MUSCATINE, Iowa–As the last few Major League Baseball teams compete for spots in the World Series, baseball fans across the country look back on a year full of ups and downs for their favorite teams and athletes. Though less well known than Major or Minor League Baseball, independent professional baseball leagues across the country have wrapped up their seasons as well. Independent professional baseball brings outstanding baseball talent to cities without a major or minor league team. This year, Muscatine native Duncan Snider played his first year of independent professional baseball, racking up accomplishments for himself and his team.
Snider fell in love with baseball even before he went to school. Inspired by watching his older brother’s games, he started learning the basics of baseball from his dad and went on to play on a team for the first time between the ages of six and seven. Snider continued to play baseball as he grew up, eventually pitching for the Muskies in high school. After having a successful high school career and graduating, Snider attended Marshalltown Community College for two years and played baseball there as well before transferring to Upper Iowa University, where he also played for another three years. After graduating with his bachelors degree in accounting, Snider began working on his masters degree in business administration at Upper Iowa University as well.
Though he may have finished college, Snider knew he had not finished his baseball career. This spring, he took his next step by traveling to Tucson, Arizona to play for the Tucson Saguaros, a Pecos League independent professional team that competes throughout the southwestern part of the United States. The equivalent of rookie ball, Snider spent May through June playing against both new and veteran independent professional players, gaining valuable experience. In the end, the Saguaros won the Pecos League Championship, the league’s equivalent to the World Series.
When the Saguaros’ season ended, Snider got the opportunity to keep playing by joining the Houston Apollos. A more advanced team in the American Association, similar to a double A team in the minor leagues, Snider got the chance to travel further afield and continue to hone his pitching skills.
Overall, Snider valued the chance to continue his baseball career at the independent professional level. “It was a pretty good experience,” he remarked. “I got to travel a lot,” he noted, adding, “it was a great experience to play a lot of high level ball.”
Though the independent professional baseball season may have ended for this year, Snider hopes to return to it next year and already has plans to attend spring training. “My manger in Tucson, Sean McNeile, gave me a call to come down to spring training and try out for the team,” he reported.
For the next nine months, Snider will return to Muscatine. While back in his hometown, Snider will work for the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine. He will also continue to work on his masters degree.