Nothing could sway Jeff Randazzo away: not the bumpy, nasty, cramped bus rides in the minor leagues, or a near-fatal car crash that tore apart his budding career. Randazzo, a 1999 graduate of who grew up in Broomall, always loved baseball.
That affection was challenged in many ways along Randazzo’s ride since he was a fourth-round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins who signed him right out of high school. But he’s always come back to the game, in some form or another.
At 29, Randazzo finds his connection today as a conduit to Major League players and their respective teams, working as an agent for the Warner Company, based in Maryland.
He’s invested in a lifestyle job, the type that puts him on the road four to six months a year, taking him everywhere from Cape Cod, Maine, to San Diego, Calif., to Chicago, Ill. It's is a nonstop existence in quest of finding and luring the next great one. It’s also a cut-throat business, where prime agents often swoop down and steal clients from smaller agents.
Randazzo wouldn’t want it any other way. He’s always been enthralled by the chase and challenges.
“That’s this business,” Randazzo said. “I’ve been in six years and typically takes nine to 12 years to get established in this business. It’s not easy. The lifespan of a player is only so long, and I think what I lend to is that I’m not much older than these guys. I know what they’re going through and what the younger guys in the minors will face up ahead.
“You’re recruiting against tough, tough competition going up against household names like the Scott Borases of the world. I had no big leaguers when I started at 23 and I here I am now with 40 players, 10 of whom are on 40-man rosters.
"Through time, my reputation is growing. It is highly competitive. You have a process where you have a few elements of recruiting, competing against top guys, and with minor league guys, where there is a lot of cutthroat that goes on. You have to maintain your relationships with players and, in the minor league, the contract is only as good as the paper. I lost four guys over stealing.”
Randazzo almost lost his life in 2001. Driving to spring training, Randazzo was involved in a car accident and suffered a fractured neck, a broken sternum, a ruptured aorta and both of his lungs collapsed. It was a life-altering experience that took Randazzo a few years to recover. Consequently, it also took away his athletic future in baseball.
That's when the idea of becoming an agent began to evolve. He went back to his connections in the game and in the area. It led to a major purchase of the Maple Zone, an indoor baseball facility, one of the most unique of its kind in Boothwyn.
“I can say I live what I do,” said Randazzo, who was the rare Philadelphia Catholic League MVP in both baseball and basketball his senior year at O’Hara.
“There is nothing a player has gone through that myself and the firm hasn't gone through. The mistake a lot of players make is accepting a factory-kind of way of things, where they just a number. To me they’re not, because I know from experience what they’re experiencing. I work tirelessly at it, this is a 24/7, 364-day-a-year job. There is a lot of high maintenance involved. But I keep my goal simple and that’s knowing how a player wants to be treated.”