Athlete of the month: Jack McNamara


Jack MacNamara ’22 rounds bases after home run against Downers Grove North on April 11 (photo courtesy of Mark Viniard).

Aidan Wirtz, Sports Editor

Ever since Jack McNamara ‘22 could walk, he loved baseball. Throughout little league, middle school ball and travel leagues, everybody always knew he would be something special. Being an only child, his parents were his biggest supporters and mentors, and pushed him to be the athlete he is today, McNamara said. 

“It’s been awesome to look at both of my parents after so many years of support that they’ve given me to know that it’s all coming full circle,” McNamara said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be the same player and person I am.”

With his last season underway, McNamara started the baseball season off hot. In their home opener game against Neuqua Valley on March 21, he had two hits in his three appearances at the plate, with one of them being a triple. McNamara currently plays catcher for the team and also threw a man out at second en route to an 11-2 victory. McNamara has since continued to shine on the team with a batting average of .650 with 16 runs batted in (RBIs), as of mid-April. As for next year, McNamara will be continuing his athletic and academic career at the University of Wisconsin Osh-Kosh.

“Knowing that all the work I put in over the years is paying off and I get to go to college to play ball is special,” McNamara said. “Having the opportunity to continue playing the sport I love at a higher level is awesome.”

Up until high school, McNamara stuck out with a laser beam for an arm playing catcher. However, when his junior season came, McNamara was moved to third base for the first nine games. While he still played well, he knew his biggest help to the team would come from behind the plate.

“It was fun playing third base, and I’ll play wherever I have to in order to help the team,” McNamara said. “I knew catcher was the place where I’d play best, and so I talked to the coach about it and I caught for us for the rest of the season.”

McNamara’s father, John McNamara, has always been extremely supportive of his son, regardless of what he chooses to do. When Jack decided to play football in the fall, his dad was there at every game. When he decided to switch travel ball clubs, he was 100% on board. And when it comes to baseball, he’s been there every step of the way to help improve his son’s game in any way possible.

“Being available to throw him pitches whenever he wanted to go to the batting cages was a big part of my support for him,” John McNamara said. “Jack works so hard, and to see it all come together, to see him have the opportunity to play at the next level, really makes me happy. I’m proud of that kid.”

Teammates of McNamara are just as proud and appreciative of him, and love having him on the field. Bo Karlson ‘22, who grew up playing little league with McNamara, has never seen someone with more passion for the sport, he said. 

“Jack has always been one of the hardest workers, and his effort is infectious among the team,” Karlson said. “He is a great leader and holds himself, and his teammates accountable, which makes us all better.”

Additionally, head varsity coach Kevin Diete has only seen McNamara progress along the years. 

“Jack has progressed in his confidence and leadership throughout the past two years,” Diete said. “He holds himself to a higher standard than everyone else, but will never put himself above the team.”

With the Lions off to a solid start, Diete looks for McNamara to continue leading the team both on and off the field.

“Jack is a great person and friend to his teammates off the field, just as much as he is on the field,” Diete said. “He has been one of the best players I’ve had the privilege to coach in my eight years as a coach.”

McNamara has always excelled in school just as much as he has with his athletics, and 

After his final high school season, McNamara will play in the Chicago Suburban Baseball League (CSBL) this summer for the Mid-Crest Pumas, prior to his collegiate career. 

“I’m really looking forward to playing in that league over the summer,” McNamara said. “I can’t wait to see that higher level of competition and play alongside other college athletes.”

The Lions are 7-4 overall, with a 3-2 conference record, and have some big games against highly ranked conference teams like Hinsdale Central coming up on the schedule.

“Hinsdale is tough, and they have a lot of great players,” McNamara said. “But if we play our game to the best of our ability, there isn’t a team out there we can’t beat.”