The official site of the Torch, the student-run newspaper at Glenbrook North High School.


The official site of the Torch, the student-run newspaper at Glenbrook North High School.


The official site of the Torch, the student-run newspaper at Glenbrook North High School.


Alumnus Jason Kipnis returns

Former MLB player helps coach GBN team
Alumnus Jason Kipnis (‘05) low-fives sophomore Ethan Bass while he walks to first base in a home game against Yorkville on April 20. Kipnis is a two-time MLB All-Star and spent nine seasons playing for Cleveland and one season for the Chicago Cubs. Photo by Lara White

Tied 6-6 against the Chicago Cubs in the bottom of the ninth inning in game seven of the 2016 World Series, alumnus Jason Kipnis (‘05), who played second base for Cleveland, stepped up to the plate to face Cubs pitcher Aroldis Chapman.

“Chapman closed for [the Cubs], and at that time I believe he was the hardest throwing guy on earth,” said Kipnis. “When I hit the ball, I was just a hair fraction out in front of it. I think about if I hit it a second later, maybe the ball would have gone a little further and it would have stayed a little bit more fair, but I was just a little too early.”

Cleveland lost the World Series 8-7 in the tenth inning.

“Growing up in Chicago, it’s like, ‘Oh man, [the Cubs] finally get to a World Series and I’m gonna have to play against them for it,’” said Kipnis. “It tugged on my heartstrings a little bit.”

Kipnis retired from baseball in February of 2023. 

“Maybe it was my decision to retire, but at the same time, it really wasn’t [as] if no teams were calling,” said Kipnis. “And I’m at peace with that. I did everything I could to stay ready, but it just wasn’t in the cards.”

Justin Weiner, head coach of the baseball team at Glenbrook North, and Kipnis grew up in Northbrook together and both graduated from GBN in 2005.

Weiner and Kipnis had always discussed coaching together, so when Weiner became head coach last year, getting Kipnis to return to GBN was as simple as having a conversation, Weiner said.

According to junior Chase Petersen, it has taken time to get accustomed to being around Kipnis.

“It was definitely a little nerve-wracking for me because he’sacelebrity,” Petersen said.

Petersen tries to ask Kipnis as many questions as possible, he said.

“He’s done it,” said Petersen. “You just know what he tells you is going to help you out. I also think that it just inspires me. I can do it too. I’m a kid from Northbrook, like he was, and I have that possibility of being just like him.”

According to Kipnis, he tries to be himself when he coaches and uses the knowledge he has accumulated through his MLB career.

“I try to stick to what I know holds true to the game of baseball,” said Kipnis. “But if you ask where my knowledge comes from besides from my career, it’s probably who I played under, so guys like [former Cleveland manager] Terry Francona and even my father. There are little things that they would say to me that I found myself saying to guys on the team.”

According to Petersen, he recalls watching Kipnis play in the All-Star games and the World Series.

Kipnis had his 1,000th hit against the Chicago White Sox in 2018.

“It was a little kid’s dream for me,” said Kipnis. “I hit a walkoff for my first ever hit in the major league, so I started thinking why wouldn’t my 1,000th be a walkoff too … Then for it to happen the way it did with a walkoff grand slam was just icing on the cake.”

When the GBN baseball team traveled to Florida this spring break, a student who rode on the same bus as Kipnis and the team told Kipnis that he wears number 22 because of him, Kipnis said.

“There’s a lot of times after my career when I was sad to be done playing,” said Kipnis. “It’s stuff like this that lets me see what kind of impact I’ve had.”

About the Contributor
Lara White, Sports Editor
Lara White (‘25) is a Sports Editor and has been a member of Torch since her sophomore year. Previous positions: Staff Writer (22-23).