The records Josh Cyr has quietly set haven’t come easy, though they won’t earn him a lot of recognition.
That’s fine by the senior first baseman, who is proud to be UNA’s baseball ironman.
A fourth-year starter, Cyr will finish his career owning several of the program’s longevity records, including consecutive games played, consecutive starts and career fielding chances.
He also etched his name in the Gulf South Conference record book Wednesday, tallying his 1,245 career putout and breaking a record that has stood since 1985.
“It means a lot,” Cyr said. “I’m blessed I’ve never had an injury my entire career. That’s allowed me to play day in, day out. To be a starter for four years, to me, is a great accomplishment, and I’m proud of it.”
It doesn’t happen often, but Cyr was recruited to play immediately out of Westminster Christian, UNA coach Mike Keehn said.
Cyr started 51 of 53 games as a freshman, missing a game for the last time on March 24, 2010. He has since played in 184 consecutive games and has started the last 156.
“Those are records of staying in shape, being around and wanting to come and play every day,” Keehn said. “He comes to prepare every day and does his best to compete every game.”
Batting .331 with 28 RBIs and four home runs helped earn Cyr GSC East Division Freshman of the Year honors in 2010, but questions about his defensive play persisted.
Late in close games, Keehn would opt for a defensive substitution for Cyr. That’s been the first baseman’s greatest area of improvement, his coach said.
“He came from a small high school and played a lot of positions,” Keehn said. “He caught, played shortstop, pitched, played some at third, so he never really locked into that position. He needed some time to get used to it.
“Playing first base isn’t as easy as people think. It’s a difficult position. It’s a very important position. You’re responsible for so many things. Every throw is coming to you. If a ball is in the dirt, you’re going to be expected to pick it. If a ball is high, you’re going to be expected to stay on the base and make a play. You’re expected to field a ball and throw to a moving target.”
Cyr has since turned into one of the Lions’ top defensive players. Keehn has nominated him for the Golden Glove the previous two seasons, and Cyr has been honored as the top defensive player while playing summer ball in the Northwoods League, which includes Division I players.
In all, Cyr has made 25 errors in 1,360 career fielding opportunities, the latter being a program record.
As a clean-up hitter, he is batting .341 and leads UNA with 24 RBIs this season.
“He’s been so consistent this year,” Keehn said. “He’s a guy you want up. Some questioned whether he could play defense. I think he quieted a lot of people after his first year. He put in the time to do it.”
Then there’s Cyr’s distinction of being hit by pitch more times than any player in UNA history.
“I don’t know what it is,” said Cyr, who has been plucked 63 times. “But I’ll get on base however I can to help my team.”
Cyr still has half of a season left to put more of a dent in the record books, though he said it doesn’t concern him. Rather, he’s more proud of the improvement he’s made, particularly in the field.
“As a freshman, they would put in a defensive substitution for me late in close games,” Cyr said. “Now, I’m going out there relaxed and making all the plays because I know I can. I feel comfortable. I know I can do it.”
Bryan App can be reached at 256-740-5730 or bryan.app@TimesDaily.com. Follow @bappster on Twitter.