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Chuckie Fick Joins 'From Phenom To The Farm:' Episode 35

Chuckie Fick Getty
Chuckie Fick (Getty Images)

“From Phenom to the Farm” releases new episodes every other Tuesday featuring players whose experiences vary across the professional baseball spectrum. Players will discuss their personal experiences going from high school graduation to the life of a professional baseball player.

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When it comes to professional baseball players who’ve spent time in the minors,  former big league righthander Chuckie Fick has a quality that makes him fairly unique to most of his peers.

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He’s not the first with baseball running in the family— as the son of a longtime scout and nephew of former All-Star Robert Fick, Chuckie had big league bloodlines. He carried other interests in his youth like surfing, skateboarding, and basketball, but baseball was always the priority.

Baseball being Fick’s plan was his choice and his choice alone—he credits his father for being present but not pushy when it came to the younger Fick’s baseball career.

“It was very hands-off,” said Fick. “Really what was hammered to me was ‘Hey you’re 6’ 4”, 160 pounds (…) you need to get bigger and stronger to handle a full-season workload.’”

Fick also certainly isn’t the first player who made a decision to transfer from their first college choice.

Part of a freshman class at Fresno State that would eventually win a College World Series, the long and lanky Fick didn’t see much mound time during his first and only season as a Bulldog. Faced with hanging around clawing for playing time at a school that he really didn’t want to be at otherwise, Fick made a move.

He transferred to Cal State Northridge, just 35 minutes from his hometown of Thousand Oaks. Right away Fick reaped the benefits of his decision to transfer—only being a short drive away from his parents’ house with a mom who was very willing to do his laundry. His first spring on campus is when the perks really started rolling in, as the guy who barely saw the mound at Fresno became a staple in the Northridge rotation and turned in a quality sophomore year.

Fick now found himself a little closer to his father’s line of business than he’d been as a high schooler. As he headed into his draft-eligible junior year, it was only natural for Chuckie to wonder what his draft stock looked like—so he turned to a reliable source.

“At the end of the year he said ‘You had a good year—hopefully you build on that, continue to get better, and let’s see what [happens] next year,’” said Fick. “He was never someone to put a number or a round, because that’s not how he is—that would just add more pressure.”

An underwhelming junior season dimmed his rise a bit, but Fick was selected in the 15th round of the 2007 draft by the Cardinals—his father’s organization, betting on Fick’s frame and ability to command the strike zone and undeterred by a down year.

“Thankfully, scouting is a long process,” said Fick.

Motivated by a desire to prove accusations of nepotism false, while also carrying the general chip on his shoulder not unlike other late-round picks, Fick began his climb up the ladder. Slowly but steadily, he moved through the Cardinals system, eventually breaking through for a big league debut in 2012.

A majority of his eight years in professional baseball were spent in MiLB, where he really staked his uniqueness among pro baseball players: he enjoyed riding the bus.

“Honestly, I liked the bus,” said Fick. “I had really good close friends on the team, and we would just shoot the breeze (…) when you go through things, tough times, struggles—we had fun.”

On today’s episode of ‘From Phenom to the Farm,’ former big league righthander Chuckie Fick joins to discuss his journey through professional baseball. Growing as a pitcher, ways to pass time in a minor league bullpen, and how to enjoy yourself pitching for a team that’s going to lose 100 games.

Gavin Stone Billmitchell

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