by Dennis Dalman
From the Rox to the Sox. For many days, Joey Stock lived in an anxious mood, practically glued to his phone and jumping every time it rang.
One day in late summer, his mother, Lori, was helping him pack for a trip to Milwaukee where he planned to start graduate studies and play baseball for the University of Wisconsin’s Milwaukee team.
On that summer day, Stock was in the front porch of the family home in Cold Spring. Suddenly, he jumped; the phone was ringing; he answered it. He had to shake his head at first because it took awhile for the news to sink in – the good news he’d been so anxiously waiting for.
Smiling, he went into the house.
“Mom, put everything back in the drawers,” he said.
She and Stock’s father, Tom, looked at their son with a mixture of surprise and shock.
“I’m not going to Milwaukee,” he told them.
And right away it sank in. They grinned and began a flurry of congratulations because they knew suddenly he must have gotten “The Call.”
And the call was the news that he’d been accepted as a pitcher for one of the greatest baseball teams of all time – the Boston Red Sox. It is a dream come true for a 23-year-old man who loved baseball from the get-go, as an avid T-Ball player as a kid and later as an ace pitcher for St. John’s University and the St. Cloud Rox.
“My parents are so excited and happy for me,” he said. And so were his paternal grandparents, long-time “Joey” fans Dick and Joyce Stock of St. Joseph. Also proud were countless fellow baseball players, coaches, friends and others when they heard the big news.
“It was always a dream for me,” Stock said. “Baseball was just something in my blood. My uncles played it, both of my dad’s brothers and other relatives too.”
Stock graduated last spring with a degree in communications from SJU. He was about to do studies in marketing in Milwaukee until “The Call” changed the direction of his life.
Stock is not yet sure when he’ll be in Boston and its world-famous Fenwick Park. First, he and other team members will do some training at Fort Myers, Fla. He is not certain yet – no one is – about how the virus pandemic will affect upcoming baseball games.
It was at the Fort Myers training camp in March of last year when a talent scout for the Red Sox first saw Stock, a St. Cloud Rox player, pitch ball and was wowed by what he saw. At that time, Stock was awarenhe was possibly being courted by the Sox for a contract. After signing the contract, Stock was assigned to the Gulf Coast League Red Sox.
When Stock moved back home from the SJU campus because of a virus quarantine that is when he first heard the Sox management was seriously considering hiring him.
The right-handed pitching Stock was an undrafted free agent in 2020. He ended his SJU baseball career tied for third in school history with 17 home runs, a batting average of .325, a .650 slugging percentage and pitching 64 strikeouts with 63.2 career innings pitched.
Stock also played for three summer seasons for the St. Cloud Rox. As a pitcher, he had strikeouts in 33 innings during those three seasons.
“St. John’s was a great opportunity,” Stock said. “It helped in my development personally and professionally. I’ve had the chance to play with some great players – there and with the St. Cloud Rox.
When Stock is not playing ball, he enjoys the great outdoors – snowmobiling, fishing and being with friends and family.
In an interview with the St. Joseph Newsleader, Stock said he is filled with gratitude for so many people who challenged him, encouraged him and inspired him to become better and better: mother Lori and father Tom Stock, who is a former SJU athletic director; Jerry Haugen and Jason Spohn of SJU, who both convinced Stock to play baseball rather than basketball; SJU coaches and fellow players; Rox coach Al Newman; Rox owner Scott Schreiner; and Rox field manager/coach Augie Rodriguez.
Stock is the second SJU student to sign a professional sports contract in recent months. Johnnies offensive lineman Ben Bartch was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Stock is the first Johnnie to sign an MLB contract since first-baseman Jon Dold (Class of ’94) was drafted in 1993 by the Cincinnati Reds.
The Boston Red Sox, a member of the American League, was founded in 1901. It has won nine World Series championships, the most recent one in 2018. Among its legendary greats were Ted Williams, Carlton Fisk and Pedro Martinez – to name just three.
“I’m so happy and proud this happened – to be able to play for the Red Sox,” Stock said. “It’s like every kid’s dream to play in the big leagues. And my dream came true.”