Major League Baseball is one of the hardest tiers of professional sports to reach. Players spend years in the minor leagues hoping to one day get called up to the big show. Those who do, like Randy Johnson and Ken Griffey Jr., get to live out their baseball dreams. But what happens when they retire? Not every MLB star who says goodbye goes gently into retirement. Some find second lives in new careers, becoming reinvigorated by the 9-5 grind. The following players on this list are those stars, and these are their new careers.
Randy Johnson – Photographer
It would have been easy for Randy Johnson to retire and never work a day in his life again. The Hall of Famer won 300 games and five Cy Young awards during his career. Instead, Johnson jumped into a second career as a photographer.
The good news is that the learning curve for his new job wasn’t too steep. Johnson was a photojournalism major at USC. As he puts it, “As much as I enjoyed the thrill of pitching a perfect game and winning a World Series, I get similar satisfaction from using my photography skills to try and capture that defining moment in time.”
David Eckstein – Fashion Mogul
With two World Series rings on his fingers, David Eckstein turned the tables in retirement, getting into the fashion industry with his wife. Together, they formed "Her Universe," a line of science-fiction themed women’s clothing.
The business, which started as a joint venture between the happy couple, has since blown up into a multi-million dollar business. Eckstein may have made a couple million while he was an athlete, but these days he’s making even more as the world’s most surprising fashion mogul!
Byung-Hyun Kim – Restaurant Owner
Byung-Hyun Kim took the money he earned as an all-star closer and World Series winner and invested in the restaurant industry. Running Umi Sushi in San Diego, the former closer claims to serve “the best sushi in town.”
If you visit the restaurant, don’t expect to feel like you’ve been whisked away to Japan. Kim has adorned the walls with some of his favorite baseball memorabilia from his nine-year career playing with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Boston Red Sox, Colorado Rockies, and Florida (now Miami) Marlins.
John Rocker – Conservative Writer
John Rocker is more known these days for his conservative writing for World Net Daily than for his controversial career with the Atlanta Braves. The former closer came under fire when he described riding the subway in Manhattan as less than ideal (we can’t post what he said here).
Since then, Rocker has bounced back, and has become a regular contributor to the Christian website. Two of his most popular columns were “We the People? More Like We the Dopes” and “Leftist Lunatics: You Needn’t Stay in America.”
Jody Gerut – Personal Finance
Jody Gerut had an unspectacular six-year career in MLB. He was a specialized platoon player who was bounced around the league. Today, Gerut has found stability as a personal finance agent with the Wasserman Media Group.
The former Stanford standout earned his license from the SEC and now makes it his mission to educate players about how to use their finances. There are financial obstacles that are unique to professional athletes, and Gerut wants to earn a reputation as “the anti-bankruptcy agent.”
Brian Johnson – Diversity Consultant
Nearly two decades since retiring, Brian Johnson is still a hero in the San Francisco Bay Area. The former Giants’ biggest moment came on the sport’s biggest stage, when his 12th inning home run in 1997 helped the team clinch the NL West.
No longer a player, Johnson spends his time in retirement as a regional director for The Kaleidoscope Group, a diversity firm. In his role, Johnson educates employees on workplace issues such as religion, age, and gender. Before that, he worked as a mortgage banker with JP Morgan Chase.
Ken Griffey Jr. – Sports Photographer
Ken Griffey Jr. retired at one of MLB’s greatest homerun hitters of all-time. These days, he’s transitioned into one of the best sports photographers around. Like Randy Johnson, Griffey Jr. has found new life photographing sports. One of his biggest assignments to date has been Monday Night Football.
Unlike Johnson, Griffey Jr. didn’t have a background in photography before he started. He had a different advantage: “I have the privilege to know some of the best photographers in the business … because of my background. I can call upon these guys and ask them questions. Being around them, I see what they do and what they see.”
Derek Jeter – Publishing
Derek Jeter has done a lot since retiring as one of the greatest Yankees of all time. You might know him now as the owner of the Miami Marlins, but he has another nine to five job that he is just as passionate about: publishing.
Before becoming the face of the Marlins Ownership group, Jeter created The Players’ Tribune, a website filled with athlete written articles. Some huge names have contributed articles too; Kevin Love, Barry Zito, Christian Yelich, and Barry Zito, just to name a few.
David Wells – High School Coach
David Wells dreamed of becoming a coach after retiring from Major League Baseball. He wanted to stay in the spotlight and help train a new batch of young stars. Unfortunately, his outspoken nature relegated him to high school.
Don’t feel bad for Wells, though. He has excelled as the head coach for Point Loma High School (his alma mater). As a player, he led the school to a City Championship in 1982. As the man calling the shots, he now has a chance to lead them to several more.
Jerry Remy – Bar Owner
One of the Boston Red Sox’ most legendary players, Jerry Remy was inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2010. Now living as an everyday person, Remy works as a bar owner and children’s book author.
His bar and grill, Jerry Remy’s Bar and Grill, is located in Fall River, Massachusetts. His two children’s books are Hello Wally and Wally The Green Monster. In 2008, Remy announced he had been diagnosed with lung cancer. Ten years later he proudly told the world he was cancer free.
Darryl Strawberry – Ordained Minister
As a player, Darryl Strawberry won four World Series championships; one with the Mets and three with the Yankees. Since then he as become an ordained minister and founded his own Strawberry Ministries. For the former all-star, he says his new life was always his true calling.
Speaking with USA Today, Strawberry said, “I was always more driven. I knew there had to be more than just putting on a uniform and hitting grand slams and making millions of dollars. I always believed there was a greater purpose to life.”
Doug Mirabelli – Realtor
Doug Mirabelli won two World Series championships with the Boston Red Sox as a backup catcher. He spent 12 years in Major League Baseball before hanging up his cleats and getting into the real estate business.
Today, Mirabelli works as a realtor for Coldwell Banker in Michigan. For a few years, he split his time as realtor and the head coach for St. Francis High School’s baseball team. He also spends his free time as a volunteer assistant with the University of Florida’s softball team.
Adrian Cardenas – Writer
After just one season in MLB, where he appeared in 45 games, Adrian Cardenas retired. He said, “I quit because baseball was sacred to me until I started getting paid for it. The more that ‘baseball’ became synonymous with ‘business,’ the less it meant to me, and I saw less of myself in the game.”
Since leaving, Cardenas enrolled at NYU to study philosophy and creative writing. Although young, he has already had several pieces published by CNN and The New Yorker. One of his most popular pieces was an account of his father’s repeated attempts to escape Cuba.
Cal Ripken Jr. – Minor League Team Owner
The Iron Man of Major League Baseball, Cal Ripken Jr. had a stellar 21-year career with over 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. Since retiring, Ripken has written books, started his own company, and bought several minor league baseball teams.
His most prominent minor league team is the Aberdeen Iron Birds. In 2002, he bought the Utica Blue Sox of the New York-Penn league and moved them to Aberdeen. In his spare time, Ripken works as a postseason analyst for TBS.
Mark McGwire – Hitting Coach
Mark McGwire didn’t have an easy path back to a normal life after retiring from MLB. Despite being one of the sport’s all-time home run leaders, his entire career was disgraced when he admitted to using steroids to boost his production.
Big Mac spent years rebuilding his broken reputation, eventually finding his way back into the league as a coach with the St. Louis Cardinals. Since then, he has bounced around several clubs as a hitting coach, most recently with the San Diego Padres.
Jim Rice – Regional Analyst
In the Boston area, Jim Rice is most well known these days as an in-game analyst for the Boston Red Sox. Proving his loyalty to the city, he once called Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia “fat” when he refused to leave the mound to chase a bunt.
Sabathia responded saying, “Yeah, I’m fat but he’s bitter.” We’re not sure what Rice is bitter about. During his playing career with the Red Sox, he recorded over 2,400 hits, 380 home runs, and 1,400 runs batted in.
Dan Serafini – Bar Owner
Dan Serafini spent seven years in the major leagues, eventually playing in both Japan and Mexico. Once he decided to call it a career, Serafini got into the hospitality industry, opening a bar called The Bullpen at Aspen Glen.
Serafini wasn’t exactly made for the bar business, however, he and his bar ended up being featured on Spike TV’s Bar Rescue. One the show it was rebranded Oak Tavern. The rescue worked, and the bar is still open today, with a reputation for being one of the rowdier spots in Nevada.
Mickey Morandini – Stationary Store Owner
Mickey Morandini has spent his entire life surprising people. Over the course of 11 MLB seasons, the second baseman recorded an un-assisted triple play and boasts one of the best career batting averages against Hall of Fame pitchers Randy Johnson, Pedro Martines, and John Smoltz.
In retirement, Morandini has continued to surprise, opening an upscale stationery store with his wife. At the store, you can buy stationery for anything from wedding announcements to birthday parties, and whatever else you can imagine. He also works with the Phillies as a Spring Training instructor.
Mitch Williams – Salsa Maker
When Mitch Williams retired, he had one goal in mind; to revolutionize the salsa industry. According to Williams, “Most of the stuff out there, you dip your chip and all you get is a cut vegetable and some water.”
To solve the problem, Williams came up with a homemade recipe and named it Wild Thing Southpaw Salsa. The nationally available dip was described by the Wall Street Journal as “a smooth cilantro flavored version of the dip that coats chips like paint.” Mission accomplished.
Mark Wohlers – Realtor
Mark Wohlers racked up 119 saves over his 12-year MLB career, winning one World Series championship with the Atlanta Braves. Since leaving the game, Wohlers is no longer worried about what he saves. Alongside his wife, Wohlers operates Team Wohlers, a high-end realty group in Atlanta run through Solid Source Realty.
Team Wohlers works primarily in the Northern Atlanta area and focuses on selling upscale housing to its clients. To entice prospective clients to buy their homes through him, Wohlers uses the tagline, “going to bat for YOU!”