Daryl Maday puts the finishing touches on a turkey he completed at Back Country Taxidermy Studio, where he serves as part owner (Jason Arndt/The Report).

Local man receives enlightenment on minor league journey

By Jason Arndt
Editor

Like everyone else entering professional baseball, Daryl Maday wanted to reach the Major League level when the San Francisco Giants drafted him in 2006.

However, reaching that goal is a daunting task consisting of 15-hour bus rides, red-eye flights and passing through each level of affiliated baseball.

Maday, 32, the winning pitcher in the state quarterfinal for Westosha Central, which won the title in 2002, spent seven seasons trying to make that leap.

Although Maday, who grew up in Bristol, did not meet the goal like thousands of other players, he ended his career with a new outlook on life and has no regrets.

“Being part of a group that even gets a chance to pursue their baseball dreams through professional baseball is a blessing, it truly is,” he said. “But it is not easy. Does playing professional baseball for a living seem awesome? Yes it is. But it’s more than that.”

Daryl Maday, a 2003 Westosha Central High School graduate, played seven seasons in the San Francisco Giants minor league system.

From the start
Coming off his senior season at Westosha Central, the Milwaukee Brewers selected Maday in the 43rd round. But he opted to attend the University of Arkansas.

“It was an easy decision to attend college and be a Razorback; their program and facilities were and still are among the best in the country,” he said.

In 2006, he received the call from the Giants, who selected him with their 30th round pick.

Through his seven seasons, Maday’s journey took him to Salem, Ore.; Norwich, Conn.; San Jose, Calif.; Augusta, Ga.; Richmond, Va.; and Fresno, Calif.

“I don’t think you ever know what to expect entering professional baseball,” he said. “Obviously, the end goal is to make it to the major leagues and play as long as possible.

“I came up short, but those seven years with the Giants family were incredible.”

He said the incredible experiences included having future Major League Baseball players Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner as teammates.

When he arrived to Fresno in 2010, playing there for parts of the next three years, Maday was one promotion away from achieving his goal.

“I’ve had my fair share of opportunities to make it to the big leagues,” said Maday, who put the daunting task in perspective.

“The reality is that there are new guys every year fighting for the same jobs and the same positions.”

As players grow older, their window of opportunity diminishes, considering teams draft about 50 players annually.

Among the 51 players the Giants picked in 2006, just seven played at least one MLB game.

Tim Lincecum, a four-time All-Star and the team’s first-round pick, is the only player of the seven still active.

Going International
After seven years with the Giants, Maday wasn’t sure what was next until he learned of an opportunity to play in the Venezuelan Winter League in 2013-14.

Playing in Venezuela, where national reports note the country is dealing with an economic crisis worse than the Great Depression in the United States during the 1930s, brought him enlightenment.

“Playing baseball internationally allowed me to see baseball was more than just America’s Pastime,” he said. “It’s a way of life, it’s a way to stand out and it’s a way to get out of negative circumstances like in Venezuela.”

In spite of the circumstances, Maday said Venezuela was a beautiful country with a passionate fan base, which gave him a new appreciation for life in the United States.

“It’s beautiful country with passionate fans, but it made me definitely appreciate all the normal, everyday freedoms and luxuries that we have in the U.S.”

His next stop was South Korea, where he tossed a no-hitter against a military team and later served as coach.

“Korea was a place that I truly enjoyed,” he said. “I never would have even thought to visit it if it weren’t for baseball. Their fan base is on a whole other level. Both experiences made me grow as a baseball player and as a person.”

Hanging them up
As he approached his 30s, and with a throwing arm that had lost some zip, Maday returned to Western Kenosha County to start a family and pursue a new career.

Maday, who married his girlfriend from high school, Julie, is the father of 2-year-old Wyatt and has another child on the way.

“My family is here, my friends are here,” he said. “Home is home. Kenosha County is where I’m from. My wife and I have a house, a son and another son on the way.”

Maday, whose parents, Steve and Alice, still live in Bristol, also has a brother, Steve Jr., 37, and sister, Holly, 34.

If not for his parents and supportive wife, Maday’s minor league journey would have been tougher.

Struggles include some financial shortcomings, which became a national topic of discussion with reports stating most minor league players earn a salary below minimum wage.

Starting wage, according to several sources, could be as low as $1,100 a month for a five-month season.

“It’s a financial and a mental struggle; luckily I had such an amazing support group,” Maday said.

Maday said his wife offered continuous support during his pursuit of reaching The Show.

“The patience it took to be her, it’s indescribable.”

While the Madays started a family of their own, he transitioned into a new career as part owner of Back Country Taxidermy Studio in Paddock Lake.

“It’s less than five miles from where I grew up and less than a mile from Westosha Central,” he said. “Life is good. I can’t wait to watch my boys grow up and make their own paths in Southeast Wisconsin.”

However, baseball is still a part of his life; he serves as pitching director for Puma Baseball Academy in Kenosha.

“It’s been fun getting back in the game on the instruction side,” he said. “Now I just try to pass on the things that I learned through my experiences.”

 
 

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