Former Lehigh Mountain Hawks catcher Matt McBride was inducted into the Lehigh Athletics Hall of Fame on Tuesday, October 1, 2019, at Grace Hall. McBride, a Bethlehem native, spent 14 years playing professional baseball before retriring after his 2019 season with the IronPigs. (Courtest of Brent Hugo)

Matt McBride shares success with Lehigh baseball


A Bethlehem native, Lehigh graduate and recent inductee into Lehigh’s Hall of Fame, Matt McBride, ’07, has paved the way for the future of Lehigh’s baseball program.

McBride is currently rostered on the Triple-A IronPigs. 

He was first drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the second round, where he was the first catcher to have been drafted that year. Since then, he has been traded to two other Major League teams, the Colorado Rockies and Oakland Athletics.

McBride had opted to stay close to his hometown during the collegiate recruiting process. As a family-driven individual, Lehigh gave McBride the opportunity to share his college experience with his family during the in-season, game-heavy schedule.

McBride carried the Mountain Hawks to its first championship during his junior year in 2006, and he was the highest drafted player in Patriot League history the following summer. 

“He is probably the best baseball player that ever came through Lehigh, (yet) he is the true embodiment of the word humble,” said Mike Garzillo, ‘16, Lehigh’s director of baseball operations.

Garzillo said McBride’s tremendous power, combined with his versatility, made him the most consistent player on the field who could change any game he was a part of.

McBride pioneered the opportunities and possibilities Lehigh’s program provided, showing that putting in the work and commitment can pay off. 

“He is a once-in-a-generation player in our program,” coach Sean Leary said. “He pushes everybody in the program to inspire higher and work harder.”

McBride’s ties to the Lehigh Valley are what inspire him today. He has established a strong tradition of recruiting from the Valley, and he has stayed directly connected to Lehigh’s program since going professional by coming back to work with the team during the offseason.

Sophomore infielder Joe Gorla said McBride plays an integral role in Lehigh’s development in the offseason. He works with catchers and the rest of the team to share his knowledge with college athletes. 

Leary, who recruited McBride to Lehigh, said McBride is an even better person than he is a player.

“He looks back at his Lehigh experience as a special place, giving it so much credit for how he has developed as a person,” Leary said.

McBride has given back to the team since he left the program 14 years ago. His humble beginnings have already impacted the Lehigh Valley and will continue to transcend for generations to come.

“Kids inspire to be the next Matt McBride,” Leary said. 

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