Fran Riordan's baseball dreams were the same as every other player when he suited up for Canisius High School in the early ‘90s. But just like most, he never got his big league chance.
"I wasn't good enough as a player to make it to the Major Leagues and that's just a fact. I was a very good player. I was better than probably 98 percent of the people on the planet, but I wasn't better than 99 percent of the people on the planet. So the hard facts were I wasn't good enough," said Riordan.
Not good enough as a player, but now making a charge as a manager, with Riordan quite possibly the fastest riser in the minor league ranks. After a 14-year Hall of Fame career in the Frontier League of independent ball, the 42-year-old's gone from a Single-A to Triple-A skipper in the Oakland A's organization in just three years.
But that's not all that makes Riordan's path unique.
"A lot of them work in the off-season. A lot of them coach in other places, whether it's winter ball in Latin America, working at baseball facilities giving lessons. I don't really know of anyone that has a company that they come back and run and they manage in the off-season,” said Riordan.
The Copy Store's been a high-volume printing company based in downtown Buffalo for well over three decades, first run by Fran's father and then taken on by he and his brother Chris.
"I've worked at The Copy Store since I can remember. Working in high school to pay for school and working through college when I'm home on breaks. Then afterwards working, to get an opportunity when my father ran the shop, to go play. This has always been something that's offered me the opportunity to go play when I was younger and continues to offer me the opportunity to go manage,” said Riordan.
Riordan's about to trade in managing at the corner of Court and Franklin to managing the Nashville Sounds, reporting to spring training next week. He'll spend a lot of time alongside the Athletics major leaguers, a place he's as close as ever to finally being a part of.
"My goal is to get to the big leagues. I guess I'm like every player in that respect. I've been doing this a long time. I've put in a lot of hours. There's been a lot of sacrifices with my family, with my job here in Buffalo. And the ultimate goal is to reach the big leagues, whether that's as a manager, a bench coach or a base coach. I can't really be too picky. But to be able to reach the highest level of the industry that I'm in is definitely a goal,” said Riordan.
A goal Fran Riordan has within reach while printing his own path along the way.