Why Wayne Rosenthal Traded Baseball With The Pros For PE With Second-Graders
After more than two decades in professional baseball, Wayne Rosenthal joins the team of educators at St. Mark’s Episcopal School.
“Will you autograph this baseball card?”
“Can I see your World Series ring?”
For Wayne “Rosey” Rosenthal, who has 20-plus years of professional baseball behind him, these are familiar refrains. And while he admits that celebrity isn’t without its charms, the new athletic director and physical education teacher at St. Mark’s Episcopal School says he’s learning that a smiling second-grader yelling, “Hey, Coach Rosey! I have you for PE today!” means every bit as much.
In 1986, Rosenthal, a Brooklyn native who graduated from St. John’s University on a baseball scholarship, was drafted by the Texas Rangers. He worked his way up through the minor league system, and then pitched for the MLB team during its 1991 and 1992 seasons.
Following shoulder surgery and a subsequent stint as an independent league pitcher, Rosenthal conceded that his shoulder would never be the same. He retired as a player in 1994 and began coaching in the Frontier League, where he helped his first three teams win consecutive championships.
In 1997, Rosenthal joined the Montreal Expos as a pitching coach. Five years later, he became the pitching coordinator for the Florida Marlins (renamed the Miami Marlins in 2012), and one year later, the team’s pitching coach. He recalls his childhood backyard baseball dreams of becoming a player in a World Series game, and while Rosenthal wasn’t on the field in 2003 when the Marlins took the win over the Yankees, he says being a coach was “every synonym that you can think of for amazing, times 1,000.”
But as Rosenthal had already learned in his somewhat serendipitous transition from player to coach, life is ever-changing. By the time he left the Marlins last year, he had become more than a former MLB pitcher, pitching coach and coordinator. Now he was a well-established Palm Beach Gardens resident who belonged to a family of five, which includes his wife, Tammy, his stepchildren, Hunter and Parker, and his and Tammy’s son, Braden.
It was with his family in mind that Rosenthal applied for his current position as the athletic director at St. Mark’s, where his job allows him to stay in one place and spend more time with his family.
Rosenthal says that coming to St. Mark’s has opened his eyes to a new perception of himself. “I used to think that baseball was who I was, but it was just what I did. It’s not all that I am,” he says. Who he strives to be at the school, he explains, is someone who helps children learn teamwork and “to have each other’s backs”—values he believes are important in life, not just in sports.
“To hear little kids call out my name and know that I get to be a part of their lives like that … it’s everything,” he says. “Now [that] God has pushed me in this direction, I’m going to run with it.”