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Saturday, October 29, 2022

Jim Elliott played two pro seasons, then turned to medicine; Moved to Australia, got his PhD

In his second season as a pro, Waterloo Diamonds backup catcher Jim Elliott knew he wanted to make it higher. But he also knew he needed a college degree, he told The Waterloo Courier in July 1991.

"You get used to that life-style: money, four-star restaurants," Elliott told The Courier then. "But then you get hurt and it's gone."

For Elliott, his career would soon be over, released out of spring training 1992. The Illinois-native then turned to a different career, one in medicine, and also one in a completely different country - Australia.

Elliott's career began in 1990, taken by the Padres in the 23rd round of the draft out of the University of Denver.

At Denver, Elliott became a first-team NAIA All-American as he hit a school-record 57 home runs over his career.

Elliott started with the Padres at short-season Spokane. He got into 35 games and hit .186. Early on, the catcher won praise from his manager, Gene Glynn, as he tagged out a runner at home, The Spokane Spokesman-Review wrote.

"You've got to give credit to Jim, too," Glynn told The Spokesman-Review in June. "A lot of times you don't see the catcher hang on to the ball and make that play."

Elliott then moved to single-A Charleston and single-A Waterloo for 1991. He got into a total of 46 games between them. He hit .215.  That season marked his last as a pro.

Elliott soon joined the Rockies and his experience with the team's training staff focused him on healthcare, he told years later. He turned to physical therapy, met his wife and they eventually landed in Australia. 

"Forever fascinated by ‘recovery’ following injury (mine included), I developed a real passion towards understanding why some, but not others, recovery spontaneously after a non-catastrophic trauma (e.g. ankle sprain, motor vehicle crash, slip and fall)," Elliott told MiLB then.

Elliott earned his PhD from the University of Queensland in 2007 and, after a stint at Northwestern University in Chicago, he continues in 2022 as a professor of Allied Health at the University of Sydney, where his focus is to "quantify altered spinal cord anatomy and whole-body skeletal muscle degeneration as potential markers of recovery following spinal trauma," according to his bio.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,057
Made the Majors:1,347-33.2%
Never Made Majors:2,710-66.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:548
10+ Seasons in the Minors:333

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