By Grace Cardinal, Staff Writer
Chris Cody ‘07, the 2017 Manhattan College athletics hall of fame inductee, is revisiting his roots in baseball 15 years after his graduation from the program.
Cody started his journey with baseball at a young age. Former head coach Steve Trimper worked with him as an eighth-grader, recognizing his polished talents.
“I knew Chris when he was in eighth grade, actually. I used to run baseball camps up at Brewster High School and Chris was an attendee of one of my camps when I first moved there,” Trimper explained. “When he got to high school at Brewster High School, he was one of the better players even though he didn’t throw very hard at all. He just really knew how to pitch. Chris’s MO [modus operandi] is he didn’t ever throw the ball at 90 miles an hour like some of these guys do that are successful.”
Trimper went on to explain that with Cody’s pitching power alone, he wasn’t likely to get a Division I look. However, Cody’s ability to command the ball was what impressed him and ultimately landed him a recruitment.
“He knew how to be almost a professional pitcher as a high schooler. That’s why we ended up recruiting him. We wanted to get him on a team because I knew he’d be able to throw strikes. He certainly did that and beyond, and set every record that’s ever been, I believe, at Manhattan College, in his career,” Trimper said.
Cody, who was named to the MAAC’s 35th Anniversary All-Time team, holds program career records for wins (29), complete games (19) and strikeouts (295), according to Manhattan College’s Archives.
While Chris was described as having a quiet and funny personality, his coaches recognized a change in demeanor every time he stepped on the mound.
“When he stepped across the white line, he was a fierce competitor, one of the fiercest competitors there will ever be. His personality was completely Jekyll and Hyde. He had a quiet demeanor, fun and kind of jokey, and quiet and quirky with his jokes, and then he’d get on the mound, and he was an absolute tiger,” Trimper said.
Cody managed a tough upbringing. With both of his parents passing by the time he graduated college, he had to persevere through challenges that went far beyond baseball.
“I think his upbringing kind of helped him [on the mound]. Playing baseball is nothing compared to losing your mom, and the stressful moments of baseball are miniscule compared to that,” explained former assistant, and later head coach Kevin Leighton.
One of the biggest accomplishments Cody had was in his senior year at Manhattan, serving as the starting pitcher on the mound for the baseball team’s upset win against No. 6 Nebraska in the 2006 NCAA tournament.
“Manhattan was a four seed, and they knocked off the number one seed in a tournament which was Nebraska. Chris pitched that game and threw a complete game. He beat a pitcher by the name of Joba Chamberlain who went on to play for the Yankees for about 10 years in the major leagues after that year. I think that really put Manhattan College baseball on a national stage,” former coach Trimper said.
The win against Nebraska was a pivotal moment in Chris Cody’s career. After that game, he went on to be drafted in the eighth round by the Detroit Tigers, leading to a 12-year pro career. Afterwards, he went on to serve as assistant coach of the Jasper’s team for five years under head coach Mike Cole, and currently serves as Manhattan College’s director of players operations.
“I was the pitching coach/assistant coach for five years under Mike Cole, who was my assistant coach when I was a student athlete, so it was really awesome to come full circle and go back to where it all started,” Cody said. “As a coach for those five years, I learned a ton. I always knew that coaching would be a little different than playing. I underestimated what the difference would be for sure, but I learned a lot about myself, because as a player, you really only have to worry about yourself.”
In addition to his other major accomplishments, Cody was honored with an induction into the Manhattan College Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017.
“I was very, very, very proud of that,” Cody said of the induction. “I remember being a young kid on campus and looking up in Draddy and seeing all those names up there and just thinking that I didn’t see myself as a standout at all. When I came to Manhattan, I was just thrilled to be a part of that program. Being inducted a few years back was just icing on the cake on top of all the success we had as a member of those teams.”
Cody attributes much of his success to the right circumstances, teammates and setting. He believes Manhattan College Athletics taught him to put in the hard work, and how sweet the reward could be when you give something your all.
“It’s a unique place, Manhattan. I think you have to work a little harder to earn what you get,” Cody said. “I think that instills a lot of really good values and trends. When you’re being shaped from a kid when you step on campus to being an adult when you get off campus, I think the athletic department does a great job. It’s a great combination of setting you up for success and teaching you how to go out and get it yourself.”