Beyond the Game: Cody Perkins, senior utility player

Assistant Sports Editor

Cody Perkins, utility senior, always wanted to go to Baylor University. Cody’s father, Chris, graduated from Baylor’s dental school. His uncle was employed in health administration at the university, and his older sister, Christie, is an alumna.

Baylor was Cody’s “dream school” while he was growing up. Texas State and Baylor tried to recruit him following high school. The decision seemed like a given.

Then Cody visited Texas State. He spoke to baseball head coach Ty Harrington and the team. He visited Baylor, too, but it felt different.

It did not feel like home, Cody said. Cody, with an offer from his dream school to play baseball, chose Texas State instead.

“I always wanted to go to Baylor,” Cody said. “I had the opportunity, but Texas State made me feel at home more than I thought. After praying about it, I turned down my dream school. I wanted to make history at Texas State and help build a legacy.”

Harrington envisioned Cody in a utility role. He told him he would have to carry extra gloves.

After all, Cody has played every position at least once, including pitcher. He played second base in high school and transitioned to third as a necessity. He was recruited, initially, as a shortstop. Cody, an athlete capable of playing every position, was bred to fulfill the utility role.

As a utility player, Cody does defensive work in high-leverage situations. He does the little things, like pinch-hitting, and does not play every day.

“Being a utility player is kind of different,” Cody said. “You have to feel comfortable in uncomfortable situations. For Texas State, Harrington has told me I was always going to be a utility player and carry a bunch of gloves. I’ve learned to cope with it over time. It’s been what I’ve done my entire life.”

Cody’s introduction to baseball involved a plastic ball and bat. He was three years old, watching his older sister’s soccer game.

Whack. Whack. Whack. The parents in the stands diverted their attention from the game to Cody, who was hitting the baseball with startling regularity.

“He was hitting the ball, and I couldn’t believe his hand-eye coordination at such a young age,” his father said. “He’s always had talent. It came easy to him.”

Cody played baseball, soccer and football since he was four. He played with kids a year older than him to test himself athletically.

“It helped me athletically,” Cody said. “It pushed me, having to compete against guys physically better than me.”

Whether he is experiencing the clean, fresh-cut grass of a baseball field or a campfire, Cody feels at home when he is outdoors. He does not play video games often. He prefers to hunt and fish with his father in his spare time.

Cody’s first kill, a deer, happened when he was eight years old. Chris wanted him to be competent with a weapon beforehand, so Cody had to hit a target 100 feet away three consecutive times.

Once he did, they went hunting together.

Chris lured the deer within Cody’s shooting range. Cody’s first shot missed. The deer shuffled away. Cody’s second shot, considerably more difficult since the deer was running, connected. The deer fell instantly, dead.

Cody and his father took the deer to a processing plant, where they sifted through the remains to find the edible parts. As always, they ate the deer. They never hunted anything they couldn’t eat.

“As a father, that was a pretty proud moment for me,” Chris said. “In Texas, with your first deer kill, you rub a little deer blood on their face. We have a photo with deer blood on his face. It was fantastic.”

Cody has reached base on 30 percent of his career plate appearances.

“He’s always been driven,” his mother, Brenda, said. “He’s put in a lot of work to get to where he is, and it hasn’t been easy for him.”

Cody’s future is up in the air, though. He will graduate next spring and either work towards a doctoral degree or enter the workforce, likely in the sports nutrition field.

“I hope to be gainfully employed,” Cody said. “I’m glad that baseball has allowed me to play and get a degree at the same time. Not everyone gets a degree, and I’m thankful for that.”