Flexen delivers for his team, the Seattle Mariners. He made a long and
arduous trek through the minor leagues and South Korea to make it to the
Seattle starting pitching rotation.
was in the 2nd grade and she was in kindergarten in Newark,
California, in the Bay Area. They began dating when she was
a seventh grader, then drifted apart. They began dating again
when they were both graduates of Newark Memorial High
School and that time it stuck.
Not long after Chris the younger in 2015 bought a house
in PGA Village — he is in a bigger, second house purchased
there now — his parents followed him to Port St. Lucie to be
near their only child.
Chris, the major leaguer, met Raven Wade when he was
in the fourth grade and she was a third grader. They became
better friends once they were both at Newark Memorial High
School and began dating late in Chris’ senior year.
On Christmas 2019, Chris got down on one knee in front
of her parents and the Christmas tree and asked Raven to
marry him. They will wed after the baseball season. They had
planned a wedding in 2020 but like countless other couples,
postponed their nuptials in 2020 because of the pandemic.
BORN FOR BASEBALL
There are family stories about Chris starting to throw a ball
as young as 2. Chris Sr. played baseball through junior college,
and he and his friends, who Chris the son called uncles,
played baseball and softball into adulthood. He played first
base and the outfield. When she was in high school, his mother
played on the varsity softball team all four years.
“I was born into baseball and fell in love with it right
away,” Chris Flexen Jr. said.
By the time he was 4, Chris, the son, was playing on a Tee
Ball team coached by his mom and dad.
Chris Jr. says that he and his friends used to play a lot of
Wiffle ball, and when none of his friends were around, his
father and he would toss and hit baseballs in their front yard
Wiffle ball and tee-ball became competitive baseball, and
by the time he was 8, Chris was good enough to be recruited
by several travel baseball teams, which he played on even
when he was in his early high school years. He was a varsity
baseball player all four years at Newark Memorial, where he
also played third base and second base. Even though he was
the starting quarterback on the school’s football team as a
sophomore, he lost interest in that sport and concentrated on
He was the ace starting pitcher on the baseball team from
the time he was a sophomore. As a senior he had a batting
average of .368 with two home runs. He had a remarkable
0.44 earned run average, a 9-2 won-loss record and struck out
125 batters in 80 innings.
The tall pitcher was ready to attend Arizona State University,
a national collegiate baseball powerhouse, but when the
Mets drafted him in the 14th round, he signed and received a
He had some all-star caliber years in the minor leagues,
including for the St. Lucie Mets. But he was hit hard and
walked a lot of batters when he pitched in the majors for the
New York Mets. There were some highlights, though.
More than 40 friends and family traveled to see him make
his major league debut at age 23 in July 2017 in San Diego,
where he gave up a home run to the first batter he ever faced.
But two weeks later in New York, he won his first major
league game and hit a double in the fifth inning.
TOPS AT THE TABLE
Jake Bailey, a real estate agent who zooms around PGA
Village in, what else, a golf cart, met Flexen when he played
golf with him. Bailey is a former star pitcher for Lincoln
Park Academy in Fort Pierce and he pitched for Indian River
and Brevard community colleges as well as the College of
Charleston. He was drafted in the late rounds by the Toronto
Blue Jays but decided to stay in college.
Bailey, at 6 feet, 6 inches, is even taller than Flexen. The
younger Flexen invited Bailey to his house in PGA Village
where the two played ping pong, which is often a pastime for
baseball players. Bailey was the champion ping pong player
among baseball players at Indian River.
“I knew I was good at ping pong and I was talking trash
to him,” Bailey said. “We get to playing and I realize within
three or four volleys that I didn’t belong at the same table.
Every time he hit it, the ball spun about a foot to the side.
And it was fast! I swung and whiffed. I knew I was playing
against a man who played a ping pong I don’t know.”
Bailey has spent some time with Flexen playing cards and
golf as well as being humbled in table tennis.
“Chris is a very, very smart man,” Bailey said. “He could
probably do well in any field he wanted to go into. He’s responsible.
He lives a clean, organized life. He says things and
makes sense, and he listens when people talk. That will take
him a long way in the major leagues.” E
Port St. Lucie Magazine 23