Chris Cody gets asked about the 2006 baseball season often. It was the year the former Manhattan College lefty posted a sterling 12-2 record with a microscopic 1.42 ERA, fanned 105 hitters, and was named the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year.
It also was the year the Jaspers captured the school’s first ever MAAC championship before they took down the sixth-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers and a guy named Joba Chamberlain in the NCAA Tournament.
And come November, Cody probably will be talking about that season again as he is part of the eight-member class to be inducted into Manhattan College’s Athletic Hall of Fame. Cody is joined by former cross-country coach Frank Gagliano, Ed Lawson (basketball), Tiina Magi (track and field), Jeff Rowett (baseball), Robert Schimpf (soccer), Tom Welling (cross-country, track and field) and Joseph Gallagher (sports media).
“People love to talk about it, especially that (NCAA Tournament) game in Lincoln (Nebraska) against Joba Chamberlain, who obviously later played for the Yankees,” Cody said. “He has had a pretty good Major League career the past 10 years or so.”
Though Cody had a brilliant four-year tenure with the Jaspers, he was still surprised when he got the call he was going to the hall.
“I was kind of shocked,” Cody said. “They don’t just let anybody in. Obviously I had a good baseball career, but never having been to the big leagues I was just shocked, humbled and very excited about it. It’s a prestigious school and I enjoyed the heck out of my four years there, especially on the baseball field.”
Though Cody never reached the Majors, baseball did take him on a very memorable 10-year journey through several big league organizations as well as stints in the Caribbean and on the other side of the globe.
He also was drafted by the Detroit Tigers about a week after that game in Nebraska in the eighth round.
“I played with them for a year, and then I got traded to the Brewers and I played for them for four years and then got released. Then I played some Independent League ball for a while, and then I got signed by the Braves in 2011.”
Cody stayed with Atlanta’s farm system for a short time before heading back to Independent ball in York, Pennsylvania. There he played in the Atlantic League and for parts of five seasons between 2011 and earlier this year.
Cody also played some winter ball in the Dominican Republic before heading to Taiwan in 2014.
But Cody points to that game against Nebraska as the springboard to his professional career.
“Without that one game, I don’t think I get drafted as high as I did, and who knows what happens to the rest of my career,” said Cody, who tossed a seven-strikeout, complete game in the 4-1 victory over Nebraska. “Professional baseball is all about stock value and investment value. If I’m a 38th round pick as opposed to an eighth-round pick, they probably give me one or two seasons, and if I don’t dazzle somebody in that time, I’m probably looking for a real job six or seven years ago.
“But baseball’s been pretty awesome. I’ve had some great life experiences, and I had a chance to make a few dollars.”
Cody also met his wife Casey while taking part in spring training in Phoenix with the Brewers in 2009.
Reaching the Major Leagues for any college player is considered a long shot. But the one long shot that did pay off for Cody was the manner in which he met Casey, who just happened to be the daughter of his host family in Michigan.
“Funny story. I actually lived with her parents when I was affiliated with the Detroit Tigers and I was playing in Western Michigan,” Cody said. “But I didn’t know her until I was traded to the Brewers because she was living in Phoenix. I always laugh at that. People always say, ‘You ended up marrying your host sister?’ But she didn’t live there at the time, so it was OK.”
Cody recently called it a career after his arm didn’t bounce back the way he hoped after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He sat out last year and did a little coaching in the New England Baseball League last summer.
“I tried my comeback this year, and it didn’t go as smoothly as I hoped,” Cody said. “I could still be grinding it out, but I’m pursuing other opportunities at the moment.”
And while he figures out what the next chapter of his life will bring, Cody said he’s looking forward to his big night at his alma mater this fall.
“Nov. 11 is the night I’ll be inducted,” Cody said. “I’m looking forward to it. It’s definitely circled on my calendar.”