year, Marder came to the Cape to play for the Falmouth Commodores, a decision that would change his career.
Marder felt as if he had let himself and his team down during a disappointing season with the Ducks, and he was eager to prove himself in the best collegiate sports league in America.
“I had gotten to a point where baseball was the most miserable thing in the world for me,” Marder said, “So I told myself that, when I got [to the Commodores], I was going to have fun but I was not going to allow myself to fail.”
By returning to fundamentals and refusing to accept defeat, Marder was able to deliver a stellar performance with the Commodores. He says that he began to enjoy playing baseball again, and, more importantly, he performed so well he caught the attention of the Seattle Mariners, and he promptly signed to their farm system.
Marder would become a testament to the effect that the league can have on a determined player, as he became a professional athlete right before the CCBL All-Star game. Marder admitted that he was not the most talented player in the league, but he believes he was the most driven.
“I got to a point where I had to sign because of the money I was being offered because of how I played when I was here,” said Marder, “I played harder than everybody else, and I was doing whatever I possibly could to win.”
The hard nosed, no-holds barred mindset followed Marder to the pros. He played around 20 games back home California with the Mariners’ Single A team, standing out from the rest of the team with the same mentality he brought to the Cape.
Unfortunately, when he went back to play for the club the next year he suffered from two concussions over the season, adding to the many concussions he received in prior seasons. Despite the injuries, Marder still managed to have one of his best statistical years, and eventually received a promotion to Double A.
Marder was once again able to push through early adversity in Double A and, by the end of his second year, he was hitting lead off and poised to advance through the ranks when he was struck in the head by a fastball.
“I was coming along really well and then I got hit in the head with a fastball and I was done,” Marder said.
Concussions were no stranger to Marder at the time, and neither was the recuperation process, but after almost his tenth, it felt different and it took much longer.
After the season ended Marder went to Seattle for what he thought was a routine check-up, but as soon as he got in the room he knew something was amiss when five doctors were standing there waiting for him. After examining his cat-scan the doctors did not clear Marder to keep playing.
Marder admits to feeling shock, and disappointment after what he worked toward for so long was stripped from him, but his winning mentality never wavered, and he would not let it get the better of him.
“Probably one of the smartest things I did was I wasn’t going allow myself to feel sorry for myself, like I wasn’t going to sit and sulk because I couldn’t play baseball anymore I still wanted to be around baseball,” Marder said.
Now Marder is helping the coaching staff at his alma mater, the University of Oregon, and will soon be an undergrad assistant coach there, in addition to coaching the Commodores. Marder has been able to transfer his knowledge of the game, and his knowledge of how to succeed in the game to a new generation of players going through the same things that he did.
At the end of the day, Marder has learned that baseball is just a game, and it is not something live or die over.
“If you want something in baseball, just make it happen,” Marder said, “Blaming it on someone else, or relying on someone else, or putting stress on yourself, in the end is not going to give you the best chance to succeed.”
Despite his promising career being cut short too soon, Marder has become a figurehead of hard work, and a prime example of how a hardnosed attitude and a refusal to give an inch to anyone, including yourself, will always lead to success.