11/18/2009 12:55 PM ET
Ryan Garko: Well-schooled at Stanford
Giants first baseman glad to be back in Bay Area
I take a lot of pride knowing there's a bunch of Stanford Cardinal playing pro ball right now. There's a lot of pride there. We all follow each others' careers.
Whenever I run into a fellow Stanford alum, I take the time to say hi. I played with my former Stanford teammate Mike Gosling with Cleveland this season before I was traded to San Francisco. Carlos Quentin of the White Sox and Jeremy Guthrie are among the guys I see a lot.
Sam Fuld of the Cubs got called up this year, and Greg Reynolds has been up and down with Colorado. He had an injury this year, but he was the second overall pick in 2006, so it shouldn't be too long before he's a familiar face around the Major Leagues.
Stanford is a special place. Getting to go there and play baseball was a blast. I learned so much, on and off the field. My midseason trade to San Francisco was even more exciting because it was so great to be back in the Bay Area.
On the field, coach Mark Marquess, who has been on the job more than 30 years, does such a good job building a successful program. He teaches you how to be a fundamentally sound player and he teaches you how to win games. We never had the most talent, but we almost always found a way to win.
I have so many fond memories that it's hard to single out just one that sticks out. We won a ton of ball games, that's for sure. We went to the College World Series a couple of times. I'm personally glad I went there for all four seasons of my eligibility. My senior year, in particular, was great. We won so many games that year that I'm happy I didn't miss it.
Off the field, it was tough to balance baseball with the academics. I think that you basically just have to put your time in both areas. It wasn't impossible; you just had to make time for the classes and workload.
Going through that was also a great way to learn self-discipline. I learned a lot about myself in the process.
Ryan Garko started the season with Cleveland and ended it with the Giants, combining to hit .268 with 13 home runs. During his career, which started in 2005, Garko has hit .279 with 55 homers. He was drafted as a catcher out of Stanford by the Indians in the third round of the 2003 Draft.