Ryan Garko had the chance to play baseball at the highest level because of talent, determination and desire. Those traits fit in well at Stanford, where Garko played and returned to coach for a year.
Garko, a minor league all-star while with the Cleveland Indians organization, has decided to pursue other interests outside the game and will not return as an assistant to coach Mark Marquess.
"I've enjoyed every minute of my time back at Stanford and will always remain passionate about the program and athletic department," Garko said. "My family and I are looking forward to exploring opportunities outside of the game that have presented themselves over the past year."
In his year at Stanford, Garko helped guide the Cardinal to the NCAA Nashville Super Regional. He coached first base and tutored Stanford's hitters that led the NCAA in home runs during the postseason with 10.
"I will be forever thankful to coach Marquess for the opportunity to join his staff," Garko said. "I would not be the husband, father, or have any of the opportunities I am currently exploring had he not given me the chance to attend Stanford and play for him. Working for him this year has meant no less."
With the technology field continually expanding, Garko could have been reacquainted with many of his fellow Stanford grads who have helped advance Internet opportunities and related industries.
Baseball will remain a strong part of his make-up though.
"My greatest joy as a coach came while working with our players. What was accomplished on the field last year was a testament to all of their hard work and the incredible character they showed through good times and bad," Garko said. "I look forward to watching the team and cheering on all Stanford student athletes as I return to being a proud Stanford alumnus."
Garko, a catcher in college, signed with the Indians in 2003 following a productive career with the Cardinal. He hit .350 with 60 doubles, 39 home runs and 191 runs batted, while leading some of the most successful teams in program history.
The Cardinal went 199-69 (.743) and qualified for the College World Series in each of his seasons. He was selected to two CWS All-Tournament teams (2001, 2003) and was later named to the CWS Legends Team.
In 2005, he was named to the minor league all-star team as a first baseman and played in the game at Raley Field in Sacramento.
Garko played for three teams during his five-year major-league career. More than two of those seasons were spent with the Cleveland Indians along with stints with the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers. He hit .275 in 463 career games, belted 55 home runs and drove in 250 runs.
"As I leave the game, I would most like to thank my wife Christie for all of the sacrifices and support over our ten years in professional baseball and one year in coaching," Garko said.