By: Bob Behre
Yet another longtime professional ballplayer with roots in the Diamond Jacks program is returning home to give back to the program as a coach and instructor.
Vin DiFazio, a Pennington School grad and former Diamond Jack made a remarkably determined eight-year climb through minor league and independent league ball before reaching Triple-A Oklahoma City in the Los Angeles Dodgers chain in 2016.
DiFazio, an outstanding catcher and hitter, had a breakout year in 2015 with the St. Paul Saints of the American Association. DiFazio, at the age of 29, batted .361 with 19 doubles, 17 home runs and 82 RBI in just 86 games. He signed a minor league contract with the Dodgers after that huge season and played at both the Double-A and Triple-A levels in 2016.
DiFazio retired after that 2016 season and now will share with Diamond Nation’s clientele the wealth of skills and the grit and determination it took to reach that high level of baseball.
“I love the game of baseball and I’ve known my entire career that, after I was done playing, I would get into coaching to stay around the game as much as possible,” said DiFazio. “I also feel it is time for me to pass on some of the instruction and vital life lessons I’ve learned throughout my journey in the game from coaches and teammates.”
That journey began for DiFazio with the Diamond Jacks and Pennington School before baseball took him to the University of Connecticut (2004-’05), Indian River Community College (2005-’06) and the University of Alabama (2006-’09). He was selected in the 46th round of the 2006 MLB Draft by the Baltimore Orioles before he opted for Alabama. He was then selected in the 12th round of the 2009 Draft by the Texas Rangers.
DiFazio played in the Texas chain 2009-’13, never making it past High-A ball. But he never gave up his dream and put together a strong run in Independent League ball, strong enough to catch the Dodgers’ attention.
“I feel I bring a lot to Diamond Nation as an instructor because I was able to have a successful career as a player and was blessed enough to play the game at almost every level, after starting right where most of the players I will coach are right now,” said DiFazio. “If it wasn’t for the foundation and instruction that coaches and instructors gave me at an early age, I would have never been able to play for as long as I have.”
There is nothing better than seeing one of our own return to Diamond Nation and give back as a coach and instructor. Diamond Nation welcomes Vin DiFazio home. Vin will be specializing in catching and hitting instruction. To schedule a lesson with DiFazio, call 908-284-1778.