Joe Cronin of Scarborough played four seasons in the Minnesota Twins farm system, finishing with the Double-A Pensicola Blue Waves in 2019. He recently was hired by the Boston Red Sox as an intern in their player development program. Nino Mendez photo/Courtesy of Pensacola Blue Wahoos

Four years after graduating from a stellar university, Joe Cronin still required help writing his resume.

“I didn’t need one when I got out of college. I got drafted and just played,” Cronin said.

Good point.

Cronin, 26, of Scarborough, had steady employment after the Minnesota Twins drafted him out of Boston College in 2016, including last year when the Twins minor leaguers got paid, even though their season was canceled.

Cronin’s official days as a player ended shortly after the 2020 season when the Twins released him, along with several minor leaguers. Cronin went job-hunting, working the phones and sending emails, with his resume circulating throughout baseball front offices.

The Red Sox returned his call. Now, Cronin finds himself back in Fort Myers, Florida, for another spring training, but this time across town from the Twins’ complex, at Boston’s JetBlue complex – and not as a player, but an intern with the player development department.

“It’s a good opportunity,” Cronin said. “A portion of the job is helping facilitate operations down here – with major league spring training, then minor league spring training and extended spring training.

“Then there is the scouting side, and hands-on (experience) with player development, operations, the business side.

“I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go. My experience is obviously being on the field, but I wanted to experience the front-office side.

“What excited me about the Red Sox is they said, ‘we’re not going to pigeonhole you in one department.’ ”

The internship officially runs through September. Cronin is looking toward building a career in baseball. He seems a natural fit, according to those who know him.

“He is passionate. He understands the game. He understands people,” said Mike Coutts, who coached Cronin at Scarborough High.

Dan Warren, a local attorney and longtime supporter of Scarborough baseball, including a stint as American Legion coach, helped Cronin with the job search.

“Don’t bet against Joe,” he said. “He will succeed. That’s what Joe Cronin does.”

At Scarborough High, that drive to succeed translated into four years as an honor student, a regular role on the hockey team, and four baseball seasons as a starter at shortstop.

Joe Cronin was a four-year starter at shortstop at Scarborough High before playing baseball at Boston College. John Ewing/Staff Photographer

Coutts took over as the baseball coach at Scarborough High in 2011 during Cronin’s junior season, replacing Cronin’s father, Jim, who moved to St. Joseph’s College as an assistant coach.

Coutts was an assistant coach at the University of Maine for 11 years (and is now the head softball coach there). He also managed in the Cape Cod League for eight seasons. At Scarborough, Joe Cronin quickly made an impression on Coutts.

“I’ve coached a lot of people – he was as tough, competitive-wise, as anyone I ever coached. One of my favorite guys,” Coutts said.

One of Coutts’ favorite memories of Cronin was the 2012 Western Class A final against Cheverus, when Cronin pitched part of the game and finished it with a walk-off home run in the seventh.

“That’s Joe Cronin right there,” Coutts said. “Never backed down. Competes like crazy. No moment is too big for him.”

From Scarborough, Cronin headed to Boston College, where he was again a four-year starter. He batted .267 his senior year in 2016, with a team-high .429 slugging percentage. He also set the school career record for walks (114). Cronin graduated with a degree in communication. The Twins drafted him in the 34th round.

Cronin worked his way up through the system, playing all the infield positions and occasionally in left field. Despite his late-round status, Cronin made it to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos in the Double-A Southern League in 2019. The level had special meaning because Cronin grew up watching his local minor league team in the Double-A Eastern League.

“I went to a thousand Sea Dogs games,” he said.

It was not a great season for Cronin, who hit .190.

“I came home and I needed to take a break from the game for a few months, to make sure it was something I wanted to do,” said Cronin, who worked as a financial adviser in Boston. The time away cleared his focus.

“I still wanted to stick around baseball,” he said.

But minor league baseball was not around long in 2020. When spring training was canceled, Cronin wondered if he would ever be back, especially with organizations reducing the number of minor league teams to save money. Cronin was one of 34 players cut by the Twins last September.

“I can’t say it was a complete surprise. I knew they were going to be cutting a bunch of these minor league teams,” Cronin said. “Missing a season at my age is hard. A lot of young guys were coming in.

“I wasn’t completely shocked, but it still wasn’t fun.”

Other organizations also performed roster dumps – “it was kind of a bloodbath,” Cronin said – so he knew there was little chance to catch on with another club.

“I heard from a few independent league teams, but I really didn’t want to go that route.”

Cronin stayed busy – doing work for Warren, subbing at Scarborough High, and going back to school for his MBA. He also enlisted Warren’s assistance in looking for a baseball job.

“I helped him draft emails to teams, texts. Every single guy in major-league baseball with a connection to the state of Maine heard from Joe,” Warren said.

“We got to December. He had a lot of lines in the water. … He finally got an offer from the Boston Red Sox.”

The Red Sox seemed a natural fit, since Cronin grew up rooting for Boston (a fan of Nomar Garciaparra, then Dustin Pedroia). Then there is the other Joe Cronin – the Red Sox Hall of Fame shortstop from 1935-45 (but no relationship to Scarborough Joe).

The Joe Cronin from Maine is ready to work. He had some help getting where he is, including from Warren and his parents, Jim and Terry, who supported him when he was playing minor league ball, and then not playing at all.

“(Joe’s) dream was always to get to the major leagues,” Coutts said. ““He could very well end up in Major League Baseball.”


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