Next week, when Major League Baseball kicks off its 2011 season, there undoubtedly will be more than a few lawyers sitting in their firms’ suites, dreaming about what life would be like if they were paid to turn double plays or hit hanging curve balls instead of running up billable hours. One lawyer who won’t be wondering what it’s like to get paid to throw a ball is David Skeels (pictured in his days before the law), a Fort Worth lawyer who spent years as a catcher in the minor leagues before going to law school in 2000. Skeels comes from a baseball family: Both of his brothers were also minor league catchers. While his brother Mark went to law school and is now a prosecutor in San Diego, brother Andy stayed in the game and is now a minor league manager with the San Francisco Giants organization. “I think all three of us could have stayed in baseball if we would have gone into coaching. In fact, I turned down a coaching position with the Texas Rangers when I decided to go to law school 2000,” says Skeels, a partner in Friedman, Suder & Cooke. Why law instead of baseball? “If I told you the numbers . . . [you] wouldn’t be surprised. I played in the minors, and it was worth making peanuts and riding on bus trips to try to make that dream happen. And I’d do it again. But when it came to coaching, I wasn’t sure I wanted to spend the next 20 years coaching in the minor leagues to make it to the majors.” Not that his brothers don’t still compare notes about their career choices, he says. “It’s funny. We both miss baseball terribly and wish we had a job like Andy does. And I think Andy sometimes wishes he had a regular job like me and Mark do.”
– John Council
Click here to see some of David Skeels’ baseball cards. From top to bottom, left to right, they are from the:
1999 Pulaski Rangers (Texas Rangers: Advanced Rookie / Appalachian League). During this season, Skeels served as a minor league hitting coach for the Texas Rangers. Future big leaguers Colby Lewis, Kevin Mench and Aaron Harangue were on that team. A young, 18-year old center fielder named Josh Hamilton was also in the league. He was in his first minor league season that year and played for a Tampa Bay affiliate in Princeton, West Va.
1999 Midland Rockhounds (Oakland A's: AA /Texas League). That team included Tim Hudson, among other future big leaguers.
1998 Visalia Oaks (Oakland A's: High A /California League). That team included Eric Byrnes, among other future big leaguers.
1997 Lancaster JetHawks (Seattle Mariners: High A /California League). That team included Damaso Marte, among other future big leaguer.
1996 Everett AquaSox (Seattle Mariners: Short Season A /Northwest League). That team included future big leaguers Brian Fuentes, Gil Meche, and Ramon Vazquez.
1992 – 1995: Arkansas Razorbacks (Southeastern Conference).