April 20, 2022, was just another normal Wednesday for Danny Farquhar and his family, until the pitching coach for High-A Winston-Salem -- a White Sox affiliate -- quickly realized it wasn’t.
“My wife and I woke up and I looked at my watch and I was like, ‘Babe, it’s April 20th. I had my aneurysm four years ago,’” Farquhar told MLB.com during a recent phone interview. “She was kind of shocked by it.
“She was like, ‘Wow, it feels like that happened so much longer ago than four years ago.’ With everything that has happened, the whole COVID, the whole country shutting down, the transition I made from playing to coaching, it seems like such a long time ago. But it was just four years.”
On a Friday night in Chicago four years ago, Farquhar replaced James Shields with runners on second and third and one out in the sixth inning of an eventual 10-0 loss to the Astros. The 35-year-old, now healthy and a happily married father of two sons and one daughter, allowed George Springer’s ground-rule double and Carlos Correa’s home run, while also striking out Jose Altuve and retiring Josh Reddick on a flyout to left fielder Nicky Delmonico.
But Farquhar doesn’t remember any of that game. He doesn’t remember collapsing in the dugout or medical treatment in the hospital after he was rushed from Guaranteed Rate Field.
“There are four days that I lost,” Farquhar said. “One of them being my last Major League game, which kind of stinks. But no, there’s still no recollection of those days.”
“I think about that day and my heart just kind of dropped a little bit, knowing how fragile life is, how precious it is,” said White Sox outfielder Adam Engel, who was the club's starting center fielder on that night. “Seeing somebody like that just all of a sudden have a moment where you are not sure if he’s going to make it, it’s just scary.”
Not only did Farquhar make it with the help of great doctors, his wife Lexie, and his children Madison, Landon, and Liam, but he even attempted a comeback with the Yankees in 2019. After two outings with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, the right-handed hurler knew his playing career was over.
“More than anything, I would say it was just like all the power I lost from my right side. Obviously, I kept it a little bit of a secret when I was trying to come back, right?” Farquhar said. “You are not going to ultimately tell everybody how it affected you. But you know, it’s one of those [things] that velocity took a big hit and you know how important velocity is when it comes to baseball.
“Hitters are taking better swings. But as far as my personality, all the other stuff, I’m the same guy. If it wasn’t for having to perform at such an elite level, you would say I walked away unscathed.”
Unscathed, and on to the coaching ranks. Farquhar was unofficially coaching and imparting important information even as a player, as his fellow White Sox pitchers will attest. But now he’s helping shape Chicago's top pitching prospects, such as Andrew Dalquist, Matthew Thompson, and Sean Burke.
His Major League goal hasn’t changed, even if his role has been altered.
“Of course, the end goal is to be in the Major Leagues,” Farquhar said. “On the field, the relationships that I have built with the players and my knowledge of all the data, plus all the things I’ve accomplished and gone through in my career, plus I’m fluent in Spanish …
“I’m giving you my whole resume,” Farquhar added with a laugh. “You know I think it’s a package for on-field stuff. There’s joy to seeing a guy listen to some tips or some advice or doing drills and then watching it click out on the mound.”
There are still yearly CT scans for Farquhar and some modifications to his lifestyle through medicine, but nothing too crazy, he noted. Although it certainly didn’t seem like it in the moment four years ago, Farquhar is truly blessed.
“Oh, big time. Big time,” Farquhar said. “Just hearing all the numbers about the survival rate and the effects that it has on the people who do survive, I feel just very fortunate to be in the situation I am.”
“Seeing him at Spring Training, [he was] happy upbeat Danny, like he was before everything happened. He’s a fighter,” Engel said. “He comes from a strong family, and I’m glad that things are going the way they are going for him. He’s in a role right now he really loves, helping other guys pitch, and baseball needs people like him.”