One of the newest hires at Scotland County Schools had the chance to live his dream of being a professional baseball player, an experience that very few can claim.
But after three seasons in the St. Louis Cardinals’ minor-league circuit, the dream of SCS Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources Cory Satterfield ended abruptly due to an arm injury and several other factors.
Fortunately for Satterfield, he had a college degree and a passion for teaching to rely upon. And reflecting back on his playing days, Satterfield believes that it’s crucial for all aspiring professional athletes to have a ‘plan B’ in case the unexpected happens.
“My final season in baseball I was the only player in my locker room with a college education,” said Satterfield, who achieved a degree in Physical Education from Campbell University, where he played the entirety of his college career. “Kids want to grow up to be professional athletes, and it’s great to dream big. But there’s such a small percentage of kids that actually make it to the big leagues, so it’s important that kids have a plan B.”
A New Jersey native, Satterfield was a standout prospect from Willingboro High School, the same school that saw future Olympians Carl and Carol Lewis get their athletic start. Evelyn, mother of the Lewis siblings (and a former Olympian herself) was also the physical education teacher for Satterfield during his time there.
Splitting time between pitching and shortstop, Satterfield earned a baseball scholarship from Campbell University, where he was coached by Cal Koonce who was a pitcher for the 1969 New York “Miracle” Mets team that won the World Series that year.
After four years as a member of the Fighting Camels, the Satterfield was selected in the 26th round of the 1988 Major League Baseball (MLB) June amateur draft He would remain in the league until the summer of 1991.
“My daughter found my baseball card and said it was worth about $2.95,” said Satterfield with a laugh. “I told her that it looks like your dad is worth something!”
Satterfield enjoyed his best professional season in 1989 as a member of the Springfield Cardinals single-A organization in the Midwest League. A member of the starting rotation that year, Satterfield compiled a 15-8 record with a 2.87 ERA and 113 strikeouts.
But playing for the St. Petersburg Cardinals one season later, a series of frustrating occurrences soured Satterfield to professional baseball.
“It was the last day of spring training when several triple-A players were bumped down to the AA squad that i was playing on at the time,” Satterfield said. “I got bumped down to single-A again where I became the fifth starting pitcher in the rotation. I didn’t get off to a good start and was sent to the bullpen a couple weeks later, and after that I kind of fizzled out.”
Shortly after his demotion, Satterfield suffered a shoulder injury in the summer of 1991 that made him contemplate his future in the sport that he grew up loving. And at age 25, Satterfield made the agonizing decision to quit the game of baseball.
“It was the toughest decision I ever had to make,” Satterfield said. “But I thought to myself that I had an education, a wife and a desire to do something with myself. I had a calling to begin an educational career, and in hindsight it turned out to be the best decision I ever made.”
Being a member of a professional baseball team, Satterfield had the opportunity to work with kids and at several baseball camps during his three-year career. Those experiences would stick with Satterfield and ultimately proved to be influential.
Satterfield earned his teaching certifications at North Carolina Central University and would spend the next several years of his life at Triton High School in Harnett County, N.C. as a varsity soccer coach, JV baseball head coach and assistant varsity baseball coach.
Prior to furthering his career at Scotland County Schools, Satterfield was the principal of Richmond Senior High School for nearly seven years.
“I loved my time at Richmond and can lay my head down at night knowing that the school is better now than it was prior to my start there,” Satterfield said. “With that said, my allegiance is to Scotland blue and red these days.”
And under the Friday night lights, Satterfield will be hard to miss at Scotland football games. The 6’5” Satterfield can often be seen on the Fighting Scots’ sidelines as he cheers on his new team.
Satterfield has spent more than 20 years in education and served in a variety of different career capacities. And in addition to his college degree, Satterfield credits his time as a professional baseball player for helping him find his true calling.
“Playing baseball was some of the best years of my life,” Satterfield said. “I traveled a lot, met many people and had the opportunity to play in front of big crowds. I wouldn’t trade that for anything, and I feel that those experiences helped mold who I am today.”