“Knowledgeable…focused…determined…caring”. Those are four words St. John’s pitcher Nick Cenatiempo would use to describe head coach of St. John’s baseball, Ed Blankmeyer.
Blankmeyer, entering his eleventh season in the school’s trademark red and white uniform, has secured his place next to Lou Carnesecca as one of best coaches in school history. After capturing 317 victories, a few Big East titles, some personal accolades and sending a good amount of his own guys to the ‘Show, it’s clear that this man just knows his baseball.
How does he do it so well? He has a fairly simple philosophy that most brilliant baseball minds would agree with.
“You build your team around pitching and defense,” said Blankmeyer of his blueprint for a competitive ballclub. “You want to have that at any level. Especially at our level, those are the ingredients for any successful team.”
Blankmeyer elaborated on his main goals as the leader of the Storm Baseball program.”An NCAA Championship: that’s what drives you. You want to try to get to the College World Series and win a national title.” Blankmeyer came pretty darn close in 2005, winning a school record 41 games in 59 tries.
Blankmeyer’s students have no problem drinking his ‘Kool-Aid’ and buying into his system.
“He’s a great coach,” said outfielder Chris Anninos. “He definitely knows what it takes to win and wants the best for his players.
He has high expectations of us as well.”
Winning has never been much of a problem for Blankmeyer since he took over. In fact, he’s won at least 29 games in eight different seasons.
Just like many other coaches, Blankmeyer played a bit of hardball in his younger days. He claimed his childhood idol was Mickey Mantle, but his style of play differed a bit from the ‘Mick. He compared his game to one of his own future stud players – Craig Biggio.
“I was a scrappy type of player. I’d get on base [and] steal a base. I played that style.”
He’s coached nearly 80 players who went on to play professional baseball. He mentioned Biggio as one of the best he’s ever seen.Although it’s been smooth sailing for most of Blankmeyer’s coaching career, he claims there was a bit of adversity he had to overcome.
“We lost 7 in a row at the beginning of last season. We had some high expectations. To recover from the [slow start] and win the most conference games ever says something.” The Skipper believes coaching collegiate baseball is more than just a job. He considers it a passion.
“The fun part is being around great kids and having an opportunity to aid in their development. [It’s great] to get a chance with kids who love baseball and want to compete at a high level. It’s fun going to work with guys like that”
If he ever got a shot at managing in the Major Leagues, he’d want to keep it pretty local. “I’d like to manage either the Mets or the Yankees, as a New York fan,” Blankmeyer said.
When asked what player he’d like to build his organization around, his answer was not too shocking.
“The best player in the game is Derek Jeter. He’s not a numbers guy but he’s just a winner.”
It’s no surprise coach Blankmeyer lists ‘The Natural’ as his favorite baseball flick, because he’s certainly a ‘natural’ at calling the shots on the Queens diamond.