Joey Falcone '15: Combat Medic to the New York Yankees

Joey Falcone '15: Combat Medic to the New York Yankees

Joey Falcone '15 Columbia University Baseball Card

Ivy League baseball champion Joey Falcone knows firsthand how it feels to succeed thanks to hard work. At 17 years old, after graduating from Bolton High School in Alexandria, La., Falcone enlisted in the military, believing it was the best option for his future. He had lost interest in academics, and, though he loved playing baseball as the school’s right fielder, he had not distinguished himself enough to gain the attention of any college teams.

In the military, Falcone was a Marine Corps combat medic, and he served tours of duty in Iraq in 2007 and 2008 and in Afghanistan in 2009. “It was nasty business,” he said about his experience as a medic. “You see stuff you don’t want to exist.” After six years in the military, Falcone was discharged and again stood at a crossroads, deciding his next path in life. He arrived at two answers: go to college and play baseball. Falcone’s love of the game began at a young age. His father, Peter Falcone, played in the major leagues for ten years, pitching for the Giants, Mets, Cardinals, and Braves, and passed his affinity for baseball on to his son. Falcone said his passion for the national pastime grew stronger toward the end of his military service. “My desire to play and give it a shot never left me,” he said.
 
Having underperformed academically in high school, he had difficulty finding a college baseball team that would recruit him. So, looking to strengthen his portfolio, Falcone enrolled at College of Staten Island where he could play baseball while improving his grades. His plan worked. At Staten Island, he bolstered his grades and his game, and eventually he applied to and was accepted to GS.
 
He matriculated in spring 2012. During his first semester, Falcone approached the Lions’ head coach Brett Boretti about joining the Columbia baseball team. Boretti’s decision to add Falcone’s bat paid dividends. The next season, he helped the Lions win their second Ivy League championship in six years, and he was voted to the All-Ivy second team. During his career as an outfielder and designated hitter for Columbia, Falcone helped lead the team to three consecutive Ivy League titles and a strong showing in the 2015 NCAA tournament. In 2015 he was a unanimous choice for the All-Ivy first team, and was also named second-team All-America—the first Columbia player to receive that honor since 1984.
 
Meanwhile, off the field, Falcone applied his military training, balancing the demands of Columbia’s academic workload and his athletic schedule to graduate with a degree in history. In early summer 2015, soon after graduating, Falcone signed a minor-league contract with the New York Yankees, with whom he will pursue his goal of playing professional baseball.