Huge Sportz » Your Sports Source

Huge Sportz

LOGIN
U:
P:
Huge Sportz User Accounts
Create a Huge Sportz user account to post in the Forums or comment on recent stories and blogs!
Create new account
Request new password

JOHN AXFORD: From Ontario to Canisius to the Major Leagues

JOHN AXFORD: From Ontario to Canisius to the Major Leagues

Photo by Classy Wolf Media

The journey for John Axford to the Major Leagues started in Ontario, Canada, continued through Notre Dame, and came back to WNY when he enrolled at Canisius College in Buffalo. The right-handed relief pitcher made it to the majors in 2009, and has been there ever since. He debuted with Milwaukee, and eventually supplanted soon-to-be Hall of Famer Trevor Hoffman as their closer. John's 46 saves led the NL in 2011; that and his 1.95 ERA earned him the NL Rolaids Relief Award. His home address has changed a few times in the last two years. The Brewers traded Axford to St. Louis late last year. He signed with Cleveland to start 2014, but was waived in August and signed with the Pirates, who clinched a playoff spot as we went to press. He's pitched in 341 career games (all in relief) with 116 saves, along with 12 post-season games and three saves. The intervention of Canisius baseball coach Mike McCrae came at a critical juncture in John's development, as he was recovering from a shoulder injury. "Mike first tried to recruit me in high school when he was coaching at the University of Maine... He later went to Niagara, then Canisius." John accepted a scholarship to Notre Dame. "When I finished my 4 years at ND, I needed a school to play at." Axford hurt his shoulder while pitching for the Irish, and missed pretty much all of his last two years. John had the foresight to make the most of the classroom experience at Notre Dame. He earned his Bachelor's in Film and Television, even interning at a TV station in South Bend. While later pitching in a summer league in Brantford, Ontario, McCrae noted his improvement and sold John on going to Canisius by showing him some academic programs he could enroll in while finishing his baseball eligibility. Axford signed to play for the Griffins in 2006. (McCrae is still the head Coach at Canisius, having won the MAAC regular season title last year.) "School is important to me. I had my BA; when he saw me playing in Brantford, he showed me a couple of programs Canisius offered. Luckily it worked out for me" notes John, adding that living only 90 minutes away in Port Dover, Ontario, helped. Axford earned his Masters in Sports Administration at Canisius, reasoning "if I couldn't fulfill my goal of playing pro baseball, I could fulfill my dreams on the front office side...but now that I've played in the majors, I can say that film is my true love and passion." John already has a foot in the door of the film industry through his work with the Milwaukee Film Festival. "I've been a sponsor of the fest; for the last few years they've had 'John Axford Presents.' This year, it'll be 'Dr. Strangelove', as it's the film's 50th Anniversary." (Peter Sellers and George C. Scott star in Stanley Kubrick's dark comedy about the nuclear arms race). Finally, while trying not to sound stereotypical, did Axford, growing up in Ontario, have any aspirations of playing hockey? "I wanted to be a hockey player instead of baseball, but I ended up being better at baseball", noting that Rob Blake, recently inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, was one of his favorites.

share

© 2010 Sports & Leisure Magazine. All Rights Reserved.
Phone: (716) 555-1234
Email: info@hugesports.com

Website by