One has to be tough to be a catcher.
Tough was certainly one adjective for Josh Gaub during his career as a four-year starter at catcher for Ashland University's baseball team. Consistent, durable, and leader also would be accurate descriptions.
"He was a bulldog," said Ashland head baseball coach John Schaly. "Playing the most demanding position on the field in our game, a position where he got constantly beat up…he was just a tough, tough player.
"He was a great leader, started as a freshman. To do it at that position is really rare. He took charge of our pitching staff right away as a freshman. Just his work ethic and how he played the game, people respected him right off the bat."
Gaub's pending induction into the Ashland University Hall of Fame on Oct. 12 has as much to do with his character traits and skill set as with his statistics – and those are impressive. Gaub is the fifth-best hitter all-time in Eagle baseball annals at .390, and is fourth in career hits (247), fifth in games played (207), tied for third in runs scored (200), fourth in doubles (46)…and has been hit by a pitch more than any other Eagle, too (67).
"I remember coach telling me as we were playing," Gaub said. "I knew Nate Moore even before I got to Ashland, and he was a big reason why I came to Ashland. I played with him when I was 16 or 17, and he was 18. I remember Schaly said, 'Nate Moore's going to be a Hall of Famer one day, and if you work your butt off, you can get in the Hall of Fame, too.' It was always in the back of my mind.
"I'm definitely appreciative."
And when it came to potentially getting a game off from the rigors of working behind the plate, Gaub wanted none of it.
"I would get kind of…when he said I was DHing or getting a day off. I always wanted to play," he said. "In a non-egotistical way, I gave us the best chance to win. I'm a control freak. If I wasn't playing catcher, I didn't have control of the game. You'd get maybe 3-4 at-bats a game, and maybe you'd have 30-45 minutes between an at-bat. It just never appealed to me.
"As far as getting beat up, it always just came with the territory. It never really phased me."
During Gaub's Ashland career (2001-04), the Eagles won 170 games and went to the NCAA Division II postseason all four years.
"At that time, we were probably one of the better sports teams on campus, so we got a lot of recognition for that," Gaub said. "It was a job, of sorts. It was a job I very much enjoyed, but you were working your butt off, whether it was financial aid or scholarship money. But it was the best job I could have had."
Gaub earned many honors during his time at Ashland, both for his work on the field and in the classroom. He landed second-team Academic All-American honors in 2004, was a two-time all-region selection, was named GLIAC Player of the Year in 2003, and was named All-GLIAC three times (first-team in 2003-04, second-team in 2002).
"He's very deserving. It was just a matter of time," Schaly said of Gaub, who is the seventh player during Schaly's tenure to go into the AU Hall of Fame. "He's right up there with some of the best we've ever had. Very deserving honor."
As for when Oct. 12 comes and he is in the Faculty Room at the John C. Myers Convocation Center for induction, Gaub said, "It will be a special day. I invited my family. Being there with my family, it's special. They did so much for me. It will be a cool moment.
"Schaly, for those four years, was with us every day, so having him and the some of the guys on the team there, that will be pretty cool."