magazine-category: Alumni

The Cycle of Life

Chandler Redmond

Chandler Redmond Hits His Way to History

Gardner-Webb University alumnus Chandler Redmond, ’19, made baseball history as only the second documented player to ever complete the home run cycle.

Currently playing with the Springfield (Mo.) Cardinals, a Double-A affiliate of the Saint Louis Cardinals, Redmond’s record-breaking night came in an August 10, 2022 matchup against the Amarillo Sod Poodles. In the Cardinals’ 21-4 victory, Redmond hit home runs in four consecutive innings: a two-run shot in the fifth inning, a grand slam in the sixth, a solo homer in the seventh, and finally a three-run blast in the eighth. This was the first time that a minor league player hit for the home run cycle since Tyrone Horne—also of the Saint Louis Cardinals’ affiliate—did it in 1998. Redmond finished the night 5-6, with a total of 11 RBIs.

“The grand slam is the hardest one to get out of the way,” Redmond acknowledged. “So once I hit that I was like, you know, ‘Maybe I can do it.’ But, you know, it was only my second time of having a multiple home run game in my pro career. So I was like, ‘No, I can’t get that thought in my head or else it’s never going to happen.’”

After hitting his third home run in the following inning, Redmond added that the possibility of hitting for the cycle really began to set in. Initially, his teammates in the dugout did not even realize the trajectory of his stat line. “People, after my third homer, they started, ‘Dude, you have three homers, that’s crazy,’” he related. “And I was like, ‘Yeah dude, it’s crazy, but get this—I don’t know if you guys have been paying attention to what I’ve been doing, but I could hit for the home run cycle, I’ve just got to hit a 3-run shot.’” Redmond said that his teammates were still not convinced it was actually going to happen. “You know they’re laughing, hyping me up, like, ‘Yeah, you can do it!’ Knowing, odds are, it’s probably not going to happen.”

When he approached the plate for his at bat in the eighth inning, Redmond noted he had an internal conversation with himself. “I was like, ‘Alright Chandler, you can’t blow this.’ I was just telling myself, ‘Don’t get too big, don’t try and force the issue. But man, if you get your pitch, you can’t miss it.’” Redmond reflected. “So fortunately, I didn’t miss it. You know, I don’t even know if I did it, I think it was all God. He put the pieces in place.”

As for his teammates’ reaction, Redmond said, “I hit the ball, and just kind of stood there and watched it, and then I pointed right into the dugout at the guys that I was talking to, and they’re just going nuts.”

A native of Middletown, Md., Redmond hit for a school record 50 home runs during his career at Gardner-Webb. He was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2019 MLB Draft by the Cardinals, but the road to get there was wrought with obstacles. During his time playing high school baseball at Georgetown Prep in Maryland, Redmond dealt with a case of the “yips*.” Talking about this mental block, Redmond said, “It’s not physical, it’s just all in your head. And so I couldn’t really throw a baseball. If you were 15 feet away from me, I wouldn’t be able to hit your chest more than once in a row. It was crazy, it was almost like Space Jam, where the monsters take your superpowers… And it just [happened] overnight, I couldn’t throw a baseball. And I couldn’t understand it.”

Redmond’s high school coach, Chris Rodriguez, had a connection with former Gardner-Webb Head Baseball Coach Rusty Stroupe. Rodriguez reached out to Stroupe about Redmond’s potential.

“Coach Stroupe sent out his recruiting coordinator to come watch me play one game,” Redmond said. “I was hitting the ball really well… And he ended up offering me a scholarship of about $1,000… So of course I took it right away, it was the only offer that I had. And it was to play Division I college baseball down South—I don’t know what more you could ask for.”

Discussing his pride in having a strong work ethic, Redmond championed his former hitting coach at Gardner-Webb, Ross Steedley. “We connected really well, right from the get-go,” Redmond said. “I woke up every day ready to get to work and I was just so excited to be able to get that opportunity, because I had the yips (in high school), and I didn’t think that I was going to play college baseball. So that was just all God’s work, God’s plan. And He’s just put so many great people in my life.”

Speaking more of his time at Gardner-Webb with Stroupe and Steedley, Redmond talked about their steadfast examples of reflecting Christ in their daily lives, representing the University’s motto of “For God and Humanity.” Redmond’s wedding ceremony was even officiated by Steedley.

For young people looking to pursue a dream in their life, Redmond talked about the importance of working diligently and maintaining strong roots of faith. “I would just say, don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t,” he shared. “The only person that’s going to decide that is you. Whatever you want to do, whether it’s something in academics, something in sports, if you can go at it with everything that you have, keeping [God] first, He’s going to open so many doors.”

*Yips is a term coined by sports writers to describe when an athlete’s skills are affected by stress.

Written by Thomas Manning ‘22

Photos courtesy of Springfield Cardinals

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