For professional baseball players, meandering through the minor leagues isn’t easy. Competition gets tougher at every level, the chance to be traded to another organization looms, and learning to travel are just a few of many obstacles they must overcome. Some obstacles, however, happen when they’re not expected.
For Cyclones pitcher John Mincone, the journey has already been a tough one. Injuries hindered his time in the Chicago Cubs organization, but the 22-year-old faced the biggest tragedy last August when his father, Joseph Mincone, passed away from cancer at age 50.
“My father was my only pitching coach since I was born, really,” Mincone said. “He worked with both my brothers and I not only in baseball, but who we became in our lives. His passing was not easy on our family, but it brought us closer together and it actually motivated me. Our big argument was always about working out. I always wanted to take the easy route and hang out with my friends. After he passed away, I had time to sit back and reflect on everything he said to me and it clicked into my mind that it’s now or never”
Mincone pays tribute to his late father every moment he is on the field.
“The asian glove company I’m sponsored by makes all my gloves for me. They believe the palm is closest to the heart, so I have my dad’s initials and Philippians 4:4 written inside each of my gloves, which was my dad’s favorite verse.”
Philippians 4:4’s verse is “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!”
Being in the Mets organization is a dream come true for Mincone, a native of Dix Hills in Long Island who attended Half Hollow Hills High School East. Mincone grew up cheering for the New York Mets, the parent club of the Cyclones.
--By Mike Baggerman
“I’ve been a Mets fan my whole life,” Mincone said. “So, it’s incredible being in the Mets organization now. I’ve been coming to Cyclones games since they opened. On (Brooklyn’s) opening day I think I had 18 tickets that were left to family members and I know my friends came out.”
Physical setbacks were another obstacle for Mincone, who has had significant injuries at every level of his young professional and amateur career.
“I had tommy john surgery my sophomore year (in high school) and missed a good chunk of my junior year.” Mincone said. “I came down with mono my freshman year (at James Madison University) so I missed a good chunk of time from that. Then, my scar tissue popped from my Tommy John Surgery when I was there also which set me back about three months.”
After being released from the Chicago Cubs organization, Mincone played for the Windy City Thunderbolts of the Frontier League in 2011 but suffered a torn ACL. After everything Mincone has been through in his life and career, he is seen by many as an inspiration to many people who have faced similar adversity in their lives.
“It’s tough,” Mincone replied when asked about advice he would give to someone in a similar situation, “but you have to try to pick out --I know it’s tough to say positives-- but you have to pick out certain things that you take out from every person in your life that you lose. You’re made from the people you’re surrounded by and those pieces that you take out of people make you who you are. It’s tough but you have to really push through and mentally be strong.”