PLYMOUTH — He went out on top but it took some time to get there.
Plymouth grad and baseball stand out Eric Teall called it quits on a short pro career for something more important than baseball. Family.
"I met my wife and I didn't want to spend the rest of my life kicking around the minor leagues living paycheck to paycheck," said Teall. "I had the right woman and I needed to grow up. I just decided to get out."
Teal spent two years in the independent Class A Frontier League with the Chillicothe Paints as a relief pitcher. He made the league all-star team both seasons and was runner up for the "Closer of the Year" his second season, and then retired from the game.
The road there wasn't all that easy.
"I went to a tryout originally," he said. "I got there and I don't think that I had my best day and the coach told me that he didn't think that they could do anything with me."
"They had a group of tryouts later and there was one that was free so I went," said Teall. "My dad told me I was crazy but I went anyway and the tryout was eight hours long and I was the last pitcher to throw. I wasn't a big velocity guy, I mean I was around 85 or so but by that time I had learned my changeup and that was my bread and butter."
"The tryout got over they say they are going to offer eight guys a contract and they name eight guys and say 'We need to talk to Eric Teall,' and that didn't sound good," he said. "They told me that they were going to release another guys contract and they wanted me to come to Chillicothe to take his place. I became one of their relief pitchers."
It was there that he had a chance to match up against a former Plymouth teammate, Josh Dietz who was a member of the Gateway Grizzlies in the league.
"It was really great to have that chance against one of your good friends. They came to Chillicothe and he wasn't in the lineup," said Teall. "I came in late and I know he talked the manager into letting him get an at-bat against me. I left a fastball up in the zone and he swung as hard as I've ever seen him swing and I'm lucky that somehow he missed it. I decided I was throwing him nothing but changeups after that. I don't think he liked me too much."
Even the road to Class A was a climb for Teall. His ride through college saw some ups but a lot of downs.
"First of all I wasn't the greatest student in the world," he said. "School was always tough for me and that was a struggle. I went to Vincennes first and nothing there was really what I was led to believe it was going to be so I came back home."
"I decided to go to Goshen and it was a great two years there," he said. "We had a great team, it was a good situation but then the head coach decided to leave for another job. I wasn't sure about things at that point and I was talking to Zach (Scott, a Plymouth teammate). He was at Manchester and he said 'why don't you come here?'. They had just gone to the (Division III) World Series and so I did. It was good."
Along with the classroom, there was something else that made college a challenge.
"You're on your own, that's hard, it's a tough adjustment," said Teall. "And you don't have family around as much as you want. We've always been very close and not having those people who are important around you all the time is tough."
It's family and close relationships that have been the story of Teall's life. Newly married and out of baseball he had success in sales in Indianapolis.
"I had some jobs that I really didn't have the experience for but I like people and building relationships is really the most important thing," said Teall. "After a while, I realized I really wanted to get home to Plymouth. My wife is from the area and she was feeling the same thing."
Coming back to Plymouth Teall has had some great opportunities again.
"I got a job with the Oliver family (Oliver Ford) and I can't possibly say enough about them and how much I appreciate them giving me an opportunity," he said. "Working for them was great. It was a great time for me and a great way to come home."
Another opportunity came while he was there.
"Mindy Overmyer at First Source Bank came to me and we got to talking and she offered me a job," said Teall. "I'm the Relationship Manager for the bank. It's my job to get with all our clients and be sure that we are meeting all their needs and that they are happy with us. It's kind of perfect for me."
"I really didn't have any real experience at it," he said. "But it's exactly what I believe in. Making relationships with people and making them happy."
It is part of Eric's philosophy of life.
"I firmly believe that if you treat people right and are honest with them you are going to build those relationships. To me that's everything."