Former St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Ryan Franklin adapts to life after baseball
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Saturday, January 19, 2013
1/19/13 at 5:45 AM
Former major league pitcher Ryan Franklin is enjoying the pace of retired life in Oklahoma.
While wrapping up his career with the St. Louis Cardinals, Franklin used to be rushed by fans in the baseball-crazed city.
"I can remember the number of times that fans came up to me," Franklin said. "Once, right in the middle of a movie, someone came up the aisle asking for an autograph. I was thinking to myself 'How did you get a baseball?' "
Franklin was an honored guest at Oral Roberts' Diamond Dinner on Friday night at the Doubletree Warren Place.
The 39-year-old Franklin wrapped up a 12-year career in the majors in 2011, retiring after being released by the Cardinals in mid-season. Since then, Franklin has spent the past two years as a special assistant to Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak. His duties include scouting prospects as well as St. Louis' farm teams.
Franklin graduated from Spiro in 1991 and spent two years at Seminole State College before getting drafted in the 23rd round of the 1992 amateur draft by Seattle.
Franklin was asked what he remembered about being a college pitcher (where he registered a 20-0 record) and what advice he would give ORU's current players.
"Once I got to the major leagues, I asked myself what can I do to stay here for a while," Franklin said. "Work ethic is huge and you have to get mentally tough. Baseball is more than half mental. There's ups and downs, ins and outs. It makes you a stronger person."
Franklin's older brother, Jay Franklin, played at ORU and is now a sports agent. Ryan Franklin pointed to two of his brother's clients, local pitchers Dylan Bundy (Owasso) and Archie Bradley (Broken Arrow).
"I've spent more time with Archie lately," Ryan Franklin said. "We just talked baseball. We didn't get to work out. I was able to spend time with Dylan before he got drafted.
"Both of them, what I like is they have a great work ethic. That's the big thing right there. I didn't have nowhere the talent they have and had to work hard for everything I got. Those two may not have to as hard as I do - they have that special talent - but they both have a tremendous work ethic."
Franklin said he was prepared to retire following the 2009 season but signed a two-year extension following an All-Star game appearance.
His career ended at mid-season in 2011 with the Cardinals. He still received a World Series ring for his contributions that season, which is paired with his gold medal from the 2000 Olympics.
Life has slowed for him. He's living in Shawnee with his wife and four children. A nearby hunting ranch keeps him busy, as does the opportunity to help coach the Shawnee High School baseball team.
"I would never live anywhere else," Franklin said. "My wife tried to get me to move to Florida. I can't. I have too much stuff here.
"I just enjoy the slow pace of life here. I enjoy laying back and taking it easy."
Original Print Headline: Franklin finds life after baseball
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Former major leaguer Ryan Franklin (right) jokes with former Broken Arrow standout Archie Bradley before Friday's Diamond Dinner. CORY YOUNG/Tulsa World