In 2015, New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon and former NYPD Commissioner Robert McGuire were asked to start a scholarship fund for financially disadvantaged students entering St. Francis College which eventually became known as the McGuire Scholarships.
Now, three years later, Career Development Vice President Thomas Flood was hosting guest speaker Ron Darling to give career advice to a group of McGuire Scholarship recipients at this spring’s National Grid lecture series.
Introduced by National Grid Business President Ken Daly from the class of SFC ’88, former New York Met pitcher Darling recounted some of the highlights of his career journey that led him to the Mets SNY broadcast booth in 2006 as a baseball TV analyst.
According to the Honolulu-born right-hander who grew up in Massachusetts, baseball wasn’t a real serious career consideration for Darling while attending Yale until he pitched a summer in the Cape Cod League.
After excelling in that league for promising collegiates, Darling figured that pitching in major league baseball for about five years would be a practical way to pay off his student loans after graduation.
Little did he know that his decision to enter the major league draft would begin a baseball career spanning over 13 years during which he accumulated a 136-116 record with 1,590 strikeouts, playing with four different teams.
After being drafted by the Texas Rangers and spending only two years in the minors, Darling was traded to the Mets with whom his career blossomed. He became a 1985 All Star and a member of one of the best starting rotations in the National League which led New York to its seven-game, drama-filled 1986 World Series win over Boston.
Following the advice of then-Met pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre, Darling credits the former Yankee great for teaching him how to become a successful pitcher by not overpowering batters, but by harnessing his control “to throw a basket full of outs” to the catcher.
Proud to report that he was never on the disabled list over his 13-year career, Darling learned that precision, power and endurance were the key elements to stay on the mound.
As an SNY broadcaster, Darling has become known for his passion to “call the game the correct way” for Met fans who deserve honest commentary even if his assessments rub the players or management the wrong way.
Darling counts himself very fortunate to be paired with lifelong Met fan Gary Cohen and former teammate Keith Hernandez as his broadcast partners. He described their broadcast as “free form jazz that allows each of us to roll and come back in.”
Such was the case in June of 2012 when Darling and Hernandez nodded to each other and pulled back to allow Cohen to call the end of Johan Santana’s historic Mets’ first no-hitter. According to Darling, that magical night in the booth was thus far his best broadcast moment.
In conclusion, Darling told the students to discover their passion and to pursue it despite failures they will encounter. “If you’re not failing, you’re not trying,” he said. “If you have passion for something, you’ll work harder for it.”