If you were wondering where Michael Henriquez Jr. went, the answer is, except for college, the
one-time Conch baseball standout was right here, in Key West, where he graduated from high
school in 2011.
Until he left for college at Florida Gulf Coast University, the now 28-year-old’s life was baseball.
“Since I was 6, from tee ball, all the way through the Conchs,” he told me as we talked in his office at Key West City Hall. “I played catcher and second base. At Ramona’s Shirt Put On, my coach asked for a volunteer to play catcher, and since my coach was my dad, I guess that’s how I became a catcher. In the youth leagues, I also played for Dennis Pharmacy, Lions and Key West Firefighters. My coaches were my dad, Fredy Varela and Joey Gondolfo. Good coaches, all of them. I pretty much caught the entire time.” And he was happy the entire time.
“I loved it,” he said. “I enjoyed playing with my friends. I enjoyed the Little League aspect of it. I grew up with the same group of guys from age 6 through 18.”
He played football for the Conchs, too, as a linebacker. And he was a captain of both teams. “I’m an advocate of playing multiple sports,” he said. “You play with a different group of guys in each sport. You learn about yourself. In the summertime, I focused on baseball until two-a-days started in football. Then, I switched over.”
In baseball, his coach was Miguel Menendez and his favorite position was catcher. “I come from a family of catchers. Bookie Henriquez is my grandfather. His brother, Moe Henriquez, was Ralphie Henriquez’s grandfather.”
His father, Mike Henriquez Sr., is an educator, currently the school district’s alternative education director. Michael’s younger brother, Anthony, also played for the Conchs. He was All-Monroe County as a second baseman his junior year and as a catcher his senior season. He was also All-County in football as a senior.
Once he graduated from high school, he decided he had had enough baseball. “I had a few offers to play in college, but I never pursued them,” he said. “I gave Key West High School everything I had. I didn’t feel like playing anymore.” He went off to FGCU near Naples, but he found the baseball bug hadn’t left him. “I was a founding member of a club team and we played other colleges,” he said.
In 2015, Henriquez graduated with a bachelor’s degree in hospitality business management. He worked briefly in hospitality in Bonita Springs and as an administrative assistant in the Student Affairs office, where he “met some very, very good people.”
Then it was time to come home to Key West, where he became the city’s senior property manager for the past five or six years. “Thanks to Randy Niles. He taught me. He took me under his wing. I wouldn’t be where I am today without him.” His job calls for him to supervise several city-owned properties.
In Key West, there’s little outlet for former baseball players. So, like many, he plays in the men’s softball league “with my buddies.” And he coaches his 6-year-old son Grayson in flag football and 6-and-under baseball. And on Dec. 11, he and Alexis Averette, who grew up together, will be married. “And history is yet to be written.”