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Ed Blankmeyer knew the record was coming — he just didn’t know exactly when and didn’t care to guess.
The St. John’s University baseball coach’s focus for the last 18 years has never been on becoming the program’s all-time-winning skipper, but instead it was on winning each game every day and then trying to win the following one.
“When you coach at this level for this length of time, two things happen. You win a lot of ball games or you get fired prior to that,” Blankmeyer said. “I was lucky enough to hang around and win some ball games.”
The special victory came when St. John’s bested No. 24-ranked Seton Hall, Blankmeyer’s alma mater and first coaching stop as an assistant, 4-3 on the road May 17 in part thanks to a stellar pitching outing from senior Sean Hagan. Blankmeyer was told shortly after notching win No. 612 that he had beaten Joe Russo’s record for most wins as an SJU baseball coach. He deflected credit to his coaching staff.
“It’s the coaches that have helped me with the players that I’ve had and I’ve been blessed to have some good players,” Blankmeyer said. “Maybe sometime after this season here I might sit back and say that’s a lot of games. Right now we are focusing on a Big East tournament.”
There are moments, though, where he steps back. The emotions from any given game subside and he can see the Northeast baseball power he’s built and the countless people he’s helped mold. Blankmeyer (612-381-3) has won a record six Big East tournament crowns and reached the NCAA Tournament six of the last eight years. He’s had 57 players drafted or signed by Major League Baseball teams.
It’s not just the teaching of skills that makes that happen, but the mentality Blankmeyer instills and nurtures in this players.
“If I teach them how to play the right way and doing things the right way, hopefully they capture that and they continue it for the rest of their lives,” Blankmeyer said. “That to me is most important.”
Being in the Northeast means playing with a chip on your shoulder, wanting to prove you’re as good as teams in the baseball-rich South and warmer areas of the country. Blankmeyer finds kids with that strength already in their gut, Hagen said. If it isn’t, he puts it there.
“If we come out of the program as better men overall, then he’s done his job,” Hagan said. “The biggest thing that he instills is being tough, playing through adversity and never giving up.”
Blankmeyer has epitomized that winning and no nonsense attitude for 18 years. If you don’t get the job done on a particular day, then do whatever it takes to succeed the next time you put on the uniform. In a game filled with failure, his approach has added up to plenty of success.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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