Looking for Anglers gear while visiting Chatham – just look in one of these downtown merchants:

Chatham Clothing Bar
534 Main Street
508-945-5292

Chatham Hardware
624 Main Street
508-945-0107

Mahi Gold Outfitters

465 Main Street
855-624-4465






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Jack Conlon's crazy year finishes with fun on the Cape

by Peter Warren, 07-20-2018

Jack Conlon's crazy year finishes with fun on the Cape

The trip from Sugar Land, Texas — a thriving city 20 miles outside of Houston — to Chatham, Massachusetts is a long drive. Twenty-nine hours to be exact.

“Everyone, when I say 29 hours, they are like, ‘That’s a long way,’” Jack Conlon (San Jacinto) said, “but it really wasn’t that bad.”

Earlier this summer, Conlon and his father made the nearly 2000-mile journey from the Greater Houston area to the quaint coastal town on the Cape with only two stops in between — one in Virginia and one in Massachusetts. Unbeknownst to him, by the time Conlon and his dad drove into Chatham, he was the first player to be inside the town boundaries.

So when manager Tom Holliday arrived for the first time at Veterans Field, he was surprised to see one his players already roaming the bleachers.

Conlon was not only the first Chatham Anglers player to set foot on Chatham’s ball field, but he had also beaten his manager to the Cape by a few hours.

Holliday told him he was impressed by his early arrival and because he was the first one here, he would pitch in the first game.

“I wanted to be here,” Conlon said. “I guess it pays off being the first one here.”

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Jack Conlon was the first player to have arrived in Chatham. (Julia Hopkins/Chatham Anglers)

 

Winding path

Conlon was Baseball America’s No. 239 prospect heading into the 2017 MLB Draft. On day two of the draft, he received a call from the Baltimore Orioles.

“I actually just got back from the gym and I was [not expecting] it honestly,” Conlon said. “I just got back to my house and I got a call and they said ‘Would you take this in the fourth round?’ and I was like ‘Yea.’”

Conlon was drafted in the fourth round with the No. 128 overall selection. However, he would never sign on the dotted line.

Baltimore saw something in his physical they did not like and did not offer him a deal. Because the Orioles had not offered him at least 40 percent of the pick’s slot value, he became a free agent. He was the first draftee to become a free agent since Barret Loux in 2010.

Conlon fielded offers from other teams and he soon had another agreement, this time with the San Francisco Giants, which also fell through.

“It was a weird summer,” Conlon said. “The process took a couple of months. It was very, very drawn out.”

So instead of heading to the minors, Conlon decided to go two hours north of Sugar Land to College Station to attend Texas A&M. 

Conlon said he wanted a school near his hometown so his family could come watch him. Conlon’s familiarity with teammates he knew from high school ball and academics were also draws to College Station.

But, after a disappointing freshman season in which he did not throw many innings, Conlon felt it was time for a change.

“It just didn’t work out there and I just wanted a fresh start somewhere,” Conlon said. “It’s a better opportunity for myself to grow as a baseball player.”

The rising sophomore will spend his sophomore season at San Jacinto College in Houston. Conlon said he did not want to go straight to another Division I program because he wants to play right away at a competitive level. San Jacinto is a five-time JuCo World Series champion, has finished as the runner-up for the title in three of its last four seasons and boasts Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite and Brandon Belt as some of its alumni.

Being around several different organizations taught Conlon that talent is everywhere, and you have to put in a lot of hard work to reach your loftiest goals.

“You see all these different organizations and what they have done, and all these different guys and what makes the organization so good,” Conlon said. “It makes you want to work even harder than you already are, and you want to be with those guys and compete.”

Summer and beyond

Conlon is enjoying his summer in Chatham. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 3.92 ERA and in six games — four starts and two appearances out of the bullpen.

In his free time, he goes to the beach, plays Fortnite and drives around visiting surrounding towns like Orleans, Harwich and Dennis.

One thing that Conlon has really enjoyed is his relationship with his roommate and fellow right-handed pitcher Alek Manoah (West Virginia).

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Jack Conlon is tied for second on the team in starts with four. (Julia Hopkins/Chatham Anglers)

 

“Alek is a really cool guy and I’m glad that me and him are rooming together,” Conlon said. “It’s cool being together for a summer with a guy you didn’t even know coming in and being friends probably for a very long time.”

One day, Conlon wants to be able to reach his ultimate goal of reaching the big leagues. Whether he succeeds or not, he still wants to be able to use baseball for something different — help bring awareness to spinal cord injuries.

Conlon has a direct connection to the injury. His uncle is paralyzed due to a spinal cord injury, and Conlon wants to use his platform to bring recognition and raise money.

“Being able to walk around and play baseball, I know he would give a lot to walk around for a day,” Conlon said. “You never want to take anything for granted.”

In addition, Conlon wants to help with research for other causes, such as cancer.

The legacy Conlon wants to leave does not involve firing fastballs past hitters or striking out batter after batter. He just wants to be remembered as a good person.

“I feel like I am still writing my story,” Conlon said, “My grandma always used to tell me, ‘You don’t want to be remembered as Jack Conlon the baseball player, you want to be remembered as Jack Conlon the person.’”