CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Anthony Silkwood has worn several uniforms during his career–but there’s one in particular that changed his life.
“When I was in high school, I really didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I was obviously very immature, so I ended up going [to the military], and it was the best decision I ever made,” said Silkwood.
The former Parkland Cobras pitcher spent five years on active-duty in the Marine Corps. He was stationed in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina before he was deployed to the Arabian Penninsula for 9 months.
“The big thing about the military is that it’s bigger than yourself, you’re not just one person,” said Silkwood. “It was kind of fun to learn and get shaped that way.”
After serving in the military, Silkwood decided to return to his baseball career, and get a college degree. He felt right at home coming to Champaign. Silkwood lived with Illinois baseball pitcher Josh Harris, who also served in the Marines.
“The biggest thing that military people do when they leave is they go from being a part of a team for four years, and then not having one, and it hits everybody differently,” says Silkwood. “So I came right out of the military, and left one team and joined another, and that was one heck of a transition for me.”
Silkwood came to Champaign following Tommy Jogn surgery, so he didn’t get to pitch much for the Cobras. He did pitch this summer for the Gems in the Kernels Collegiate League, which helped him prepare for the next step. With 2 seasons of eligibility left, the 27-year-old will play at Louisville this spring. The Cardinals have made 5 appearances at the College World Series since 2014.
“To be a part of that team, and what they’re doing there, is pretty incredible,” says Silkwood. “If Louisville didn’t do what they do on the baseball field, there wouldn’t be very much of a story so it’s pretty cool to be doing something like that.”