How One Psychologist Didn’t Let the Fear of Striking Out Hold Him Back

This content originally appeared in Saybrook University’s UNBOUND Magazine, by Shamontiel Vaughn

As with any professional sport, an athlete in his 30s usually starts looking for other jobs because he knows his time is limited. In Patterson’s case, his baseball career ended early due to sports injuries—a torn rotator cuff, supraspinatus tendinitis, knee surgery, and back surgery.
“I couldn’t throw at all, but fortunately I could hit so I was still able to play in high school and I still played semi-professionally,” says Patterson, who played during the late ‘70s and ‘80s. “I think I played my last semi pro-game in 1989.”
But by that time he’d already shied away from putting all his eggs in one basket. Patterson became a school psychologist in 1984, was a part-time scout for the Major League Scouting Bureau (MLSB) for the next five years, and then a scout part-time for the Texas Rangers, while working on his doctorate degree at Saybrook.
“I knew that my baseball days had passed,” Patterson says. “You hear people call that Cubs player Grandpa Rossy, and he’s only 39. After baseball, I had to figure out what was I going to do. My bachelor’s degree was in psychology and pre-dentistry from the University of Illinois. My parents always stressed to me to have a good education as a backup plan in case I was injured. And Saybrook had the humanistic, holistic approach that fit my needs and that I strongly believe in.”