When it comes to advice on how to extend his professional baseball career, Mark Hendrickson has been listening to Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter for quite some time.
When the Yorker retired as a player in 2015, the 6-foot, 9-inch left-handed pitcher noted he was remaining in contact with Showalter about a future role with the organization. The idea of coaching was something that Showalter had reportedly been pitching to him since 2012.
That notion came to fruition in early March when Hendrickson was hired to become the pitching coach for the Aberdeen Ironbirds, a short-season Class A affiliate of the Orioles.
Well-established relationship: Baltimore was the last stop of a 10-year, five-team MLB career that saw Hendrickson go 58-74 with a 5.03 ERA in 328 games.
He also posted a 1.54 ERA in 52 2/3 innings with the York Revolution in 2014. Hendrickson earned nine saves and recorded 34 strikeouts while working out of the bullpen for the Revs.
Hendrickson’s stint in York came during a time when he was trying to get back to the majors after last seeing action in 2011. He was attempting his comeback while following yet another Showalter suggestion.
The skipper recommended that Hendrickson lower his arm slot and go with a side-arm delivery. Hendrickson used the new motion to earn a spring invite with Orioles in 2013 before eventually spending the season with Class AAA Norfolk.
After his time with the Revs, Hendrickson wrote to Showalter in 2015 and requested another tryout with the Orioles. Showalter, recognizing Hendrickson’s reputation for having previously helped younger pitchers on the staff and a willingness to learn and adapt himself, granted his request.
Hendrickson was later released on March 16 of that year and retired from baseball later that month.
This spring, when Alan Mills was promoted from Class AA Bowie to Baltimore’s major league coaching staff, three pitching coaches at the levels below Mills were bumped up, opening a spot for Hendrickson.
Not an average journey: Hendrickson’s time as a professional athlete wasn’t always spent in baseball. After a career at Washington State University, Hendrickson was drafted in the second round (31st overall) of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers.
He would spend four seasons in the NBA, averaging 3.3 points and 2.8 rebounds per game for his career.
After having been drafted, and turning the teams down, five times prior, Hendrickson finally said yes to pro baseball in 1997 when he signed with the Toronto Blue jays. Hendrickson would spend five season in the minors before making his MLB debut in 2002.
Hendrickson also pitched for York Township in the Susquehanna League.