Roy Corcoran isn’t ready to say he has thrown his last pitch, but he already has moved into another phase of life.
The little relief pitcher whose Southern drawl and dogged spirit on the mound made him a popular teammate with the Seattle Mariners in 2008 now works in the maintenance departmen
t in his hometown of Slaughter, La.
“We’re over the water and natural gas system. We make taps, clean it up, cut grass, that kind of thing,” Corcoran said. “I get up about 6 o’clock in the morning and go to work about 6:30, then we drink coffee for about 30 minutes and head out and work. I do whatever needs to be done there, then I get back to the house about 3:30.”
Corcoran, who turns 31 on May 11, loves this life. He and his wife, Lacy, are preparing to sell their home and build another on the 130 acres the Corcoran family owns “about a mile down the road.”
“I don’t make a whole lot of money doing this,” he said. “But money ain’t everything.”
Corcoran learned that over a 10-year pro career when he made paltry minor-league money nearly all of it. In his only full pro season, 2008 with the Mariners, he made $413,000.
The Mariners released him during the 2009 season and he signed a few days later with the Houston Astros, but never reached the majors again. He pitched 47 games last year with the Astros’ Class AAA Round Rock team, going 2-10 with a 4.60 earned run average, and went into the offseason looking for a team for 2011.
“I talked to a couple of teams but they all said they were full,” Corcoran said. “I don’t know if I got some bad reports or what. I thought I had pretty good relationships with people. Nothing really panned out. I even got a call from Korea, but that fell through as well.”
Bottom line is that Corcoran still wants to pitch, and he’s willing to play for an independent league team.
“I want to play baseball, there ain’t a doubt,” he said. “But I just can’t sit at home and work out and not bring any income in.”
Corcoran admits he hasn’t worked out as much as he’d like, mainly because of that job with the city.
“But if a team called today, I’d throw three innings tomorrow,” he said. “I might be sore for a couple of days, but I’d get out there and do it.”
Corcoran says it hurts knowing his baseball career could be over, mainly because he believes he can pitch again.
“We were just talking about it other night, me and Lacy were,” he said. “You feel different about it on different days. Some days it hits you pretty hard and some days it doesn’t cross your mind.”
If this the end, Corcoran will always remember the 2008 season with the Mariners. He went 6-2 with a 3.22 ERA in 722/3 innings and, while it was a terrible 101-loss season for the team, he built memories and relationships that he’ll always cherish.
He keeps in touch with former relievers Mark Lowe, Sean Green, and Arthur Rhodes, along with former bullpen coach Norm Charlton and John McLaren, who managed the Mariners part of that season before being fired.
“That’s a year I’ll never forget, and it wouldn’t matter what kind of year I’d have after that,” he said.
The absolute best, Corcoran said, was the night in 2008 he pitched two innings against the Twins and protected a one-run Mariners lead.
“I went through the heart of that lineup and ended up getting the save,” he said. “Mauer and Morneau, that’s a pretty good duo right there. We had a one-run lead and (interim manager) Jim Riggleman felt comfortable leaving me in there. It felt good being able to come through and pick up that save for the team. It showed they had a lot of confidence in me and that was a good feeling.”
Real life rarely brings that kind of a rush, but Corcoran and his wife love what they’re doing now.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been home this time of the year,” he said. “Lacy has flowers everywhere and we just watch them grow day after day. Life’s pretty slow right now and I’m enjoying it.”
He looks back at his career with pride, knowing he proved wrong a lot of people who said he wasn’t big enough (5-feet-10, 170 pounds) or good enough to become a big leaguer.
“Looking back, that was just fuel to the fire,” Corcoran said. “When I crossed those white lines, I tried to do my best regardless of the results. I felt like I did a pretty good job of that. I met a lot of good people, made a lot of friends and saw a lot of things.
“I truly hope it’s not over with. Bit if it is, then I’m satisfied with it … I worked my butt off to get there.”
Read Kirby Arnold’s blog on the Mariner at www.heraldnet.com/marinersblog and follow his Twitter updates on the team at @kirbyarnold.