May 2, 2004
|John Mayberry, Jr.
Hometown: Kansas City, MO
High School: Rockhurst HS
John Mayberry, Jr. has been around the game of baseball his whole life. His father, John Mayberry, Sr., played Major League Baseball for 15 seasons. After Mayberry, Sr. retired from his playing career, he became a coach. Mayberry, Jr. spent much of his youth around the game. He was often with his father in the Kansas City Royals clubhouse.
"I was always with my father growing up," Mayberry said. "I have nothing but good things to say about the Kansas City Royals."
Growing up around the Major Leagues, Mayberry learned many things about baseball as well as life in general. When he graduated from Rockhurst High School in 2002, Mayberry, Jr. was the 28th overall pick in the First-Year MLB Player Draft by the Seattle Mariners. Instead of signing with the Mariners, Mayberry chose to come to Stanford.
"I wanted to get a Stanford degree," Mayberry explained. "A degree can take you a long way in life. My parents and I figured that if I play up to my potential then I will be in the same place when I graduate, but I will have the advantage of having a college degree."
Mayberry is wise to appreciate the benefits of a college degree. He also knows what a wonderful opportunity he has to play at Stanford.
"It's incredible. It's the opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of such a prestigious university, athletically and academically," Mayberry commented. "It's an honor to be a part of the pinnacle of college sports."
Mayberry has already formed many exciting memories as a part of the Cardinal baseball team. His favorite memory is participating in the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska last year.
"Going to Omaha was more of an experience than I had ever imagined," Mayberry reminisced. "To actually be there was spectacular. I'm from that area and there were a lot of people who came to cheer me on."
While Mayberry remembers Omaha fondly, he is also proud of his accomplishments this season. Before the season began, Mayberry formed goals for himself.
"I wanted to become a consistent and mature player," Mayberry said, "I wanted to prepare myself mentally for how the other team is going to approach me, and I wanted to get physically stronger."
Judging from his season to date, Mayberry, who is hitting .347 with 10 homers, 44 RBI and seven stolen bases, is accomplishing what he set out to do at the beginning of the season.
"I wanted to eclipse my home run total this season," Mayberry explained. "My dad said to me after I hit my fifth home run this season that I had already eclipsed my home run total from last year and everything else I do is gravy."
Mayberry considers his father to be a huge influence on his life. His father has helped him with many decisions along the way.
"The biggest decision my father advised me on was whether to go to the minors (after being drafted by the Mariners out of high school) or to go to college," Mayberry explained. "The biggest factor was playing every day. You don't have the experience of playing every day in high school. Grinding it out every day is both mentally and physically exhausting. I needed to get a routine. I needed to get used to playing every day."
Mayberry has also been influenced by his experiences of being in a Major League clubhouse as a child.
"My father never pushed me to play baseball," Mayberry commented. "Being a kid and seeing the MLB players life, I looked up to them. I saw the glamour, and I saw that the guys were cool. I saw their passion for the game. I wanted to be a part of that. They taught me to take the game for what it is."
"I have played baseball for as long as I can remember," Mayberry said of his past. "Baseball was always in my life. I played other sports, like basketball, but I was always the best at baseball."
Mayberry has also received lifelong support from his mother, Janice, and his sister, Mauranda.
"My mother and sister were both always there for moral support," Mayberry said. "Both of them kept me smiling at the end of each day."
Mayberry also sites his coaches as influences on his life.
"John Sweeney (his coach with the summer team Kansas City Tigers) and Jim DeGraw (his high school coach) were always there," Mayberry explained. "They tried to schedule the best competition for the teams I played on."
One of the biggest things Mayberry has learned from those who have influenced him is the effort that he puts forth. No matter what kind of game Mayberry, Jr. is having, he will always be giving all-out effort.
"I have always played hard. I want to play the game the way it deserves to be played. Coach Marquess has emphasized that to the whole team," Mayberry explained. "I play as hard as I can because I'm grateful to play the game of baseball."
"My dad taught me to put out effort too. I love to be out there so I might as well show it," Mayberry added. "Whether you're doing well or poorly, you can always give 100%. Your effort is one thing you can control. I don't want to have any mental lapses. It's important to put forth full effort and play 100%."
While Mayberry always puts forth all his effort on the field, he also likes to find ways to relax. He finds fishing and playing golf good ways to prepare for baseball.
"Fishing is one of the most relaxing things I have ever done. It gives me time to relax and think about things. This helps me prepare for baseball," Mayberry said. "I've played golf with my dad since I was 9 or 10 years old. I enjoy golf because it gives me a chance to do something different."
Knowing when to relax and when to be serious is just another thing Mayberry has learned in his experiences. He has had the benefit of having a father who played and coached in the Major Leagues. He has learned many things from his father and the experiences that his father's position allowed him to have. Just as his father did, Mayberry intends to play in the Major Leagues as well.
"I want to leave Stanford with a degree and have a long and prosperous MLB career." Mayberry said.
With his talent and positive attitude, as well as his experiences, Mayberry is sure to follow in his father's footsteps.
by Janelle Kwietkauski