I always thought that my story had a special ending, something that they'd make a movie about. I was the player who never took a day off, and never gave up. I endured two elbow surgeries, both sending me crashing down at peaks in my career. I never quit, and always believed in myself.
I didn't earn a scholarship to college, and walked-on to a small Division-I school. My scholarship teammates thought I was going to be cut as a freshman, but I kept my head up and kept making progress, one small step at a time.
But, it never got easier.
I ascended the ranks, and was the #1 pitcher my last two seasons in college. I threw my last collegiate pitch in front of over a dozen MLB scouts, walking off the mound after pointing at my elbow. Tommy John surgery ended my collegiate career.
I battled back, and made my professional debut two years later, to the day; it was the biggest triumph in my life. Yet just two years later, I found myself walking off the mound, once again with a ruined elbow. Back to the surgeon I went.
It Wasn't fair. But, no one Owed me anything.
That second comeback was even harder, but it gave me some of my best years - three more in pro baseball, including a second All-Star selection. At 30, I was getting close - scouts were watching, talking to me. All I had to do was keep pitching the way I knew how, and I'd get my chance...I knew it.
And then, it happened. I didn't think much of it at first, but then the shoulder pain slowly got out of control. It crept, until I was no longer capable of being me. The fairytale ending of my story was no longer in focus. Doubt crept in, and the thing I loved most caused me nothing but misery.
Hanging Up My Cleats Was The Hardest Thing I've Ever Done.
I was SO sure I'd make it...but I didn't. My friends and family reminded me that I did everything I could, left it all out on the field, and could look back without regret. But, that didn't change anything. I failed.
So, I'm Telling My Amazing Story, And The Stories of Others.
People like you need to know what it's like to really, truly chase a dream. Dear Baseball Gods is my book and podcast about the journeys of many no-name players like myself, guys who gave it their all but fell short. For every Big League success story, there are 100 failures by mere mortals, all of whom are champions in their own right.
Listen in, be inspired, and carry on the legacy of the underdog.