“Nothing worth having comes easy. And if it comes easy, then it probably is not worth having.”
Cooperstown Central School graduate Phil Pohl recently shared this advice, often given to him by his father, with students at his alma mater.
The 2008 graduate, home visiting his father for the holidays, shared his ups and downs when attempting to make his baseball dreams come true. He said his secret to success has been always trying to get an edge through hard work and dedication.
“I was never the biggest or the fastest, so I always had to outwork my opponents,” Pohl said.
The ballplayer, who picked up his first baseball at the age of 4, said his first really difficult challenge was moving to Cooperstown. Pohl said he did not want to leave his home and friends back in Bakersfield, Calif.
“I was 10 when my parents told me we would be moving. I was devastated of the thought of having to start over,” Pohl said while speaking to an auditorium full of middle and high school students.
Pohl said he is now proud to say he is from Cooperstown — known as the home and mecca of America’s pastime.
“I was 13 when I really sat down and decided I wanted to be something more than an average high school athlete,” Pohl said.
According to the Pohl, he was never anything out of the ordinary — just somebody with a dream who went for it.
His dreams began to come true when he was selected in the Major League Baseball amateur draft by the Tampa Bay Rays at age 18. However, the Cooperstown native decided to turn the offer down and opted for the scholarship offered by Clemson University.
When asked why he would do such a thing, he said it was not the way he was raised.