The last time baseball fans saw Jake Peavy, he was struggling through a disappointing 2016 season with the San Francisco Giants. Peavy finished the season with a career worst 5.44 ERA, and was even demoted to the bullpen for the first time in his 15-year MLB career.
Walking away after essentially serving as a mopup reliever isn’t the ending any major league pitcher imagines for himself. Especially not a competitor like Peavy, who at his peak had dominated at the highest level like few others. Peavy was a Cy Young Award winner, a three-time All-Star and, above all else, a World Series champion with both Boston and San Francisco.
That’s why Peavy, now 36, is hoping to author a comeback story in 2018. One that gives him a shot at redemption on the field, and allows him to walk away on his own terms, and with a clear mind, which is a far cry from where he was 18 painful months ago.
As we learned from Scott Miller of Bleacher Report on Wednesday, the challenges Peavy faced on the pitching mound that season were nothing compared to the challenges he was already facing in his personal life. In fact, off the field turmoil stemming from Peavy’s friend and financial advisor, Ash Narayan, siphoning away over $15 million from his retirement savings in a Ponzi-like scheme, provided a huge distraction from his pitching duties.
Peavy was one of several athletes victimized in the scheme, along with fellow MLB pitcher Roy Oswalt and NFL quarterback Mark Sanchez. He was hit the hardest from a financial standpoint, doubling all the others in losses. What followed were months of meetings with lawyers and depositions that took his focus away from baseball and potentially expedited the end of his career.
Unfortunately, that was only the beginning for Peavy.
Three days after the 2016 season ended, his wife, Katie, filed for divorce, leaving him to fight for 50-percent custody of their four sons.
“It rips your soul out,” Peavy told Miller of the divorce gutpunch to cap off the brutal series of events.
Anyone would feel the same way. In a matter of months, Peavy’s baseball career, financial stability and marriage all unraveled, leading to what his mother described as a “heartbreaking” time.
According to Miller, Peavy has spent every day trying to reconcile those events. As part of that, he’s spent more time at a recording studio he owns in Mobile, Ala. Having music in his life — he’s even recorded background vocals for the group “Needtobreathe” — has helped Peavy slowly emerge from his funk. Though as one lyric in one of the group’s song says, “I need a miracle every day. “That’s the God’s honest truth,” Peavy says in the piece, “I need a miracle every day.”
That’s where baseball comes in for Peavy. As his 16-year-old son, Jacob, prepares to pitch for his high school this season, the elder Peavy is preparing to hold a showcase for big league scouts in early May. If all goes well, perhaps he’ll get signed and have the opportunity to help a major league team during the second half of the season.
A return to MLB would give Peavy a chance to rewrite at least one part of his legacy. As for the rest of it, all he can do is focus on building strong relationships built in trust, that can withstand life’s ups and downs.
“I’m truly as happy as I’ve been in all my life,” says Peavy. “I truly realize that the most important thing in my life is my relationships.”
Profound words that capture the essence of the journey Peavy finds himself on.
There’s a lot more to that near two-year journey that’s covered in Miller’s powerful feature. It’s a highly recommended read that not only sheds light on Peavy’s circumstances, but those often faced by former athletes when the spotlight dims and they’re forced to consider moving on.
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