Our offseason interview series continues with another member of the White Sox coaching staff who has a special place in most Sox fans’ hearts: Danny Farquhar.
Farquhar, now 34, was drafted in the 10th round of the 2008 MLB Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. His career started out with a rough three-game stretch with the Jays in 2011 before he was once again called up as a member of the Seattle Mariners in 2014. From there, he went on to pitch for the Tampa Bay Rays before finding his way to the South Side for the 2017-2018 seasons.
Farquhar finished his career with the Sox, posting a 4.84 ERA in 22.1 IP with the White Sox – however, he is much more well-known for being the first player who recognized what the Astros were up to during their infamous cheating scandal back in 2017:
In addition, he’s incredibly well-known for his strength and bravery shown in 2018 and 2019, when he suffered a brain aneurysm in the middle of an April 20, 2018, game while with the White Sox. Incredibly, he would find his way back on the field one year later, re-gaining not only his ability to walk but also his ability to pitch. He signed a minor league contract with the Yankees and appeared in a few games with their AAA team before calling it quits.
In 2020, Farquhar was announced as the pitching coach for the High-A Winston-Salem Dash in the White Sox organization. With the cancellation of the 2020 season, 2021 was his first year working with players such as Luke Shilling, Yoelvin Silven, and Ty Madrigal. In the near future, he will likely get opportunities to work with Norge Vera, Jared Kelley, Matthew Thompson, and Andrew Dalquist, among other exciting future names for the White Sox.
Farquhar took some time out to talk about his playing career, life lessons learned through the struggles, his future coaching aspirations, and much more!
To start, could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself – where you grew up, how you originally got into baseball, and when you decided you wanted to try to make a career out of the game?
I was born in Miami, FL, and grew up in Pembroke Pines, FL. All the buzz about South Florida getting a baseball team (Florida Marlins) spiked my interest in wanting to play baseball. From the moment I stepped foot on the diamond, I knew I was going to be a MLB player and nothing was going to stop me.
You were drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 10th round of the 2008 MLB Draft. From there, you had quite the career, pitching for the four different teams at the major league level; however, your career obviously ended before you would’ve wanted it to. What are some of your favorite memories/stories from your time as a player, and what were some of the most important lessons you’ve learned from playing the game?
I have a lot of great memories but one of my favorites was being told I was going back to the Major leagues with the Seattle Mariners in May of 2013. I wasn’t on the 40-man roster even though I was performing at a high level in AAA Tacoma. I remember running out to my wife after giving her the good news through a text message and getting the biggest hug and kiss I could have ever imagined.
A great lesson I have learned in my time is to enjoy each day to the max, you never know which one will be your last. April 20, 2018, was a normal game day in Chicago. I gave my wife, kids, and mom (visiting that week) a big hug and that was the night I suffered my ruptured brain aneurysm.
After a brief stint with the Yankees AAA affiliate in 2019, you were hired by the White Sox as the pitching coach for the Winston-Salem Dash. How did this role come about for you? What made you decide to coach – was it something you always wanted to do once you were done playing?
As a player, I always had a passion to coach my teammates. I love the game so much and enjoy all the ups and downs of the season. I had built really good relationships in Chicago and when the time came for me to switch to coaching, it was a great fit.
Do you have a certain philosophy that you follow as a pitching coach? What excites you most about being a coach – and at the same time, what challenges you the most?
One philosophy that I have is when a pitcher gets on the mound in a game, it’s time to compete. I enjoy giving a pitcher tips and watching him succeed with the advice given. One of the challenges is going home after a loss and thinking about what I could have done differently to win the game. But it’s a learning point for the next time.
It’s no secret that in recent years, data has become an increasingly important – and complex – part of the game. How important was data to you when you were a player? As the game evolves, how do you personally like to learn new information/techniques and incorporate data into what you do? In the same vein, how have you learned to balance player personalities in how they like to receive and incorporate data?
Technology was a very important part of my time playing when it became available. I love listening to all the new stuff that comes, but not everything is right, nor is everything useful. I like to say, “chew the meat and spit the bone,” compliments of Mike Reinold. Balancing personalities with coaching styles is something I feel like I excel at.
A lot of the work you and your team do at the High-A level has lasting effects throughout the organization as players grow and develop. Can you describe the collaboration between coaches in creating a player development strategy for an entire organization? How have the White Sox as a whole worked to create consistency throughout the system – and what do you view as your role in that?
The White Sox have an open line of communication up and down the organization reaching all levels. This helps break any silos and helps everyone work together for the players’ benefit.
Would you like to be a major league coach one day? After your first two years, how do you view your path to that point?
I want to be an MLB pitching coach. I’m not sure the path but I will continue to be the best at whatever role is asked of me and my work, knowledge, and relationship skills will help me get there.
Is there anything you’d like to do in life that you haven’t done yet? Are there things outside of coaching you enjoy doing and would like to do more of?
Outside of coaching, I love golfing and surfing. I think a little more world travel is something on my bucket list.
To what – or whom – do you owe your success as both a player and a coach? What advice would you share with younger readers who might be looking to follow your path and get to the majors someday – whether as a player or coach?
Having a support system around you when pursuing your dreams is important. My support was my wife, kids, and the rest of my family. They were always there for me when I needed them. I never had a plan B since I was 5. Only one plan and it was to be an MLB player.
On behalf of the entire Sox On 35th team, I’d like to thank Danny for taking the time out to answer some of our questions about his life and playing career. Many of us likely remember watching the events of Farquhar’s incredible story of recovery unfold, and it’s awesome to get to see him thriving within the Sox’ organization currently.
We are looking forward to seeing how players continue to grow and develop as players – especially some of the White Sox’ higher-level prospects – under the guidance of Farquhar in the near future.
You can follow Danny Farquhar on Instagram @dfarquhar17 – go show him some support!
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Featured Photo: White Sox / Twitter