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Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association Helping Former Players Find New Path

October 3, 2019
At one point or another, all professional baseball players reach the moment when the game no longer needs them, and they're asked not to put back on a uniform and play for a club. But then comes the next big question as they enter the next phase of their lives: "What now?"

That is a question Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association chief operating officer Geoff Hixson is trying to help answer by providing career seminars to recently retired players to help them find new direction after they've "lost their identity as a ballplayer," according to Hixson.

"We had hiring managers come in and give these guys an idea of the outside world and how that transition could maybe use their strengths from the game of baseball onto the professional world," Hixson said on The Ross Grimsley Show Sept. 17.

Hixson and the Alumni Association have been partners with the Major League Baseball Players' Association for two years to provide a career development summit to players who are looking for advice on where to direct their careers after baseball has ended. Last year's summit in San Diego had about 60 players, Hixson said, all of whom were one to seven years removed from retirement.

The Alumni Association, which kicked off in 1982, started with about 17 former players and has grown to include an intricate network that is dedicated to promoting the sport, raising money for charities and also address the "unique need of the former player," Hixson said.

The seminars cover a wide variety of paths, from staying in the game to coaching and front office work. They even provide assistance for pursuing a career in broadcasting.

Hixson said the evolution of analytics has contributed to creating a lot uncertainty among former players. It mostly affects the older "baseball men" who either don't want to or can't learn the newer tendencies of the game.

For the players who want to get back in or stay in the sport, this can sometimes present a challenge. While this has pushed some of the older people aside to an extent, others are trying to stay ahead by taking statistics classes in an attempt to change with the popular trends in the sport.

"All the baseball people are freaked out about losing their jobs to non-baseball people," Hixson said. "The game has dictated that with the evolution of stats. A lot of people realize this is what's happening right now. And several of the former players have stepped back and said, 'OK, well, I want to stay in this game, so I do what I have to do to adapt.'"

Regardless of how it's done, the Alumni Association wants to give all players a chance to have a full life after baseball. Their next goal: starting a similar career program in the Dominican Republic, which they hope to accomplish by 2020.

"Those guys need the same kind of assistance as the players in the States," Hixson said. "And it really different down there, obviously, but they still need a helping hand to find out what's next in their careers. Life is a long life if you don't know what you're doing."

For more from Hixson, listen to the full interview here:

Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox