Former pro player graduatesJune 7, 2007
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Roberto Ramirez lives for baseball. But he never looks back on his glory days or wonders what could have been as a professional ball player. Instead, the 36-year-old Ramirez has moved beyond his pro ball career and will graduate from California State University, Bakersfield with his master's degree on Friday.
In 1989, while only a senior in high school in the Dominican Republic, Ramirez was drafted by the San Francisco Giants. Since then he has played for several different major league franchises including the Baltimore Orioles, the Seattle Mariners, and the Oakland Athletics. In 2000, Ramirez was offered a coaching position with the Texas Rangers, but instead chose to attend college and get an education.
"There were two reasons why I chose not to become a coach," Ramirez said. "One reason was the lack of job security. If a team decided on a new coaching staff I could have been out of a job, no questions asked.
"The most important reason I decided to get an education was my wife, Kristen," Ramirez continued. "She pushed me to educate myself, often asking me what I would do if I could no longer play baseball. I couldn't imagine working for $5.75 an hour because I had no skills. So I went back to school."
In 2002, Ramirez graduated from Phoenix College with his associate's degree in criminal justice. "At first, I thought that I wanted to be a police officer or a detective," he said. "I realized when I started attending CSUB that exercise science and physical therapy were the subjects that truly interested me. I eventually want to own my own physical therapy clinic."
He was accepted to CSUB and graduated in 2005 with a bachelor's in exercise science. Ramirez will cross the stage for the third time in June, this time with a master's in business-healthcare administration. Remarkably, Ramirez has earned a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher for all three degrees.
"I am so proud of him because his grade school and high school instruction were only in Spanish," said Ramirez's wife, Kristen. "He had never gone to school with English instruction until 2000."
Ramirez added, "On my first test for introduction to criminal justice, my professor didn't put a grade, only 'see me.' I was so nervous because I had a lot of trouble reading English then." Ramirez said that that particular professor really encouraged him and he ended up with an 'A' for the semester.
In addition to his wife, Ramirez's family includes two young boys, one in third grade and the other in seventh grade. To support his family financially while attending CSUB, Ramirez hosts a private baseball clinic. "This job allows me to make my own schedule, which allowed me to take the classes I needed when they were offered," Ramirez said.
Ramirez has a great desire to learn, and his next step is to get his teaching credential in Spanish with a health science supplement. Ramirez is delighted that CSUB has a new baseball team and is hoping for an opportunity to join the coaching staff while teaching health science at CSUB.