Heckman's Journey from the Marines to the Rams' Baseball Roster
BOSTON - Logan Heckman always had a fascination with planes. How people go around at incredibly high speeds flying within heavy metal birds that other people designed and built captivated him at an airshow he spent hours with his father at.
From that day, at the age of 12, he knew he wanted to take the less traditional road, forgo college and join the U.S. Military, specifically the Air Force.
While attending Lee-Davis in Mechanicsville, Virginia, a high school enriched in American history named after Civil War generals Robert E. Lee and Jefferson C. Davis, Heckman took the necessary steps to reach his military goal by joining the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) program.
Little did he know that his other passion, baseball, would keep him from reaching his original goal of flying his fascination to defend the red, white and blue. The morning of his Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test, an aptitude exam that measures strengths, weaknesses and potential for future success in the military, his mind kept racing back to the first pitch of the Confederates' playoff game.
With his mind set on what the score would be on the diamond, his ASVAB score faltered and he missed the Air Force cutoff. Still determined to join the military, Heckman found his path after just one meeting with a Marine recruiter.
"I never thought I'd be a Marine," Heckman said. "After one hour with this recruiter and the words he used to describe what it means to be a Marine - honor, courage, commitment, teamwork - I knew it was the right place for me."
Heckman went home and told his father that day he was going to be a Marine.
In September 2012 he went to boot camp at Paris Island, South Carolina, graduated four months later and began his four-year tenure as an infantry rifleman.
After four years of service where he spent the majority of his time in North Carolina with stints in California, Japan and South Korea, Heckman was ready for a change.
He returned to Mechanicsville where he thought the first-responder route of becoming a firefighter was his designated path. Once again, baseball changed things.
While looking at Athletes of Valor, a service that supports transitioning servicemen and women from service to career by leveraging the power of collegiate sports, Suffolk's baseball's program drew Heckman to the University.
That day he emailed head coach Anthony Del Prete and received an invitation to come up to Boston for a visit.
In June 2017, the southern ventured to New England for the first time. His trip was almost identical to his visit to the Marine recruiting center five years earlier and on his way back to Virginia, Heckman put his application into the mix.
His quick, decisive decision making skills came into play once again as he pondered his enrollment to Suffolk as long as his decision to become a jarhead all those year ago; on the spot. Just two days after his visit to campus, his official acceptance letter pinged into his inbox and with a click of a mouse he did something he never thought he would, enlisted in college.
"It's funny, I always said I would never be a Marine, I did that," Heckman stated. "I said I would never move north, go to college or study business and there I was packing up my truck and driving the nine hours to Boston."
Heckman continued, "Suffolk gave me an opportunity. I was never good in school. I needed something to push me to go back to school and work hard. Suffolk baseball did just that."
On the first day of fall ball of 2017, Heckman headed out to right field, but similar to his ASVAB test many years earlier things didn't go as planned.
With planes flying overhead, taking off and landing at Logan Airport, Heckman properly played the first two fly balls to right. As the third left his right arm a loud cracking sound engulfed the air. He went down on one knee, arm by his side and limp.
Convinced he just popped his elbow out of place Heckman went to Massachusetts General Hospital where he learned his season-ending fate of a humeral fracture.
Even six hours in the ER and a cast later could not keep him from attending Del Prete's 8 a.m. sharp practice the following day. For that heart and dedication, the head coach kept Heckman around.
"Logan, despite his injury last season was a great addition to our program," Del Prete said. "He brought a positive energy and leadership with him every day throughout the year, consistently trying to help his teammates improve on a day-to-day basis."
Heckman's mantra of never say never returned in the fall of 2018 as he got back on the diamond, played his way through Del Prete's rigorous fall ball slate and earned a spot on the Rams' 33-player roster.
"We're looking for Logan to compete this season for at-bats and give us some depth in the outfield," Del Prete said. "He's shown an ability throughout the fall to compete at a high level given his maturity."
Heckman was on the sidelines as the Rams' raised their fourth straight GNAC trophy in the air in Standish, Maine behind a 6-5 win over Saint Joseph's (Maine) May 6, 2018. This year, he looks to contribute to Suffolk's fifth consecutive conference crown.
"In high school, we always fell short in the championship game," Heckman said. "To be a part of that celebration last year was great, but to get to help out this year will be even better."