Lunch pail Yale


Junior outfielder Yale Rosen awaits an at-bat during a home game against Western Carolina, Friday, Feb. 21.

From an early age, WSU junior outfielder Yale Rosen was taught to work hard. He started working when he was 13 years old, splitting wood for $5 an hour. As Rosen grew older, he remembered what his parents told him about working for everything he wanted, both in life and on the baseball field. 

“My parents are really my biggest influence in life,” Rosen said. “They really taught me how to work and my work ethic, and they persuaded me to get a job at a young age, to learn work ethic, and learn how to just be a man.”

One year after his first job, Rosen began working for his neighbor, Kevin Counts, who owned a landscaping company. Rosen said Counts was not only his boss, but also his baseball coach, and gave him a flexible schedule to learn how to balance work with sports. 

“He showed me how to work and then to take that work ethic into baseball,” Rosen said of the man who was a second father figure to him. “Then once that was done, I’d come back over there afterward and hang out. Then I would go home every night. It was a daily routine.”

Counts said Rosen was a beast on the baseball field and would stay after practice many times with his teammates to see who could hit the most home runs. Of all the qualities Rosen had, his tenacity toward life impressed Counts the most. 

“Whether or not it was when he worked for us, or when he was playing ball, or all of that, he just was a go-getter,” Counts said. 

That routine became more rigorous as Rosen grew older. During his senior year, he said he had to drive to Bellevue right after school to play baseball, come home at 10 or 11 p.m., wake up in the morning to lift weights, and then repeat the whole process again. 

“It was a non-stop grind, but it was just something that I needed to do to get myself to where I am now,” Rosen said.

No matter how tired he is, Rosen said he loves baseball so much that it is easy to endure the fatigue. 

Counts said he never chose to give Rosen any sort of advice or guidance. Instead, Rosen was the one who came to Counts ready to work. 

“Yale presented himself as wanting to learn and wanting to work for us, and given that I was in the landscape industry, it gave me a lot of opportunities for the ballplayers that played for us to give them a summer job,” Counts said. “He was one of the ones who chose to pursue that, and when a man wants to work, I’m going to do everything I can to teach him everything I can.”

Now Rosen plays for the WSU Cougars under Head Coach Donnie Marbut and continues his home-run-hitting ways and his tenacious work ethic. Last year, he tied for the team lead in home runs with seven. He also had the second-most RBIs on the team during the 2013 season. Marbut relies on Rosen as one of the most important hitters in the middle of the Cougars’ lineup. 

However, Marbut said he is impressed with more than just Rosen’s ability to put pressure on opposing pitchers. The values Rosen’s parents and neighbor taught him early in life continue to shine through the student-athlete. 

“He’s a really mature guy that knows what he wants. We call him a ‘lunch pail’ type of guy,” Marbut said. “We know he’s the type of guy that’ll come to work, and he’ll earn it.”

Rosen’s love for baseball made him work harder than others when he reached high school. During his freshman year, to get in shape for baseball Rosen joined the swimming team, which turned into something more special than he might have imagined. 

Rosen qualified for state competition in swimming after his first year of swimming in high school. He continued swimming for the rest of his high school career and made state in each of those four years, on both the relay team and in individual competition. 

“My mom told me that she doesn’t know how to swim, so she told me the first thing that I’m going to do is learn how to swim,” Rosen said. “Then I ended up being pretty good at it, so it was one of those things that I could stop and start and be one of the best in the state.”

Rosen said he always tried to do anything he could, whether it was on the farm where he grew up or when he worked for his neighbor. 

“I don’t think anything has ever been given to him in his life,” Marbut said. “He’s always had to earn everything that he’s worked for, and he does that in the classroom, he does it on the practice field, he does it in the weight room. He’s just non-stop working.”

If one thing has stuck with Rosen throughout his life, it has been the desire to work for everything he has. Now that he has earned a core spot in the Cougar lineup, he has yet another thing to show for his lifelong pursuit of being the hardest worker.