This Is Rutherford
This is Isaac Pavlik
Updated: Sep 4, 2019
By Jennifer Ersalesi
Photos provided by Isaac Pavlik and Matt Ackermann
Baseball was always meant to be part of Isaac Pavlik’s story. He discovered at a young age that he truly enjoyed playing baseball and that he especially loved pitching. Although his baseball career has taken some twists and turns, he pitched for the NJ Jackals for the last thirteen years and played on the team for sixteen years all together. On Thursday, August 29th he was inducted into the Jersey Jackals Hall of Fame at Yogi Berra Stadium in Montclair, NJ.
TIR: When did you live in Rutherford?
Isaac Pavlik: I lived in Rutherford from 1980-2003. I grew up in 2 places. I lived on Van Winkle for a time and most of my years I grew on Mountain Way.
TIR: When did you start playing baseball?
IP: I started playing baseball when I was nine years old for Tommy's Towing in Rutherford Little League.
TIR: Did you have any baseball mentors while growing up in Rutherford?
AH: My Babe Ruth coach, Rick Enright and my Senior Babe Ruth coach, Matt Ackermann were my mentors.
Matt Ackermann told TIR, “I had the pleasure to coach Isaac, age 16-18 and he carried us to a state title in 1998. I had the pleasure to get Mike Sheppard (Seton Hall’s Head Baseball Coach) to see Isaac pitch in an All-Star game in the summer of 1998. Isaac pitched three innings, struck out eight, and picked off the only kid to reach base. Sheppard laughed, shaking his head, and said, ‘I’ll see him in September’ and the rest is history.”
TIR: At Seton Hall University, you received recognition for your pitching. Within the Can-Am League you reached records for 100 wins, 1,305 ½ innings pitched, 1019 strikeouts, 248 games pitched ad 197 games started between 2005-2017. What was your college baseball career like?
IP: I had so much fun during my years at Seton Hall University. The coaching staff was amazing. Seton Hall University gave me an opportunity to prove myself. They will forever have a special place in my heart. I walked on as an outfielder and switched over to pitching my sophomore year. We won the Big East championship my junior year and senior year I was named First-Team All Big East.
TIR: To what do you attribute your success in college baseball?
IP: I always thought that I was as good as anybody else. I always knew I wanted it as bad, if not more, than the guy standing next to me.
TIR: You made it to the Class AA level in the minor leagues and then you started pitching with an Independent league. What made you decide to continue playing with the independent leagues?
IP: I was released from the Colorado Rockies in 2003 and I started playing Independent Baseball then, because there was no other choice. Everybody plays independent baseball as a way of playing professional baseball and being able to be seen by EVERY Organization.
TIR: As a pitcher for the NJ Jackals for thirteen years, what kind of practice and game schedule did you follow during those years? How did you juggle that schedule with two careers (Honeymoon and Vacation Specialists and Paper Princess by Melissa)?
IP: Well, like any professional sport, you have in season and off season. I was fortunate enough to play professional baseball in my backyard where in my off season, I was able to juggle those exact things. Most guys are coming from all over the country or from other countries. So those guys are leaving their home for 6 months. It is not easy.
TIR: On Aug. 29th, you were inducted into the Jersey Jackals Hall of Fame at MSU. How do you feel about this accomplishment?
IP: This accomplishment is very very special for me and extremely humbling. I was able to excel in a situation near home with the love and support from my wife. A lot of athletes do not get to have the whole package of being able to do something for so long in one place.
TIR: What did you enjoy about pitching?
IP: Well, anyone who knows me truly knows that outfield is my first passion. Being a pitcher has been so much fun on a lot of levels, but I guess the most satisfying thing would be after I LEARNED how to pitch, the ability to play mental games with the hitters was the best. Being in control of my pitching physically allowed me to execute a mental game both mentally and physically.
TIR: How does it feel to have been part of the NJ Jackals?
IP: I have made so many great friendships and relationships and teammates throughout my time that words cannot express how special playing for the New Jersey Jackals has been.
TIR: What is next for you? Will baseball still be a part of your life?
IP: My wife and I will continue our businesses and I will always have baseball be a part of my life whether as a fan or a teacher or a friend.