By Noah Fernandes ’20 PC: google
Becoming a professional baseball player is something that millions of kids aspire to do. Bellarmine alum Mark Canha ’07 is one of those few kids who get the chance to play in the big leagues. Canha had always known at a young age that he wanted to become a professional baseball player. Growing up, although he was a fan of the San Francisco Giants, he admired the play of the Boston Red Sox’s David Ortiz as well as Barry Bonds.
Canha started to realize how much of a sacrifice it would be to become a “major-leaguer” in high school. “I had to sacrifice being a normal kid and having normal summers because I spent every summer traveling and playing ball,” he said. Surely, his sacrifices have paid off in the long term. As a sophomore in high school, his batting average was .365 with 12 home runs. By his senior year, he had an average of .440 with 11 home runs. His hard work earned him a scholarship to UC Berkeley where he majored in Economics. As a sophomore in college, he earned the team’s MVP award and was their leading hitter.
His standout play did not go unnoticed as Canha was drafted in the 7th round by the Miami Marlins in the 2010 MLB draft. After a couple of years, he was traded back to his hometown team, the Oakland Athletics, who acquired him from the Colorado Rockies.
As Canha enters his 5th year with the Oakland A’s, he still stays true to the lessons he was taught as a young man. “I always felt like throughout my life and career I had a responsibility as a Bellarmine grad to set a good example through my interviews, actions on the field, and actions in the community,” he said. Looking back on his path to the big leagues, he hopes that those who aspire to become a big-leaguer will stay true to their character. “Be yourself because only you know deep down [that’s] what is best for you,” he said. Additionally, he says that facing adversity has helped him grow in many ways. “I learned that hard work and confidence in one’s own abilities is a powerful thing to have,” he said.
With the regular season beginning today, he hopes that this season will replicate last year’s success as the team stormed their way to a 97 win season which resulted in a playoff berth in 2018. Canha, who represents Bellarmine’s values on and off the field is one example out of many who make their impact felt in the community.