From a Small Town to the MLB: Jason Isringhausen and His Advice to GU Athletes

Media by Seth Isringhausen.

Jason Isringhausen went from living the baseball dream to a St. Louis Cardinal Hall of Famer, which would inspire anyone to believe and work hard at everything you do. Isringhausen grew up in the small town of Brighton, Illinois, approximately 50 miles from Greenville University. The population of Brighton, Illinois, consists of 2,100. Isringhausen was a catcher for the Piasa Birds at Southwestern High School. Isringhausen’s fondest memories were playing baseball on his American Legion team. Isringhausen’s team consisted of his buddies from school and the surrounding area. The team would play 70 games in the summer and maybe lose two or three games. They traveled all over a four-state area, including the St. Louis vicinity. The car rides with families and his dad in their large van was so much fun for Isringhausen. Isringhausen included, “The baseball was a lot of fun when it was just a game and not a business. We were just having fun as a bunch of country kids playing baseball.”

Jason pitching for the Cardinals. Media by ESPN.

Isringhausen continued playing baseball at Lewis and Clark Community College as an outfielder. Isringhausen was taken by the New York Mets out of LCCC. He drafted in the 44th round and was the 1,157th player selected in 1991. Isringhausen’s #44 pick would continue his baseball dreams as he pitched in Major League Baseball from 1995 through 2012 for the New York Mets, Oakland Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, and Los Angeles Angels. The road was not always easy with many physical setbacks. Isringhausen’s endurance and mental toughness helped him work past these obstacles. His athletic abilities and stamina proved him to be one of the greatest relief pitchers in baseball history. Isringhausen’s achievements consisted of 300 saves during his MLB career and a career highlight of being inducted into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2019. 

Isringhausen is still amazed by his accomplishments from a local boy to a Cardinal Hall of Famer. He still felt like he must pinch himself at his hall of fame inauguration as this was his first opening day as a Hall of Famer. Due to COVID, not all the Hall of Famers were at the opening day for the Cardinals. Isringhausen sincerely stated, “I get to be a part of the red jacket group and standing up there with Ted Simmons, Ozzy Smith, and Whitey Herzog is pretty amazing. As a local kid, I still have to pace myself at times to think that I’m up there.”  

Jason giving his hall of fame speech. Media by Fox Sports.

Isringhausen is still involved with baseball. He has worked for the St. Louis Cardinals for the past six years. Right now, he works for all the minor leaguers. As soon as the minor league season starts up, Isringhausen will see where they stand with COVID. They will be faced with the decision of playing in a bubble or allowing people in and out like the coaching staff. 

Isringhausen is sincerely thankful for his baseball career and accomplishments. Isringhausen expresses, “I just wanted to be remembered as a good teammate. Somebody, who took the ball whenever he was supposed to, whether or not he was hurt or healthy.” Jason Isringhausen took pride in himself for being able to pitch every night when he was not feeling a hundred percent. He defines his accomplishments, saying, “I am proud to be able to wear that red coat, and that is something they cannot take away from me. I get to be on stage for opening day for the rest of my life, which is pretty amazing.”

Isringhausen’s advice to Greenville University students in their athletic and personal endeavors is that he is proof. Isringhausen reveals, “It does not matter how big of town you are from, what kind of exposure you have to a certain sport or academic, or the need to go to a big major school to get noticed.” Isringhausen stressed that hard work, dedication, and the effort to not let anyone outwork you will bring great accomplishments. He reinforced, “The only thing you can control is effort, and if you work hard, there is nothing that can stop you from doing whatever you want in life.”

Media by Seth Isringhausen.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here