Former RedHawks pitcher Mike Peschel was making a name for himself locally long before he graced the mound at Newman Outdoor Field. In high school, Peschel was an all-conference quarterback and an American Legion standout before committing to play for NDSU. With the Bison, Peschel became the school’s all-time leader in wins (24),, starts (38), complete games (25), shutouts (5) and strikeouts (265).
After college, Peschel continued his career with the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, putting together his best season in 2004 when he went 7-2 with a 2.86 ERA. That season, Peschel was named the starting pitcher for the Northern League All-Star Game. Overall, Peschel would go 36-17 while posting a 4.33 ERA across six seasons with Fargo-Moorhead, winning two championships and doing enough to be named to the club’s 10th anniversary team. Now, Peschel is the Managing Broker and Commercial Asset Manager at Kilbourne Group!
Did you have a career plan while you were at NDSU? Was making it to the bigs part of it?
Making it to the “bigs” was realistically the only plan. Obviously, that’s somewhat of an immature approach but at the same time, that age is when you should dream the biggest and take the most risk I guess. In the end, I lacked the talent to accomplish that plan. Luckily, I didn’t know that while in the moment so I was able to appreciate every second of the journey while trying to achieve the goal.
I know from our past talks you told me you were working during your playing days as well? Can you tell me about that? What were some of the challenges? Why did you do it? How do you think it prepared you to transition our of baseball?
Let’s be honest, there isn’t a lot of money to be made playing baseball in the Independent Leagues. The talent is much better than many fans realize, and I knew that I was multiple steps away from (and many great players between) me and Major League Baseball. The decision was easy, start a professional work career and also continue to play baseball for as long as someone will let me.
Do you think more athletes should get a head start like this?
I was a fringe athlete, so my scenario is quite a bit different. I wouldn’t be qualified to give advice to an elite player that had a high chance of making a dream living (financially) and reaching pinnacle of their profession. I believe in plans, and having a backup plan is technically part of having a plan.
What lessons have you taken from the game that you use in your professional life?
The lessons are endless, so I will just name a few. But things like being a team player, adjusting to adversity, being driven to succeed and sportsmanship (translates to ethics and integrity in business) are all great starters. Also, specific to my scenario in baseball, being teammates with people from all over the world and learning about them, their background and their perspective on things. I don’t know how old I was before I realized I didn’t ask enough questions of people and their perspectives. But regardless of the age, when it hit me, I realized how ignorant I may have been in the past and decided to spend more time with my eyes and ears open to consider a perspective from all angles.
If you were giving advice to someone leaving athletics, what would you tell them?
To realize that during their life of being involved in sports, no matter what level they made it to, they already have every tool that is needed to be successful in the rest of their life. Obviously, we all need to continue to learn our specific industry and craft, but the basic tools learned from sports and being on a team, carries over into every aspect of life. The trick is to realize it and utilize it.