One Win Wonders: Ryan Garton

by Bill Hickman

Ryan Garton is an example of when a boy grows up rooting for his hometown big-league team and dreaming of one day playing for it, and then, with the benefit of hard work, talent, and some good fortune, sees that dream come to fruition. This is Ryan Garton’s story.

Ryan was born on December 5, 1989 in Clearwater, Florida to parents Ed and Lori Garton. Ed Garton had played minor-league baseball for one year as a third baseman on the Little Falls Mets in the New York-Pennsylvania League. After Ed’s playing career was over, he continued in baseball as a Little League coach, including coaching his own two sons. Lori had played field hockey. Ryan’s aunt, Flo Massero, Lori’s sister, was the women’s tennis and weightlifting coach at Ryan’s high school his freshman year.[i] Flo had helped raise Ryan while his mother was working.  Eddie, Ryan’s older brother, played baseball in high school.[ii] When Ryan was little, he always had to come along when his parents took Eddie to the baseball park.[iii] It came as no surprise when Ryan joined the rest of the family in participating in sports.

Ryan’s baseball playing began at the T-ball stage. As he grew, he became a Little League player. In those days, he was a catcher, though he played several other positions as well, including pitching. One year his team came close to capturing the local championship, but a bungled play in the ninth did them in. Later in his career, he got to enjoy being on numerous teams that took the championships.

To aid in his baseball development, he also played in American Athletic Union (AAU) baseball and travel ball.  And then it was on to high school, where he began to make his mark.

His school was J. W. Mitchell High School in New Port Richey, where he played soccer, football, and baseball. He made the varsity football team as a wide receiver.  “I could take a hit,” he said, “but I didn’t particularly like hitting the other guy.”[iv] So baseball was his destiny.

He was on the Mitchell Mustangs varsity team all four years. During that span, he was under three different coaches. Under coach Phil Bell his freshman year, he made the all-conference team as a third-baseman and pitched as well.[v] He was also honorable mention all-county.[vi] In his sophomore year, he became a steady starting pitcher under coach Scott Williams and pitched to a 3.36 ERA. The team had moved into a more competitive district and its won-lost record worsened. Ryan’s batting average dropped off that year. Prior to his junior year of baseball play, he suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder and had arthroscopic surgery. As a consequence, he only started one game that season. Nevertheless, he managed to play the infield and hit .289 with nine doubles and 13 RBIs.  As he advanced into his senior year, a new coach, Scot Wilcox, came into the picture. Wilcox was a younger man than the previous coach, and seemed to mesh well with the players. The team came together well, and had a winning season. Ryan pitched to a sensational 1.55 ERA and set the stage for his advancement to the college level.[vii]  He had a teammate, Patrick Schuster, who also eventually became a major-league pitcher.  Ryan met up with Patrick again in the minor leagues and remain friends with him back home, joining him on outings in the offseason.[viii]

An interview with a Mitchell High School teammate revealed some of Ryan’s characteristics as a high school player.  Scott Lane, who had also been a pitcher, indicated that Ryan was probably the most competitive person he had ever encountered. No matter what the sport or game, Ryan was always determined to win.  If Ryan noticed that a teammate was not giving his full effort, Ryan would get on him and insist that he do his best.[ix]

In considering where he wanted to attend college, Ryan had set his sights on a Division I school in Florida.  He attended a college showcase where he met Brad Frick, the assistant baseball coach at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Frick urged Ryan to attend a second showcase hosted by FAU. At that second showcase, Ryan had the opportunity to meet FAU head coach John “Mac” McCormack and impress him. By the end of that showcase, Mac had indicated that a pitching slot would be available on the FAU baseball team for Ryan.[x] However, Ryan still had thoughts of becoming a position player. McCormack said,  “We liked him as a pitcher, not as a position player. He was good.” With some stubbornness, Ryan became a walk-on as a position player without a baseball scholarship. “We kept telling him he has to pitch,” McCormack emphasized.[xi]

Ryan’s freshman year of baseball with FAU was a struggle. His record was 0-1 with a 6.95 ERA. He attributes it to the huge transition of being away from home and adjusting to college life. After that 2009 season, he played summer college ball with the Maryland Redbirds of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. The tug-of-war between position playing and pitching continued that summer. Coach Mac was in communication with the Redbirds and insisted that Ryan be given more mound experience, and he did well at it.[xii] As a position player, Ryan hit .273 in 11 at-bats in 6 games. As a hurler, he went 2-2 with one save in 10 appearances, pitching to a 1.95 ERA. Two appearances were as a starter.[xiii] Back at FAU in 2010, he went 7-3 with a 4.97 ERA.[xiv] By the end of that season, he had become the ace of the FAU staff. How did he get to that level? Coach Mac explained: “He had an above average breaking ball and a certain toughness. He had a good relationship with his pitching coach.“[xv] Clearly, he was learning and improving.

That summer, Ryan played for the Columbia Blowfish of the collegiate Coastal Plain League. He was 0-2 with a 1.85 ERA in six games, all of them as a starter.[xvi] Shortly before the 2011 season began at FAU, his aunt Flo died suddenly from a heart attack. This left Ryan shaken and distracted as he entered the season. He was still the leading FAU hurler, but his record took a downturn to 5-4 with a 5.17 ERA.[xvii]

Following that season, Ryan pitched summer ball once again, this time with the Bethesda Big Train, named after Walter Johnson, of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League. He was housed with his college roommate, Hugh Adams, and Hugh’s parents, Bruce Adams and Peggy Engel.  Ryan credits Bruce and Peggy for putting him at ease and helping him to have a fine summer of baseball, restoring his prowess on the mound. His Big Train manager, Sal Colangelo, said Ryan was blessed with a power arm and came in with great potential, but his pitching wasn’t as polished as it could be. Ryan worked with Big Train pitching coach, Bill Sizemore, but Colangelo gives great credit to Ryan himself.[xviii] Ryan made five appearances, a starter in all five, and pitched to a 1.90 ERA. He struck out 20 in 19 innings pitched, while walking only five.[xix] After Bruce Adams observed Ryan in most of his games that summer, and also followed his career as it progressed, Bruce remarked: “Ryan isn’t your prototype 6’5” 230 pound major league pitcher. He got there with grit and hard work”[xx] His Big Train team was absolutely dominant and became ranked #1 in the nation among summer collegiate baseball teams by Perfect Game USA.[xxi] Among his Big Train teammates were future major leaguers Hunter Renfroe and Matt Bowman. In discussing Ryan’s summer with Big Train, Coach Mac commented: “It was an important step and really good atmosphere for him. He was surrounded by good players. The more he was on the mound, the more confidence he gained as a pitcher.”[xxii]

In his senior year at FAU, Ryan really caught fire. He became the dominant ace of the staff and registered a 9-3 mark with a 3.10 ERA.[xxiii] He helped lead the Owls to the Sun Belt Conference regular season title.[xxiv]  He was named the league’s pitcher of the year.[xxv]

Once he graduated from college, Ryan felt the pressure to get drafted by a major-league franchise. The three-day period of the draft was one of the longest waiting periods he had ever been through.  He had spent a lifetime working towards a career in baseball, and began wondering, “What do I do if it doesn’t happen and I don‘t get drafted?”  When the phone call finally came, and he was selected in the 34th round, it is a feeling of absolute relief. Only after a little while did the reality set in that the choosing organization was the Tampa Bay Rays, his favorite team. He was signed by scout Evan Brannon, another Florida Atlantic alum. [xxvi]

Garton said at the time, “It’s still kind of crazy to me. For the past 22 years, it seemed like all I’ve done is play baseball for AAU or Little League or high school or college. Now I’m going to play baseball as a job. It’s crazy to think that, and it’s still sinking in a bit, but I can’t wait.”He added, noting it was the Rays who had selected him, “I definitely wished upon it. I grew up watching the Rays and going to games and it’s always been my favorite team to watch. It’s a dream come true.”[xxvii]  

Coach Scot Wilcox commented on Ryan’s being selected in the draft. “He was just returning to the mound after dealing with an injury early in his high school career. He came in throwing in his upper 80s, but he did a great job for us. He deserves it (being drafted). He had a live arm and worked harder than anyone else on the team.”[xxviii]

Garton had been a starting pitcher throughout his high school and college careers. As soon as he entered the Rays’ minor-league system, he was transformed into a reliever, because he was now facing a new level of competition and the Rays had an ample supply of starters. “As a 34th round draft pick, I’m behind a lot of good arms. I came to realize that I was a roster filler.”[xxix]

He made the most of his opportunity. He started with the Hudson Valley Renegades in the Low-A New York-Pennsylvania League. His record that year was 4-0 with seven saves and a 2.00 ERA. He pitched in the playoffs that year, hurling 2 1/3 innings with a 0.00 ERA. His team won the playoffs. His record earned him a promotion to the next level.

In 2013, he pitched for the Single-A Bowling Green Hot Rods in the Midwest League. He racked up another impressive record. This time it was 4-3 with eight saves and a 2.44 ERA.

In 2014, he was with the High-A Charlotte Stone Crabs of the Florida State League. Here he pitched to a 6-2 record with four saves and a 3.07 ERA.

In 2015, Garton joined the AAA Montgomery Biscuits of the Southern League, and was 6-1 with a 2.95 ERA. His strikeout rate increased, with70 Ks in 61 innings pitched. There was no accident to this improvement. When he was at Charlotte, his velocity had dropped off into the high 80s. He was placed into a special arm strength program that had been launched by the Rays. The program involved throwing weighted balls at varying distances. “That turned around my career,“ he said.[xxx] After going through the program, his velocity was back up into the 90’s. He would be promoted once again for the following season.

Garton began the 2016 season with the AAA Durham Bulls of the International League. His full-year record for the Bulls was 4-0 with two saves and a 3.09 ERA in 22 appearances. He struck out 39 batters in 32 innings pitched. After a couple of months with the Bulls, he got the call to the majors. He was in Toledo when he received the news from Durham manager Jared Sandberg. “It was crazy,” he said. “I was feeling well. And then it was a dream come true. I was just a guy that did my job.”[xxxi] His opportunity had come because Steve Pearce, who had been enjoying a great season with the Rays and had been hitting .322, needed to go onto the DL, and the Rays decided they required another arm in an overtaxed bullpen.[xxxii] Garton joined the Rays on May 25 and made his major-league debut the following day, May 26.[xxxiii]  At Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg against the Miami Marlins, the Rays had fallen behind 5-1 over the first six innings, tossed by Drew Smyly. Garton’s debut was not stellar. He gave up six hits and three earned runs, but he hung on for two innings and could now identify as being a major leaguer.  His family and friends rejoiced along with him. About 20 to 30 of them had attended the game. They all gathered afterwards with Ryan to celebrate.[xxxiv]

Tyler Clippard posted on the Twitter page of Coach Scot Wilcox that he was happy to see that Ryan had made it to the major leagues. Tyler was the first Mitchell High School grad to make the big leagues and now Ryan had become the second. Ryan’s brother Eddie was Tyler’s classmate and Ryan had known Tyler for most of his life. The two later became major-league teammates in the Minnesota Twins’ training camp in 2020.

For the remainder of 2016, Gartonrode the elevator between the Rays and Durham.  When he was called back to the Rays in September, it was his fourth stint of the year with them.[xxxv] His record with Tampa Bay for the year was 1-2 with one save and a 4.35 ERA in 37 appearances. He pitched in 39 1/3 innings, which proved the season high for his major-league career. This is merely an overview of that year with the Rays.  Let’s look at his performance trend within the year and some individual games of note.

The jitters of his debut on May 26 had left him with an ERA of 13.50 to start the following day. With resolve, he returned to the mound on May 30 against the Kansas City Royals, allowed no earned runs, and began to drive his ERA on a steadily downward path until it reached a season’s low of 2.53 on June 27 against the Boston Red Sox. The ERA blew up a bit once again on June 30 when he faced the Detroit Tigers, but he had it under reasonable control for the remainder of the season.

On June 14, Flag Day, Ryan registered the one win of his major-league career. The game was at Tropicana. The Mariners led 5-4 after six innings. Dana Eveland started the seventh hurling for the Rays. The Mariners used the top of the seventh to pad their lead. Robinson Cano led off with a single to center. Nelson Cruz followed with his own single, this one going to right field, and sending Cano only to second. Rays right fielder Steve Souza had made a diving attempt to catch Cruz’ hit, and the result was an injury. Souza left the game with left hip soreness and was replaced by Taylor Motter.[xxxvi]Kyle Seager walked, loading the bases. The Mariners gained a run when first baseman Adam Lind hit a sacrifice fly to right, bringing in Cano and advancing Cruz to third. Manager Kevin Cash decided to bring in Garton at this point. Seager stole second. Chris Iannetta walked, so now the bases were loaded again. Garton got the next batter, Nori Aoki, to hit an infield grounder. It went from short to first. Aoki was out, for the second out of the inning, but Cruz scored and the other two runners moved up. The run was charged to Eveland. The next batter was Ketel Marte, who grounded out to finish the inning. Garton had thrown his final pitch in the game, and the Rays were behind 7-4.

The bottom of the seventh did not begin with any hint of what was to follow. Rays center fielder Desmond Jennings led off and faced a newly-entered pitcher, Nick Vincent. Jennings flied out to right. Catcher Curt Casali singled to left. Second baseman Logan Forsythe struck out for the second out. The situation still didn’t look promising for the Rays. But shortstop Brad Miller walked, placing a second man on base. Then Evan Longoria stepped to the plate.  It was time for another big moment, and Longoria drove one out of the park, tying the game.  Mike Montgomery replaced Vincent on the mound. The Rays’ rally continued with Logan Morrison taking a base on balls, followed by Steve Pearce’s doing the same. Corey Dickerson drove in his third run of the game with a single, as Morrison scored; however, Dickerson tried to stretch the single into a double and was tagged out at second to end the inning with the Rays leading 8-7.

For the remainder of the game, it was the bullpens finishing it off, and Garton had his first and only major-league win. Looking back on it, he has mixed emotions. “I was hard on myself. It had been my job to go in there and get a ground ball double play, and that didn’t happen. When I got out of the inning, I wasn’t happy. But afterward it was cool. Longo bailed us out. I got a beer shower. It’s crazy what the game can do to you.”[xxxvii]

Two days later, Ryan made what was the second longest appearance of his major-league career. Still facing Seattle, he threw for 2 2/3 innings, striking out five batters without being charged any runs. He gave up only two hits -- a single and a double. He had entered in the fourth inning with the bases loaded and one out. He struck out the first batter, Nelson Cruz. Dae-ho Lee doubled, driving in two inherited runners. Kyle Seager was given an intentional walk. Garton finished off the inning by striking out Chris Iannetta with the bases loaded. He had a little trouble in the fifth inning, committing a fielding error, but he induced a double play to end the inning. He yielded a single to Cano to start the sixth inning, but knuckled down and retired three straight batters after that. His appearance had seen a rocky start, but was impressive for its remainder.

“Ryan Garton, closer.”[xxxviii] That’s the way the local reporter introduced the account of the game on July 4 when Garton recorded his only major-league save. To this day, that game remains the most memorable in his mind. He retains the game ball, lineup card, and jersey from it.[xxxix]  It was on the Fourth of July holiday at Tropicana Field against the Los Angeles Angels. He entered the game with one out in the ninth, none on, the Rays ahead 4-2. Yunel Escobar gets a base on balls. Garton struck out the great Mike Trout, looking. With two outs, another powerful batter steps to the plate – Albert Pujols. Pujols smacked the ball hard and it landed for a single, but it could have been worse. It hit third-base umpire Mike Estabrook. That prevented it from becoming a double and having the impact of driving in a run. The next batter was Chris Cron, who popped up to first baseman Logan Morrison. The game was over, and the save was in the books.

Kevin Cash commented: “Hopefully, Ryan Garton has a smile ear to ear and doesn’t wipe it off all night.” Garton’s comment at the time: “I was super-excited I did my job. As long as we’re getting the win. That it happened to be a save, too, is awesome.” [xl]  It was a great day, and he went out with his family afterwards to celebrate in his hometown.[xli]

On August 3 he enjoyed an outing of perfect pitching. He set down six batters in a row. This was another game at Tropicana Field, this time against the Kansas City Royals. Jake Odorizzi had shut out the Royals for six innings on two hits. Enny Romero had come in for the seventh to pitch for the Rays, and he, too, shut down the Royals. The Rays led 12-0 as Garton took the mound in the eighth. In that inning he struck out Adalberto Mondesi and Christian Colon. He got Cheslor Cuthbert to ground out. In the ninth, Jarrod Dyson began the inning by lining out to shortstop. Eric Hosmer flied out to left field. Garton fanned Kendrys Morales, and his mission for the day was complete.

On August 16, he played a part in the closing of the noteworthy career of Alex Rodriguez. The game was at Yankee Stadium. A-Rod’s retirement had been announced a few days in advance and 46,500 fans turned out for the occasion. The star responded by hitting a double in the first inning. Ryan had been brought in to pitch the seventh and eighth innings for the Rays. When A-Rod came to bat, there were two out in the seventh and none on. The Rays trailed 6-3. “I didn’t know it was his last at bat,” Garton said. “I threw a cutter and it hit the bottom of the barrel. If I had thrown a fast ball, he would have hit it a mile.”[xlii] The cutter led to a ground-out from deep short to first in the final at-bat of A-Rod’s career.

As the cool Florida breezes of winter begin to fade away, Garton’s hopes for the spring of 2017 are renewed. For the first time he was placed on a major-league spring roster.[xliii] Once the regular season began, however, it was another back-and-forth between the Rays and Durham. He started the season with Durham but was recalled by the Rays on April 22.[xliv] He made only three appearances, pitching to an 11.57 ERA before they returned him to Durham around May 2.[xlv] After having performed well again at AAA, he came back to the Rays around May 25.[xlvi] He appeared in one game for the Rays on May 28, yielding three runs, and was returned to Durham the next day.[xlvii] He bounced back quickly to the Rays and appeared in three games for them, finishing with an ERA of 8.71, and it was back to Durham on approximately June 12.[xlviii]  There was one notable game while he was with the Rays that season.

On June 2, Garton pitched in the longest outing of his career -- three and 2/3 innings pitched. This was against the Mariners at Safeco Field in Seattle. Jake Odorizzi had started the game for the Rays and had fallen behind 8-0. Garton entered the game in the third inning with one out and none on. He got two ground outs to end the inning. In the fourth, he hurled a 1-2-3 inning. In the fifth, he yielded a single to Nelson Cruz and a double to Danny Valencia, but no runs scored. In the sixth, he gave up a single to Ben Gamel, but again he did not surrender any runs. So he shut out the Mariners over that span, and struck out three of the 14 batters he faced. In reflecting on the game, he commented: “You almost don’t want to be part of it (that kind of blow-out game). I had been struggling, which is probably why I was assigned that day. But I came to realize that I saved other pitchers on the team by doing what I did. After the game, Logan Morrison came up to me and said some things that made me feel better.”[xlix]

Then, on August 6, came a big surprise. The Rays traded Garton along with Mike Marjama to the Seattle Mariners for two minor-league prospects and a player to be named later. The two prospects were Anthony Misiewicz and Luis Regifo.[l] He had no hint that this trade was coming, saying, “I was doing a good job, but just not at the right time. I thought of trades happening with the big players, so yes, I was surprised.”[li] It meant picking up and relocating to a major-league city that couldn’t be any farther away from Florida than Seattle is. It also meant starting all over again in building the kinds of relationships he had established throughout the Rays’ system. But there was no choice other than to continue working hard and demonstrate that he could do the job.

With the Rays’ AAA team, Durham, Ryan had posted a 2-0 mark with 4 saves and a 1.64 ERA for the 2017 season. Now he reported to Seattle’s AAA team, the Tacoma Rainiers, in the Pacific Coast League (PCL). The PCL is known as a hitter’s haven and it’s usually tough on pitchers. That proved to be the case with Garton in 2017. He went 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in seven appearances with Tacoma. Nevertheless, when rosters expanded in September, he got the call to join the Mariners. He responded very well, appearing in 13 games and pitching to a 1.54 ERA at the major-league level.

On September 21, he had a particularly fine outing for the Mariners. He hurled two innings, and retired six straight batters. The game was at Safeco Field against the Texas Rangers. The Mariners trailed 4-1 when he was called to pitch the top of the eighth. He struck out Joey Gallo. Carlos Gomez followed with a ground out. Garton ended the inning by fanning Robinson Chirinos. In the ninth, Rougned Odor led off by lining out to the second baseman. Will Middlebrooks hit a liner that was caught in center field. Delino DeShields grounded out. In the bottom of the ninth, the Mariners rallied a little, but the game ended 4-2. Garton had done his part in holding the line and giving his team a chance.

He had had an impressive September with the Mariners, but what the statistics don’t reveal is that he had been pitching in pain. Not long after the season ended, he underwent hip surgery. There was a period when he wasn’t throwing at all, and then he had to go through rehab. So instead of being back with the big-league club in 2018, he was returned to Tacoma, where he went 1-0 with four saves and a 3.16 ERA in 35 appearances.

Garton began 2019 as a non-roster invitee to the Mariners’ spring camp.[lii] It didn’t take him long to see that he was destined for another summer at Tacoma. About March 10, he was reassigned to minor-league camp.[liii] He was called back to the Mariners on May 17.[liv] He was given outings on May 18 and 20 against the Twins and Rangers respectively, both of which proved to be difficult. The May 20 game turned out to be his final major-league game, and he finished the year with a 12.00 ERA for three innings pitched.

He had made 59 appearances in the big leagues using an arsenal consisting of a fast ball, curve, and cutter. The following day he was designated for assignment, and subsequently returned to Tacoma to complete the season.[lv] His record with the Rainiers for 2019 was 4-2 with one save and a 3.99 ERA.  On October 8, the Mariners cut him loose and he had become a free agent. On November 27, he signed with the Minnesota Twins.

Heading into 2020, Garton was facing a period of uncertainty. The country had begun to lock down because of the onset of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. Soon the major-league baseball season was postponed, and there was no minor-league season at all.  So the major-league teams would have a stock of available players to bring up if needed, a number of alternate training sites were established.  

Garton was a non-roster invitee to the Twins’ July training camp, which substituted for what otherwise would have been spring training. He was given a reasonable opportunity to make the big-league club, but he kept issuing too many walks.[lvi] When the season began later in July, Garton was sent to the alternate training site. The Twins released him on September 4.

In 2021, Garton had pain in his right forearm, his pitching hand. He wasn’t sure that he could pitch adequately, but he was still practicing – and coaching – at the Heisler Heat Baseball Academy in Mobile, Alabama.  In July, an opportunity arose in the Mexican League with the Monclova club. A couple of their players were going to be away for two weeks to play in the Olympics, so some roster spots needed to be filled temporarily. This enabled Garton to test his arm at the AAA level on an experimental basis. He pitched in nine innings over eight appearances and registered an ERA of 7.00.  He satisfied himself that the arm problem was too severe and it was time to make the difficult decision to call it a career.[lvii]

Ryan Garton was a winner. It takes more than one player to spur a team to a championship, but it is still worthwhile to note the number of teams on which Garton played that earned pennants.

--His 2010 FAU team won the Sun Belt Conference championship.

--His 2011 Big Train team won the Ripken Collegiate League championship and was ranked #1 summer team in the nation.

--His 2012 FAU team again won the Sun Belt Conference championship.

--His 2012 Hudson Valley Renegades won the New York - Pennsylvania League playoff to win the championship.

--His 2013 Bowling Green Hot Rods won the Eastern Division championship of the Midwest League.

--His 2015 Montgomery Biscuits won the second half title for the Northern Division of the Southern League.

--His 2017 Durham Bulls won the South Division of the International League and AAA National Championship.

People think highly of Ryan Garton. Sal Colangelo, his Big Train coach, expressed it as follows: “He was a quiet, hard working guy who was fun to be around.”[lviii] John “Mac” McCormack, his FAU coach said: “Ryan was extremely loyal to his teammates. He believes in himself, yet he is extremely grateful for everything he has gotten.”[lix]

 As of early 2022, Garton is living in Oxford, Mississippi, with his wife, Christina, who is a strength and conditioning coach at Ole Miss. He works at the Southern Performance Institute, where he gives pitching lessons to a new generation of youngsters who are becoming engaged in the sport of baseball.[lx]

What he had said about his experience in football has been true in his baseball career and life. He could take a hit, rise up, and get back into the game. Resilient, hard-working, and determined. That’s Ryan Garton.


[i] Frank Pastor, “Hudson Hires Massaro,” Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Florida)August 4, 2005: 4.

[ii] Author interview with Ryan Garton, December 7, 2021, hereafter Ryan Garton interview. 

[iii] Author interview with Lori Garton, Ryan’s mother, December 12, 2021.

[iv] Ryan Garton interview.

[v]Tampa Tribune, May 4, 2005: 12.

[vi]Tampa Bay Times, June 12, 2005: Pasco 4.

[viii] Ryan Garton interview.

[ix] Author interview with Captain Scott Lane (fishing boat captain), January 20, 2022.

[x] Ryan Garton interview.

[xi] Author interview with John “Mac” McCormack, FAU baseball coach, December 10, 2021.

[xii] “Mac” McCormack interview.

[xiii] Email to author on December 10, 2021 from Alex Thompson, Independent Director, Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League.

[xv] “Mac” McCormack interview.

[xviii] Author interview with Sal Colangelo, Bethesda Big Train manager, December 11, 2021.

[xix] Author’s records as Big Train team historian.

[xx] Email from Bruce Adams, president and co-founder of Bethesda Big Train, to author on November 29, 2021.

[xxi]Bethesda Big Train 2012 Souvenir Program, 3.

[xxii] “Mac” McCormack interview.

[xxiv] Chad Bishop, “Hilltoppers meet Owls in round 1 tonight,” Park City Daily News (Bowling Green, Kentucky), May 23, 2012: C1.

[xxv] Chad Bishop, “Error costs WKU in tournament,” Park City Daily News, May 24, 2012, C3.

[xxvii] Mike Camunas, “Baseball dream comes true,” Tampa Tribune, June 8, 2012: Pasco 6.

[xxviii] “Baseball dream comes true.”

[xxix] Ryan Garton interview.

[xxx] Mark Topkin, “Garton poster child for unusual program,” Tampa Bay Times, May 29, 2016: C8.

[xxxi] Ryan Garton interview.

[xxxii] Marc Topkin, “Slumping Rays need some help,” Sarasota Herald-Tribune, June 24, 2016: C4.

[xxxiii] Roger Mooney, “Mitchell’s Garton joins hometown club,” Tampa Bay Times, May 26, 2016: C4.

[xxxiv] Lori Garton interview.

[xxxv] Marc Topkin, “Gamboa, specialty pitch ready to debut,” Tampa Bay Times, September 2, 2016: C4.

[xxxvi]Bradenton Herald, June 15, 2016: B3.

[xxxvii] Ryan Garton interview.

[xxxviii] Martin Fennelly, “When your commute to work is a dream come true,” Tampa Bay Times, July 5, 2016: 31.

[xxxix] Ryan Garton interview.

[xl] Fennelly, “When your commute to work is a dream come true.”

[xli] Ryan Garton interview.  

[xlii] Ryan Garton interview.

[xliii]Athlon Sports Baseball 2017, 83.

[xliv] Roger Mooney, “Cedeno looking at long absence,” Tampa Bay Times. April 23, 2017: C7.

[xlv]Palm Beach Post, May 2, 2017: C2.

[xlvi] Dick Scanlon, “Angels fall against Rays, Souza,” Desert Sun (Palm Springs, California), May 25, 2017: C6.

[xlvii]Tampa Bay Times, May 30, 2017: T22.

[xlviii]Indianapolis Star, June 12, 2017: C7.

[xlix] Ryan Garton interview.

[li] Ryan Garton interview.

[lii]News Tribune (Tacoma, Washington), February 11, 2019: B3.

[liii]Independent Record (Helena, Montana), March 11, 2019: B2.

[liv] “Perez silences M’s to join two Twins with six wins,” Spokesman Review (Spokane, Washington), May 18, 2019: B2.

[lv]Statesman Journal (Salem, Oregon), May 22, 2019: B3.

[lvi] Ryan Garton interview.

[lvii] Ryan Garton interview.

[lviii] Sal Colangelo interview.

[lix] “Mac” McCormack interview.

[lx] Ryan Garton interview.