Major League Baseball player agent Garrett Parcell began his playing career on the Wayne Makin Field Little League diamonds which are across the street from a prison.
Parcell's baseball career took him to Norco High School, Cypress College, San Diego State for one year under Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, and 6 1/2 years as a pitcher in the Miami Marlins organization.
Now an agent who works for Paragon Sports of Los Angeles, Parcell, 36, is determined to make sure that the players he represents are not imprisoned by contracts that limit their earnings and hinder their potential growth.
"I'm passionate about helping young players maximize their abilities in their careers," Parcell said. "Everything I saw during the time of my playing made me want to help players."
Rancho Cucamonga's Greg Freeman, whose sons, Tyler, 21, and Cody, 19, were drafted out of Etiwanda High School, is more than happy Parcell represents them.
Tyler, a shortstop taken in the second round of the 2017 amateur draft, is on the taxi squad of the Cleveland Indians as they navigate the pandemic-plagued season. Cody was taken by the Texas Rangers in the fourth round of the 2019 draft.
Greg Freeman knew Parcell before his sons were out of high school.
"Because of his love for the game, we connected really quickly with both my kids, especially Tyler," Freeman said. "It was the easiest decision of my life to have him represent my boys if they were lucky enough to get drafted. He's like a second dad to them."
Parcell was a nurturing person in a time of duress for Tyler and his family at the end of the 2017 season. The Freemans were members of the Etiwanda baseball team that won the CIF Division 2 title at Dodger Stadium. Tyler was drafted and went off to play on the Indians' rookie league team.
He tore the labrum in his left shoulder with two or three games left in the season.
"Garrett was unbelievable. He came by the house," said Freeman. "My wife and I were very grateful he helped him get through that. I wouldn't want anybody else. I'd trust him with anybody, including my two boys. Paragon Sports is blessed to have him as part of their family."
Parcell was able to help Tyler persevere through his injury because he'd been there himself. He's had two serious surgeries -- Tommy John surgery on his right, pitching elbow and bone spur removal a year later.
He was a 6-foot-2 first baseman and catcher at Norco High. He never pitched. He graduated in 2003.
He chose to go to Cypress College in Orange County. He grew to 6-4. He was converted into a relief pitcher. The scouts took notice. He was a leader in saves in the Orange Empire Conference. The Seattle Mariners drafted him after his freshman season. He chose to come back as a sophomore.
After his sophomore season, he was pitching in relief at the National Baseball Congress Finals in 2005.
He tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow trying to preserve a 1-0 lead.
He missed the 2006 season. Then doctors found a bone spur in the same elbow and he underwent surgery. He made it back to pitch three innings for San Diego State in 2007.
He still had a 92-94 mph fastball that made him an attractive prospect.
The Marlins drafted him in the 12th round, and he signed for $30,000. After playing for Tony Gwynn for one year, he signed with the Marlins.
At AA Jacksonville, he was 5-7 with a 3.36 earned run average in 2010. In 2011, he made it to AAA New Orleans, where he was 3-2 with a 4.32 ERA. His physical tools started to decline and he was released in 2012.
Joe Longo, founder and owner of the agency that Parcell works for, represented Parcell during his playing days. He told him he would be a great agent because of his love of the game and knowledge of the collective bargaining agreement.
Longo said, "I knew he would make a great agent but I insisted that he try other lines of work first to make sure he really wanted to do this."
Parcell worked as a scout for Cleveland and started an online training business. He still wanted to be an agent. Then Parcell flew to New York to take and pass the test to be certified as an agent. He has done well.
"He understands what players go through as a player because he has done it all as a pro player," Longo said. "He has a personality that players gravitate toward, and really cares about his clients."
Longo added: "He has caught on quickly and understands that we work for the players, thus he puts their interests ahead of his own. He will outwork anyone. Our job is a lot of nights and weekends, in small towns, tons of travel, and Garrett is not afraid of any of it. In fact, he embraces it. We are not always in the Owner's Suite at a Major League Ballpark, so it's not as glamorous as people may think it is. This is a job that is a labor of love because it is very much an around-the-clock job.
"He is as good a teammate as they come, and you need good teammates in the business world too. My law degree helps and his baseball background helps just as much. If you have one or the other, you'll be okay in this business … as long as you love it, and he does."