Baseball runs through Chase Lambin’s blood. But his is a love story on two levels. A journey that is compelling, inspiring, and even now not yet complete…
Chase Lambin could not have known when the New York Mets selected him in the 34th Round of the June MLB 2002 Amateur Draft that only three of the thirty players with him in that round would make it to the major leagues.
Nor could Chase Lambin have known that he would not be one of them.
He could not have known his baseball journey would carry him and his wife across America. Playing a kid’s game in fourteen cities, with stops in places like Binghamton New York, Omaha Nebraska, Albuquerque New Mexico, Sugarland Texas, and even a foreign country.
Chase Lambin: “We just go where it takes us.”
At the age of 22, Chase Lambin could not have known the two hundred plate appearances he made with the Brooklyn Cyclones to begin his career would be the first of 5,000 at-bats in the minor leagues.
Nor could Chase Lambin have known there would come a time when his wife Sara would tell him she was pregnant with their son, but they kept moving together anyway. From Syracuse to Rochester to New Orleans.
“We just go where the game takes us,,” Lambin told the Washington Post in 2013.
Chase and Sara Lambin: Making all the stops
So near and yet so far away, Chase Lambin had some great years in the minor leagues. In 2003, Chase made the jump to high-A, batting .289/.366/.404 for the St. Lucie Mets as a middle infielder. He hit 27 doubles, second on the club behind David Wright and was also second to Wright with 49 RBI.
In 2008, Lambin had an outstanding season for the AAA Albuquerque Isotopes, hitting .300/.378/.518 with 14 homers.
But over time, the down years ate up the good years. At times, interest would surface from teams like the (then) Florida Marlins and later the Kansas City Royals offering a minor league contract for Chase and Sara Lambin to consider.
In the best of those years at the Triple-A level, Lambin would gross anywhere from $40,000 to $60,000 per season, enough to live on but nowhere near enough to do much else.
In the worst of times, Chase Lambin, forced to play in an independent league, commanded a mere $3,000 a month – only during the season.
It was then that Lambin realized he was spinning his wheels and he was 34, not 24. Lambin played his final season as a professional ballplayer in 2014 in an independent league.
In more than 400 plate appearances, Lambin batted .202 with a .274 on-base percentage. It was time to move on.
Making lemonade from a lemon
Baseball as a profession can be cruel, especially for someone like Chase Lambin, who stands by as his competitors (also his teammates) pass by him on their way up the ladder. Along the way, though, Lambin found a positive in all the negative…
“These young guys need to be motivated and helped,” he said, “and I really enjoy that side.”Kent Babb, Washington Post
So, not surprisingly, that’s where we find Chase Lambin today at 41 and having just accepted a position as the hitting coach for the Nashville Sounds, the Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers.
Representing a promotion, Lambin has been working his way up the coaching ladder since his retirement as an active player in 2014.
Still, the baseball journey embarked on by Chase, and Sara Lambin is not complete. There’s one more chapter in this baseball story yet to be written…
And if you believe in the Easter Bunny as I do, there will come a day when the boy from Texas, Chase Lambin, wears a Major League uniform as a coach for the Texas Rangers.