By Emily Orthwein
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
Taking one look at TCU junior, Jeremie Fagnan, one would think he is the stereotypical all-American type. Fagnan plays collegiate baseball at a university in Texas and has probably played since before he could walk, just like most American baseball players.
But he is not an American baseball player.
Fagnan is one of the more unique student-athletes to come through TCU’s baseball program and does not come from the traditional baseball background. Being a Calgary, Alberta, Canada native, Fagnan had a hard choice to make between his two favorite sports– hockey and baseball. One choice would move him to the United States and the other would keep him in Canada.
“I played hockey for 10 years and when I was 15-years-old I had to choose between playing hockey and baseball because it was getting too complicated,” Fagnan said. “I was a little better at baseball and knew I could go further with baseball.”
After his decision, Fagnan joined Vauxhall Academy of Baseball in Alberta, Canada, to finish off his senior year. This academy was like a boarding school for baseball players. It set them up to compete at the next level. Some of the best baseball players around Canada go through Vauxhall Academy, in which U.S. universities highly recruit.
Fagnan then got recruited by Midland College and moved Texas, starting his collegiate baseball career. After a successful freshman year at Midland College, Fagnan garnered attention from multiple Division I universities, including TCU.
“I had a really good freshman year at Midland, which helped me get recruited in the fall,” Fagnan said. “TCU showed the most interest in me right away and stuck by my side until I finally committed in May.”
So how does a young kid living in ‘hockey crazy Canada’ fall in love with America’s pastime?
In keeping with the non-stereotypical theme, Fagnan credits his mother for giving him a love for baseball. Yvonne Fagnan has 14 brothers and sisters, all of which are hockey fans with the exception of herself. She introduced the game of baseball to her children and now Fagnan considers his family a ‘big baseball family.’
Fagnan’s family became even bigger fans when Fagnan’s older brother, Marc Fagnan, came to the U.S. to play baseball in 1993 with TCU alum and former professional baseball pitcher, Jeff Zimmerman. The Fagnans and Zimmermans, being family friends, spiked Jeremie’s interest to then play baseball at Zimmerman’s alma mater.
Transferring to TCU has been a great learning experience for Fagnan. It has taught him how hard work is the key to competing in Division I baseball.
“I have learned a lot about myself,” Fagnan said. “The competition is definitely a lot better because everyone in this conference is good. Everyday you have to work as hard as you can and can’t take a day off because someone is always in line to take your spot.”
Fagnan has also learned how hard work without taking a day off can be unhealthy and lead to injury. Fagnan was recently out with a hip labrum tear and has worked hard to recover back to his full capacity with the help of his coaches.
Fagnan said, “Recovering from injury at the beginning of the season taught me that anything can happen and to appreciate every minute of playing with a healthy body.”
Head baseball coach, Jim Schlossnagle, has been with TCU for 11 seasons and has taught his players how to maximize their potential and to be the best they can be on and off the field.
“He really sees what you can become, not only as a baseball player but as a person as well,” Fagnan said. “He just wants to get the best out of each players ability. He tells us to get at least one percent better everyday and every practice.”
Fagnan cherishes how well he meshes with the team and they have built up a strong relationship like a family. Having a family like TCU’s baseball team, comes a lot of fun sarcastic jokes about Fagnan being from Canada.
“It is all in good fun,” Fagnan said. “They get a lot of enjoyment giving me a hard time about it, but watching the Olympics and seeing the Canadian hockey team win two medals in a row is the only thing I have on them.”
Having a different cultural background, Fagnan teaches his teammates a different perspective of the game. One that they did not think about until Fagnan brings it to light.
“He is an extremely hard worker,” said Jordan Kipper, one of Fagnan’s teammates and roommates. “He is not worried about what other people think about him and he just tries to personally get better for himself and is always focused on how he can better the team as a whole.”
Considering Fagnan is a multi-athlete with a baseball and hockey background, he brings a different perspective to the team culturally and also physically.
“Hockey is such a physical sport, so it taught me to never give up on anything during those long baseball games,” Fagnan said. “I have the mentality to do anything to get on base. Just having the open mind set of seeing who is open in a fast paced game like hockey, has given me that edge I bring to the team.”
Fagnan has made a considerable impact on TCU’s baseball program and will continue to do so until graduation next year. After graduation Fagnan would like to see how far he could go with baseball.
Fagnan says, “I’ve been playing baseball since I was 5-years-old so why stop now.”It is Fagnan’s dream to play professionally and will work hard until he does so. His unique story will always be a part of TCU’s baseball program and will hopefully inspire others to live above the normal stereotype to then pave their own path.