A friendship forged nearly a decade ago in rookie ball has brought former Major League pitcher Josh Edgin back to the baseball diamond this summer as member of the Shippensburg Stars.
Edgin, 32, retired from professional baseball this past January and is less than two years removed from pitching in the big leagues. He recently joined longtime friend Todd Weldon on the coaching staff of the Scotland Campus School and Weldon – the player/manager for the Stars this summer – urged him to get back on the field.
“A phone call led to a phone and here we are,” Edgin said following the Stars home game Friday night against the Hagerstown Braves.
Edgin and Weldon were both originally drafted by the New York Mets in 2010 and ended up as teammates in rookie ball with the Kingsport Mets, were they played alongside current Mets ace Jacob DeGrom.
“He and I ended up being roommates at Kingsport and that is how we ended up becoming friends,” Weldon said.
Their friendship led Edgin to connect with Weldon's Chambersburg-based agent, Brian McGinn. Edgin and McGinn even took a 32-hour car trip to Weldon's home state of New Mexico to attend Weldon's wedding.
Weldon saw his big league dreams come to an end when he was cut by the Mets on the final day of spring training in 2012. He then dabbled in independent professional baseball before he felt the call to coach.
He was the pitching coach and recruiting coordinator at his alma mater, Wayland Baptist University in Texas for six seasons before becoming the head coach of the fledgling baseball program at Scotland Campus.
Just one year into its existence, Scotland Campus School's baseball is already a success. Of the team's 27 postgraduates/high school seniors, 24 ended up signing national letters of intent to play college baseball next spring.
The same year that Weldon was released, Elgin received his first call up to the majors. The Mercersburg Academy graduate from Lewistown, Pa. went on to have had a solid six-year stretch with the Mets. As a situational lefty, he appeared in 177 games for the team from 2012-17 and posted a career ERA of 3.49.
Edgin spent time with the Nationals and Orioles Triple-A clubs in 2018, then decided to hang up his cleats in order to spend more time with his family. He reunited with Weldon when he joined the Scotland Campus coaching staff this summer. The plan is for Edgin to lead the school’s new high school program, while Weldon will remain in charge of the postgraduates.
“We are trying to prepare them for college with a pro feel,” Edgin explained. “We'll have a high school team that can play anyone in the state, and we'll have a postgraduate team that will play against mostly colleges. [Todd's] a little more advanced as far as the recruiting goes but I am trying to get there. It's all about connections. Talking to people, giving them information and telling them what we can do.”
As members of the Stars, Edgin and Weldon have been veteran mentors for local players with high school and college experience, as well as a handful of Scotland Campus players that have stayed on campus for the summer in order to train.
“They treat him like they would any of their teammates. Which is how it should be,” Weldon stated. “When we step foot on the baseball field we are all equals. If anything they just see it as an opportunity to pick our brains a little bit and learn.”
Edgin has played mostly first base in his time with the West Shore Twilight League outfit, where he would often strike up a conversation with opposing players.
“The left arm comes out rarely,” he stated. “I was sore when I retired and I am just leaving it at that for now. We'll see what happens next year.”
Edgin hit cleanup during the Stars home contest Friday evening at Shippensburg Memorial Park and finished 2-for-3 at the plate before being removed due to a hamstring injury.
“My play is abysmal, but I'm just having fun,” he said with a laugh. “[Todd] said come play and I said let's go do it. It's a chance for us to actually play with some of the guys that we are training. Instead of coaching, they get to see how we play the game too. It's fun.”
Though it is far from the bright lights of the big leagues, Edgin is happy to be back around the game of baseball. His family gets tag along as well. His six-year-old son spent the entirety of Friday evening's 10-inning affair buzzing around the Stars bench.
“It's telling my brain to be young again, to play young again,” he said. “My six-year-old son is getting to see first hand what adult league baseball is like. Obviously he will be around the game at Scotland [Campus School] and I wouldn't rather have him around anyone else. [I want to] raise him around the game.”
For both Edgin and Weldon, the most important stat from their years in baseball has not been major league service time, earned run average, or even wins and losses – it's the friends they made playing the game.
“We give each other a hard time. We always have. But I respect Josh and always will. At the end of the day we are friends. We're family,” Weldon stated. “Baseball is more than just a game. You build a lot of lifetime relationships through it. People you can count on along the way.”