Determination, patience pays off for ‘Moose’
Published: Thursday, May 10, 2012
Updated: Thursday, May 10, 2012 22:05
His birth name is Mike Mulvihill, but at Plattsburgh State and back home in Greenlawn, N.Y., he’s simply addressed as “Moose.”
A baseball road trip during Mulvihill’s junior varsity campaign at John Glenn Junior-Senior High School was all it took for the corky nickname to be created.
“While traveling to away games, we’d frequently pass a statue of a moose,” Mulvihill said. “Every time I saw the statue, I’d stand up on the bus and yell - moose! After about the fifth time, my coach was like ‘all right, I’m going to start calling you that from now on.’ The name stuck.”
During his transition from high school to college, Mulvihill applied to numerous SUNY schools because it was financially suitable for he and his family. He soon found himself corresponding with PSUC baseball head coach Kris Doorey through email and over the telephone.
After being accepted as a student, “Moose” encountered a sickening experience in the second semester that diminished his chances of playing baseball at the Division III level.
The junior outfielder was cut by the coaching staff after the conclusion of tryouts during his freshman go-around.
Doorey, who is now in his 11th season as skipper for the Cardinals, could see a promising career in the near future for the young right-handed hitter, but had to leave him off a roster spot.
“It came down to Mike and two other kids,” Doorey said. “Of the 25 players making the team that year, Mike was like number 25 ½. At that time we didn’t think we were going to have any opportunities for him to be better as a player.”
The experience made “Moose” reevaluate his baseball talent and left him disheartened. “That was the first time I had ever been cut from a team,” Mulvihill said. “At the time, they had a really deep outfield and there was no need for any radical changes. I asked coach if there was anything I could do to get myself better and prepare myself for the future.”
Mulvihill took a completely different approach to the situation and installed self-imposed motivation.
“I took a couple of years off and tried out again this spring,” Mulvihill said. “I’m a person who’s very determined, and I’ve never quit anything in my life. Two years later, I gave it one more shot.”
Teammate Pat Shaughnessy was proud Mulvihill didn’t give up on himself and was happy “Moose” elected to come back.
“It shows his determination and his love for the game,” Shaughnessy said. “For him to be able to come back and do so well after being cut his freshman year was remarkable. He was a huge part of our team.”
Mulvihill recently concluded his inaugural season with the Cardinals baseball squad as the team leader in batting average of the nine players who started more than 30 games this spring.
“I had a decent season, but there is room for improvement,” Mulvihill said. “I thought I’d do a little bit better than I did, but I’ll make sure to work harder over the off-season for my senior year.”
Doorey, who experienced Mulvihill’s persistence first hand, touted “Moose” as an integral part of the team at the plate.
“I think a lot of players looked up to him as far as how hard he worked to be a part of our team,” Doorey said. “Some of the older guys appreciated how much work he had to put in.”
“Moose” credited his father Ken for the continuous encouragement and support over the duration of the last two years.
“He was the one who made me not afraid of being rejected for a second time,” Mulvihill said. “He said anything is possible. He gave me that reassurance that I was solid hitter and a good all-around ballplayer.”
His family drove 12 hours round-trip to watch Mulvihill compete in all 10 home games at Chip Cummings Field.
The business major with a minor in personal training stated this season was arguably the most fun he ever had on a baseball diamond.
“It’s honestly been the best experience of my life,” Mulvihill said. “The group of guys I played with this year were respectful and hard-working. We had a pretty good season, but we just fell a little short in the playoffs.”