From playing T-ball at age five to playing for the Chicago Cubs after being drafted at age 20, Eric Jokisch, a Virginia, Illinois, native has dedicated his life to baseball. Jokisch has always loved the sport and many of his most fond childhood memories revolve around baseball. He especially recalls the excitement he felt after his fist big baseball achievement of qualifying for the Illinois state tournament in junior high. Jokisch then continued his baseball career into high school and beyond. As high school started to come to a close for Jokisch, he felt pretty confident that he was a strong enough player to further pursue a life with baseball going into college. However, he was stunned when a coach of his presented him with another option. Jokisch would now not only have to contemplate whether or not he wanted to play baseball in college, but also whether he wanted to play professionally instead of going to college. While still attending Virginia High School, he was drafted in the 39th round of the 2007 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the Cleveland Indians. Ultimately though, decided to go ahead and attend college, while still pursuing his love for baseball.
Jokisch attended Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he studied psychology. While at Northwestern, he continued to play baseball for the university and among many other honors and achievements, he pitched a no hitter game and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2008. Then in 2010, he was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 11th round of the Major League Baseball Draft. Jokisch pitched for the Cubs and thoroughly enjoyed his experience doing so. He says of his time playing for them that, “I wish I could have been on that World Series team, but I have no regrets about any of my time there. They always treated me with nothing but respect. And that’s a lot coming from a Cardinals fan.”
One person who has been a role model for Jokisch over the course of his lifetime and the different phases of his career in baseball was Ryan O’Malley. Like Jokisch himself, O’Malley was a baseball player from the Springfield, Illinois area and also ended up playing for the Chicago Cubs. In the early stages of Jokisch’s career, O’Malley was around a lot to help with the mechanics as well as the mental side of pitching. O’Malley has been an indispensable mentor in Jokisch’s life and baseball career.
Just as it always has, baseball continues to play a major role in Jokisch’s life today. He currently plays for the Reno Aces, a Triple A team of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and shows no sign of slowing down in his baseball career.