Tom Cosgrove: Kid at heart, getting his shining moment

Newest San Diego Padre player has traded Vannie for the big leagues


The call of a lifetime is well worth the wait. If you are a baseball player with big dreams, there is universal agreement about what said phone call would be. Tom Cosgrove waited seven years for that call.

Late last Tuesday night, the San Diego Padres had a need for a left handed pitcher, and made that call to Cosgrove. He would become a Major Leaguer.

His debut was borne in the sixth inning of a game between the Padres and San Francisco Giants as part of the league’s inaugural Mexico City Series Saturday.

The slugging duel had long commenced in the high altitude at Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú by the time Cosgrove checked in. Both teams had already scraped across a combined 21 runs, setting the tone for a statistical masterpiece influenced by 10 different players hitting home runs, which tied a record for a single game. The 11 home runs hit in the game were only two off the all-time high mark.

Yet, amidst the history of the game, emerged Cosgrove, whose only batter faced was Joc Pederson who softly grounded out to the second baseman on a 2-1 count. His quick work to end the top half of the seventh was enough to earn him the win, the first ever awarded to an MLB pitcher in Mexico. He was relieved by Nick Martinez, a right-handed pitcher from rival school Fordham University.

“Honestly, I was waiting for that moment my whole life,” Cosgrove told The Riverdale Press. “After the first pitch, I got my breathing under control and was just focused on getting the out.”

The past week has brought the culmination of years full of hard work and sacrifices, all while overcoming the constant unknowns of life in the minor leagues. Cosgrove wanted it to be the Padres ever since they took him out of Manhattan College in the 12th round of the MLB Draft in 2017.

The appeal of San Diego took on a new meaning after he witnessed the Padres’ playoff run last October while living there for a few weeks. Seeing the excitement of the fans all around the city, Cosgrove wanted a taste of that glory — but to experience it from within.

“He saw the fanbase in San Diego in the streets, in the restaurants, in the bars and he said, ‘I want to play here,’” Tom Sr. said.

The excitement for the Cosgrove family has been through the roof in the days since the call-up. It started with an emotional phone call with his parents at 1 a.m. back home on Staten Island. Cosgrove first told his mother, Caryn, who then immediately woke up her husband, Tom Sr., alerting him of a different kind of emergency. By now, the countdown was on.

With Cosgrove set to join the Padres that morning, his family quickly booked a trip to Chicago to be there with him. By 9 a.m., his parents were on a flight with Cosgrove’s agent, Matt Gaeta, with a plan to meet up with their daughter, Colette, who had to Uber from her college in Connecticut to board a Chicago-bound flight which departed from Newark that afternoon.

“One of the oldest, most historic stadiums and here he is,” Tom Sr. recalled of the atmosphere at Wrigley, where Cosgrove joined the team. “He’s pitching over there behind the ivy and I never thought my son would be pitching there.”

Cosgrove did not pitch in the Padres’ series against the Cubs with his family in attendance at Wrigley Field. But ultimately, Cosgrove says having his family accompany him on the field pregame was something he will never forget.

“My parents and sister are the most important people on this journey,” Cosgrove said. “In a way, that meant more to me than being there for the actual debut because they were able to see me in a big league uniform and came the second I was activated.”

His family made the decision to skip out on the games in Mexico City, and instead take the debut watch day to day. Tom Sr. ended up watching the debut on a television set at a restaurant alongside some old friends. Meanwhile, Caryn enjoyed the privacy of their house for Cosgrove’s brief cameo against the Giants, which came over 2,500 miles away from New York City.

“It’s nice to be able to FaceTime and talk to him because you feel you are there with him,’ Tom Sr. said. “After the game, he was in the locker room and I texted him first, and he said, ‘You can FaceTime me.’”

Cosgrove is taking it all in stride, with a desire to be his best self and see what the next day brings. An appreciation for staying in the moment is something he learned during his stay in the minor leagues.

“When you grind in the minors for so long you just become accustomed to not expect anything,” Cosgrove said. “You go out to perform and whatever happens, happens.”

The level of maturity and professionalism that Cosgrove makes look natural is something that caught the eye of former Manhattan head coach Jim Duffy during the recruitment process. Everything he has gotten has been earned, Duffy said, and he is not surprised to see Cosgrove become the first Jasper to reach the big leagues since Mike Parise did it with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008.

“Everywhere he goes people like him,” Duffy said.

The inspiration of a story like Cosgrove should not be lost on present and future small-school players, Duffy says. Cosgrove was one of 10 players drafted out of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference in 2017. The other two from that class to reach the bigs were Matthew Batten of Quinnipiac and Nick Margevicius of Rider, who also both debuted for the Padres. Duffy even remembers when Cosgrove and Margevicius toed the rubber against each other and “there had to be 20 Major League scouts” there watching.

“It just goes to show you can play in the MAAC and still become a Major Leaguer,” Duffy said. “Tom Cosgrove proves its possible.”

The community of Tottenville on Staten Island has held watch parties and sent heartfelt messages to salute their local kid. Cosgrove is a local folk legend of sorts, especially in baseball circles, being the only player ever from Monsignor Farrell High School to make the majors.

“It’s honestly surreal,”  Cosgrove. “I am appreciative of every single person that has reached out.”

Tom Cosgrove, San Diego Padres, Manhattan College, baseball, pitcher, debut, Mexico City, San Francisco Giants