Former Major League Baseball player and recent Stanford Cardinal assistant coach, Ryan Garko, will be leaving the university and baseball as a whole in order to pursue a career that will allow Garko to spend more time with his his wife and two children.
During the 2014 baseball season, Garko served as Stanford’s first base coach and helped provide guidance for the Cardinal’s hitters. Even in his one season at the school, Garko’s presence and experience played a significant role for the program’s success. Last season, the Cardinal was first in the Pac-12 in slugging percentage (.388), first in home runs (36), first in total bases (795), tied for first in sacrifice flies (29), second in hits (555), and third in doubles (94). In 2014, the Cardinal posted an overall record of 35-26, a conference record of 16-14, defeated the no. 4 national seed Indiana Hoosiers in the Bloomington Regional, and lost to the eventual national champion Vanderbilt Commodores in three games in the Nashville Super Regional.
Over the course of Garko’s career as a Major League player, the Stanford alumnus played for the Cleveland Indians (2005-2009), San Francisco Giants (2009), and Texas Rangers (2010). In 463 career Major League games, Garko had a batting average of .275, hit 55 home runs, and batted in 250 runs. As a catcher at Stanford, Garko had a batting average of .350, hit 39 home runs, and batted in 191 runs over 218 collegiate games. As a senior, Garko won the Johnny Bench Award given to the best catcher in college baseball and earned a share of the Pac-10 player of the year award with Arizona State’s Dustin Pedroia.
In addition, the Cardinal qualified for the College World Series in each of Garko’s four years as a student-athlete at the school under current head coach Mark Marquess. Despite three runner-up finishes and one third place finish in his four seasons, Garko hit for a .583 batting average throughout the games he played in Omaha at the CWS and as a result, Garko was named to the CWS All-Tournament teams in 2001 and 2003, and was later named to the CWS Legends Team along with 27 of the top CWS alumni.