Jack Flaherty is one of the Redbirds top young arms in their farm system. Flaherty has posted dazzling numbers at the AA and AAA levels, owning a miniscule 2.18 between the two levels. Entering his age twenty-three season, expectations are high for Flaherty to compete for a position in the starting rotation for the Redbirds this season. Recently I had the opportunity to interview Flaherty, so here is an opportunity to get to know this Cardinals’ top young arm better!
Who was your favorite MLB player growing up?
Flaherty: Choosing a favorite player is tough because I have had a lot of guys I enjoyed watching growing up. I really enjoyed watching Pedro Martinez and Ken Griffey Jr growing up, but my favorite would have to be Derek Jeter. I did not grow up a Yankee fan, but I have always been a fan of Jeter, the Captain. He is the guy I always wanted to watch and tried to emulate growing up.
Besides making your MLB debut last season, what has been your favorite baseball memory so far?
Flaherty: That is a really tough choice. Making my MLB debut last year was hands down my favorite baseball memory so far, but other than that I would have to say there are 3 memories that are tough for me to decide between because they are all so different. One would have to be winning the CIF championship my junior year of high school at Dodger Stadium. The group of the guys and the relationships that were built on that team was just something special and that I will always remember. Another would have to be winning the gold medal with the 18u USA team in Taiwan prior to my senior year of high school. Our coach, Rob Cooper, always told us that hearing the national anthem while wearing USA across your chest just sounded different. He wasn’t wrong at all. Winning gold and hearing the national anthem play after was something special. Lastly I would say being drafted also has to be one of my favorite baseball memories. It gave me the opportunity to work towards making my MLB debut.
What were your first thoughts when you were told you were getting called up to the majors?
Flaherty: All I could think about was calling my mother and wanting to hear her reaction. I had so many thoughts running through my mind but that is the one thing that I can remember. It was a moment we had both been looking forward to for a long time.
If you had the opportunity to face any hitter, past or present, who would it be?
Flaherty: This one is actually funny to me because I would actually want to face Kenny Lofton. We have been friends since about my junior year of high school. Kenny likes to talk a lot and tell me he’s still got it. I’ve been trying to face him for years, but he always has an excuse.
What are you looking forward to the most for next season?
Flaherty: Next year I am looking forward to getting better as a pitcher and also seeing what can be accomplished with this team. There is a lot to look forward to this year, but mostly looking forward to seeing how well this team can do.
What advice would you give children and amateur athletes aspiring to one day be a MLB player?
Flaherty: I would just keep it very simple and tell them to have fun. Always remember why you started playing the game. That is something that has always helped me. I try to always remember what it felt like playing the game when I was in Little League because it helps to remind me to enjoy the little things and take pride in learning from the failures that come with this game. Have fun and enjoy every moment
Thank you to Jack Flaherty for letting Cardinal Nation get better acquainted with you! I know that every Cardinal fan is excited to see Jack Flaherty’s 2018 campaign.