It was great to catch up with South Charleston High School graduate and former Mountaineer pitcher Jeremy Cummings at the state baseball tournament last week.
Cummings, as you may remember, was a member of the bronze medal winning United States Olympic baseball team last summer. He has now retired from professional baseball after spending ten seasons in the minor leagues.
"I really don’t miss it as much as I thought I would," Cummings told us in the MetroNews broadcast booth during the tournament last week. "I am back home, very content with my life right now. I wouldn’t change it for anything."
Happiness now involves raising his new baby daughter, Leina Gail, who was born to Cummings and his wife Kelly shortly after the Olympics late last summer. The newborn’s mom is a Marshall University medical student. Jeremy, meanwhile, is at home playing the role of Mr. mom.
"It’s a great life," The 32-year old Cummings said. "I am still a little bit involved (in baseball.) "I am working with some younger players giving pitching lessons. There is a possibility that I may look into some coaching opportunities in the future. But right now, with a wife in med school, I am pretty busy staying at home with my daughter."
Cummings helped South Charleston HIgh School get to the state tournament prior to pitching at WVU between 1996 and 1999. He was drafted in the 21st round by St. Louis. He reached as high as the AAA level with the Cardinals before moving on to the Phillies and Rays organizations later. Cummings threw a no-hitter at the AAA for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in 2006. But there is no doubt that 2008 was the pinnacle of his pro career. Cummings pitched in the AAA All-Star game before getting the call from the Olympic team. Cummings pitched against Cuba and Japan in Beijing where he even met the president. Cummings had his picture taken with President George W. Bush as Bush spent time with the American ball players both on the practice field and in the dugout when he visited China during the Olympics.
As far as never getting that call to the Big Leagues, Cummings knows why he didn’t get a chance.
"I didn’t throw hard enough," he said. "I was a solid pro pitcher who used all of my pitches. I was a control guy who didn’t walk a lot ot hitters. My average fast ball was in the mid-80’s. Those guys up there consistently throw in the 90’s and occasional touch 94-95. That was the only thing that kept me from getting there."
"I am proud of what I accomplished as a pro," Cummings added. I pitched for ten seasons and in the last year, a lot happened. I pitched in the All-Star Game and at the Olympics. I feel I went out on a high note."