Monday, February 10, 2014

Q&A with Marci Hensley, mother of Yankees 2012 first rounder Ty Hensley

A few weeks ago, I did a blog post on my growing Ty Hensley collection, and predicted that he would soon be my favorite pitcher in the Yankees farm system. He's a powerful righty with potential to be a front-end starter, and he's finally healthy and ready to break out in 2014.

I posted the link to my blog post on Twitter, and I noticed that Marci Hensley favorited the post. When I clicked to see if there was any relation to Ty, it turns out that she is his mother. Very cool! After thanking Marci for reading, I went out on a limb and asked her if she'd be open to answering a few questions for the blog. She was more than willing, and provided some phenomenal answers below.

If I wasn't 100% sure about making Ty a primary guy I collect before this, this Q&A with Marci Hensley sealed the deal. Part of why I like Ty is because he just seems like such a great, humble kid, and as you can see from Marci, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Plus, before Ty was born, Marci's family actually owned a card shop in the '80s! How cool is that? Marci's husband and Ty's dad, Mike, was drafted by the Cardinals in 1988, so between card store owners and professional pitchers, the Hensley's are clearly a baseball family. My kind of people.

On to the Q&A. I hope you enjoy! Marci, thanks again for taking the time to answer my questions.

The Lost Collector: Ty missed the 2013 season with hip surgery. How's he doing? 
Marci Hensley: He is doing great! The most frustrating part of last year was the fact that people in the media did not bother to do their homework on Ty's hip surgery. It kept being reported over and over again as an injury, it wasn't it is a condition. FAI or femoroacetabular impingement is a condition where the bones of the hip are abnormally shaped causing the femoral head to fit oddly in the socket. For Ty that meant that his hips weren't rotating properly. He never had any hip or groin pain, but his abs were doing all the work and were getting strained from compensating. Dr. Kelly addressed the root cause of the strain by correcting FAI.  Many many athletes have this because they were playing sports and grew so fast (multi sport tall guys impacted the most). A lot of guys continue to play through compensation issues in other areas of their bodies, or have not become symptomatic yet. Ty choose to address the situation with corrective surgery to hopefully avoid problems down the road. 
(my note- Marci is right, the media kept saying "another Yankee prospect injured, whats the issue?" However, it wasn't an arm issue or the result of baseball activities. It was something Ty was born with and had overcome up to this point. It was unfair to lump him in with the guys who need TJ surgery or shoulder surgery.)

TLC:  Ty comes from a baseball family, with Ty's dad playing professional ball as well. When did you know Ty was destined for the same path? 
MH:  About 11 years old it became pretty clear he was going to be pretty good at this game, although I didn't even want to think about the possibility of it being a profession at that time.

TLC: As a mother, describe how you felt when the Yankees called Ty's name in the first round of the 2012 draft?
MH:  That day was amazing and awful all in the same breath. Things that were told to us didn't happen and things that we didn't expect did, but the minute CC Sabathia called out Ty's name it was a feeling I could never put into words. I still tear up thinking about it.
(my note- I found this very interesting, and something I never thought of. I'm sure the process for a first rounder isn't all fun and games...teams telling you they are going to take you if so and so happens. I'm sure you see some people's true colors on draft day.)

TLC: As a parent, how do you keep an 18-year-old grounded and focused after being drafted by an MLB team? Knowing how invincible I thought when I was 18, I would have acted like I was the greatest person in the world.
MH:  I am more lucky then good when it comes to my boys. They are two of the most determined, good hearted people I know. For about another month until deadline it was so stressful in our house and the one who really had it all under control was Ty. He knew he had a team of people around him that he trusted, and a God he has faith in to lead him to the right decision. Once he became a Yankee his exact words were "time to go to work and earn some pinstripes". If he isn't in the Show in his mind he is just another guy.

TLC: As the parent of a 2-year-old son (who already has quite an arm, I must say), what advice would you give new parents whose kids are just starting sports?
MH:  Man this is a tough one. Here is what I would say, love your kid but teach them it's on to be accountable. What I mean by that is don't let them buy into the mediocre "it's okay" attitude that parents have these days. There are three outs in baseball, there are jobs to be done and if you don't do your job well.. Practice. Teach your son to respect the game by being a parent that respects the game by expecting their best every time they step on the field.  This of course is when they get older, until then laugh, play catch and watch baseball games with your son! Oh and defiantly no junk on that great arm until they are at least 14 or so..regardless of what other parents and coaches might say! You both will be tempted to cave on that I promise you!
(my note- what a great answer. Personally, I am not a believer in "every kid gets a trophy", as I think valuable lessons can be learned from both the joys of winning and the heartache of losing. I like Marci's message about accountability. Oh, and no curveballs until he's 14. Got it. Twelve more years.)

TLC: If you were anything like my mom when I was a high school athlete, she knew and was friends with most of the other moms of my teammates. Do you still share this bond with the parents of Yankees just starting out? Do you lean on each other for support while the boys are 
MH: Great question. Baseball definitely is a family. Due to Ty's corrective procedures last year I didn't get to meet any of the moms in person, but I am really looking forward to it! Especially Kim Austin (Tyler Austin's mom) and Mariana Bichette (Dante Bichette Jr's mom) who I feel like I have gotten to know through Twitter.

TLC: Shifting the focus to baseball cards, Ty's been featured on quite a few so far. What's it like to see him on a card? Do you actively collect his cards?
MH: Very strange, I must say. My brother Brian collects them for me.

TLC:  Did Ty show an interest in collecting cards growing up? 
MH:  Haha he will kill me for this , but only Pokemon ones for a little bit!
(my note- bahahahahahaha)

TLC: What is the oddest item anyone has ever asked Ty to sign?
MH: crutches 
(my note- it wasn't me, I swear)

TLC: Do you have a favorite card of Ty?
MH:  I think my very favorite is 2012 Bowman draft prospects card because it looks as if he is on the mound in Yankee Stadium... Gave me goosebumps when I saw it!

(my note- I believe this is the one Marci is referring to)
TLC: Lastly, fast forward to the year 2020. What are your hopes for Ty?
MH: That he is healthy and happy and that he is a couples of years into his major league dream!

TLC: Anything else you'd like to say?
MH:  Yes lots haha but my boys would tell me to "shut it down " so I will respectfully decline except to say thank you and enjoy that precious boy of yours!

Marci, this was a blast. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions. I can't wait to see what the future holds for Ty, and I wish you and your family a fantastic 2014. I hope you're able to see a bunch of Ty's starts this season, and if he stops in Staten Island at all in 2014, I'll be there. Otherwise, see you in the Bronx in a few years!


  1. Awesome interview man. Looking forward to see how Hensley does in 2014.

  2. Very cool interview, seems like a cool baseball mom. Love how she calls breaking pitches "junk". Good to know. Right now I'm still working on getting the 1 year old to throw the ball FORWARD - he rears back as if he's going to fire it, but let's go a half second too soon and goes flying behind him.

    Still has plus plus cuteness.

  3. Cool interview! Hopefully you'll get a chance to meet her or Ty at some point too!