Brendan Beck, a former right-handed pitcher for Stanford University and current New York Yankees minor league pitcher, started substituting in December at Paly during his offseason.
“My mom was a substitute teacher growing up, so in that regard, I was kind of familiar with it,” Beck said. “It’s kind of fun to be able to relate with her a bit better, and just have offseason work to keep myself busy.”
Beck said his choice of substituting at Paly, rather than at any other school, came down to two main factors: the location and the students.
“I’m doing my offseason training at Stanford, and I’m living in the area for the offseason,” Beck said. “So it just made the most sense for me to be able to be close to Stanford’s campus. And obviously Paly is a really good school as well. So I wanted to go somewhere with good students, and that was going to be fun and easy at the same time.”
During his tenure with the Stanford Cardinal, Beck was named the PAC-12 Pitcher of the Year and was a member of the American Baseball Coaches Association/Rawlings All-America First Team in 2021. He was subsequently drafted by the Yankees in the second round of the 2021 MLB Draft.
Senior and Stanford baseball fan Sidd Shashi said while Beck is well-known in the baseball community, he was not aware that Beck was his AP Literature substitute teacher until several days later.
“I go watch baseball games at Stanford sometimes, and he’s always a really clutch player,” Shashi said. “I’ve seen him so many times playing baseball, but I just didn’t recognize him in person.”
Although Beck said he hasn’t had nearly as much experience substituting as he’s had on the baseball diamond, senior Jason Bae said Beck was helpful. In fact, Bae said he thought Beck had been a substitute for several years.
“I was surprised,” Bae said. “I expected that he would be a teacher — he had the attitude and that overall feeling (of a teacher).”
Shashi said Beck was a kind substitute teacher who was always willing to help.
“I asked (Beck) a question about how to annotate something (and turn it in), and he was like, ‘Oh, you have to do a screenshot,’” Shashi said. “He was really approachable. He was a nice guy.”
While Beck said he plans to travel to Tampa Bay for spring training in March, he said he is enjoying his offseason training at Stanford and spending time with Paly students.
“It’s been enjoyable, having a bit more of a routine in the offseason,” Beck said. “The kids are really good, and you can tell that they’re focused and driven — it’s made my job pretty easy.”