If you were a ballplayer...

Rasputin

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Oct 4, 2001
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I'm trying to avoid the incessant negativity of reality so I'm inviting y'all to engage in some fantasy.

If you were the most athletic version of yourself, what is the highest level of baseball you could reach, and what would be your strengths and weaknesses?

I think I could have been a decent college second baseman. Good hands, mediocre range, adequate arm, good baseball smarts. Maybe drafted in a very late round back when they had very late rounds, and I'd flame out before getting to high A. At the plate, I'd be a halfway decent contact guy, decent eye, and virtually no power. There's just no version of me that has the eyesight required to be a decent hitter.
 

Moosey

Mooseyed Farvin
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Jul 20, 2005
4,246
CT
I want to say decent college starting pitcher. Lefty, had great control, had three pitches, could drop my arm angle. However, I probably couldn't hump it up past mid 80s with the fastball, so in all likelihood, college LOOGY.

Strengths: LOOGY. Weaknesses: LOOGY. =)
 

PC Drunken Friar

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Sep 12, 2003
14,816
South Boston
Maybe D1 or high level D3 third basemen (non-scholarship)? We had a pretty decent HS program (but division 3 or something). I was a great D 3rd basemen and I never struck out and walked a ton but had no power. I think my junior year BB/K ratio was like 25/2 (in 23-26 #of games). Between Babe Ruth (2 seasons) freshmen and sophomore years (split between Varsity and JV) I struck out 3 times. Legion summer ball before senior year tryouts (I have no idea if I had a shot at making a good squad) my elbow gave out a little. The doctor said I could play baseball (with surgery and no guarantee I wouldn’t miss some of the season) but no basketball or PT and play basketball, but no baseball. I liked basketball better and chose that. Was MVP of that basketball year…but we went 2-18.
 

SoxJox

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Dec 22, 2003
7,242
Rock > SoxJox < Hard Place
I was a collegiate air hockey champion. I don't think I could be any better than that. Although I was actually a very good Frisbee golf player as well in its earliest, earliest years.
 

Rasputin

Will outlive SeanBerry
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Y'all got the part where I said the most athletic version of you, right? 'Cause I hope y'all don't think the real version of me could have made a college baseball team.
 

Hank Scorpio

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Apr 1, 2013
7,102
Salem, NH
I had a window of about four years where I was a pretty decent player. I also sucked defensively.

If I kept playing baseball, I probably could have been an okay right fielder in high school, with a really pesky bat. A typical game for me was something like 0 for 0, 3 BB, 2 SB. One season I had an OBP over .900. Valuable in my own way, but I don’t think I’d ever make it in college ball.

I pitched once. I had some pretty wild breaking stuff, but no fastball. My coach put me on the mound once, purely out of desperation. I was 12, and thought I was hot shit, and threw each pitch with a different delivery… few a couple of, eephus pitches, a few overhand “palm balls”, and a bunch in some sort of weird sidearm, underhand hybrid.

My result? 1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 3K, 3 HBP

After I hit the second and third kid, there was some sniping from the parents. After the inning, the coach made some sort of remark about never letting me near the mound again. And he never did.

I guess, maybe my absolute ceiling might have been a bench player on a shitty college team. Pinch runner. Maybe a guy who can go out there and work a 12 pitch walk and rob a SP of an inning or something.
 

Bergs

funky and cold
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Jul 22, 2005
21,920
I'm trying to avoid the incessant negativity of reality so I'm inviting y'all to engage in some fantasy.

If you were the most athletic version of yourself, what is the highest level of baseball you could reach, and what would be your strengths and weaknesses?

I think I could have been a decent college second baseman. Good hands, mediocre range, adequate arm, good baseball smarts. Maybe drafted in a very late round back when they had very late rounds, and I'd flame out before getting to high A. At the plate, I'd be a halfway decent contact guy, decent eye, and virtually no power. There's just no version of me that has the eyesight required to be a decent hitter.
Same.
 

azsoxpatsfan

Does not enjoy the go
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May 23, 2014
4,844
I hit .536 with a 1.540 ops junior year of high school, and didn’t find out I had an astigmatism in my left eye until after graduating. I also destroyed my elbow (playing catcher) to a degree that I was told I’d need surgery if I wanted to try to play in college, so I’m fairly certain I hit my peak, but do wonder if I could’ve played in college if I’d known I’d needed glasses
 

Ale Xander

Hamilton
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Oct 31, 2013
75,142
I couldn't hit, nor catch. Semi-competent at grounders. I guess a mop up righty reliever in low A or 2B. (latter being what I was least worst at LL). But probably 3B/1B coach, I was a pretty good baserunner, for a not-fast guy.
 

pedro1918

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Mar 5, 2004
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My eyesight fell off the cliff around age 12/13. I went from an 11 and 12 year old Little League All-Star to a 13-14 year old barely passable catcher/outfielder who was just never going hit that curve ball. The move to the big diamond, and the fact that pitchers started, you know, “pitching” and I couldn’t see it, killed me.
 

ookami7m

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Jul 15, 2005
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Mobile, AL
The most athletic version of me would still be hampered by eyes with two totally different prescriptions leading to a lack of depth perception. So bullpen catcher?
 

jbupstate

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Dec 1, 2022
629
New York, USA
I was a decent athlete and ball player as a kid growing up on the south shore. We move to Gainesville, Florida during my freshman year of high school. I played Babe Ruth and couldn’t believe how much bigger the players were in Florida. I pitched in a game against a son of Roger Maris. My coach told me to not throw a fastball to that kid under any circumstances. I had him down 0-2 on junk but he kept fouling pitches off, I got tired and tried to sneak a fastball by him. BOMB! Coach was not happy. Next time up first pitch curve smashed over head of right fielder for inside the park. I’m backing up late throw home and as he runs by he tells me he didn’t have time to wait for a fastball. Still funny.
 

chrisfont9

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Hmmm... I had the irrational confidence of a pitcher and could spin em pretty well on my good days, but probably topping out at D3 college (in this idealized hypothetical). My only real potential in the game is throwing BP. Just painting from 70 feet.
 
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jon abbey

Shanghai Warrior
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Jul 15, 2005
72,120
I am pretty sure I have never actually played baseball, my mom didn't want me in Little League (not sure why) and I didn't really care and then I started fencing in 7th grade and stopped anything else.

But when I stopped fencing after college, I did play CF and led off for the Time Magazine co-ed Publishers League softball team for a few years. So let's say competent defensive CF, fast and very aggressive baserunner, zero power, just tries to hit line drives (I hit .760 the year we won). A very bad Steven Kwan-type?
 

Tony Pena's Gas Cloud

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Jun 12, 2019
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I had colleges scouting me in high school as a center fielder/speedy pain in the ass leadoff hitter. Wrecked my knee running winter track and missed nearly all of my senior year. Still got a scholarship from a D3 college but the knee never really healed and I was never the same, especially since speed was most of my game. So.....maybe without injury could have played at a decent D1 college as a Jason Tyner - good eye, base stealer, slap hitter, decent outfielder, zero power.
 

zenax

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Apr 12, 2023
393
I threw a split-finger fastball back in the late 1950s. I had been trying to throw a forkball but couldn't get a downward break so I tried throwing it three-quarter arm and the catcher did even get his glove on it because of the break. Unfortunately, I lived ten miles from where I went to high school and the classmate who lived next door to me (and got his driving license and a car when he turned 16 realized he wasn't going to make the team. I was left with the option of hitch-hiking and walking the last 3 to 4 miles to get home...so much for my baseball career).
 

luckiestman

Son of the Harpy
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Jul 15, 2005
33,298
I’ll answer this slightly differently but it also answers the question asked as I wasn’t really an organized ball sport person. I played pick up everything and some shit I was better at than others but for a lot of reasons no organized team sports. The guy I would be most like if we take the top off and get crazy is Mussina. The general point is, I have a defensive mentality. I’d rather strike out a power hitter than go long against an ace. I’d rather stone Gretzky than be Gretkzy. Old school middle linebacker when the NFL was different would be my favorite position. Basketball, I dont see it even as a fantasy. I guess Danny Ainge? Danny was a super athlete so not that aspect, but banging some threes, starting some fights, and doing psychological warfare is the type of shit I would do.

My favorite offensive position across sports would be if I was a juggernaut OG or somewhere on the line on a smash mouth run game team. I’d love to beat on Dline bullies for 70 snaps. Mash and frustrate those motherfuckers.
 

RG33

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Nov 28, 2005
7,312
CA
I was a 6’5” 152 lb shortstop that was “all glove, no stick” when I graduated high school. I still blame my Dad for not getting me on protein shakes, creatine, and whatever else needed to add 40 lbs of muscle. I wanted to be ARod before ARod. Yuck, that made me gag.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Mar 11, 2007
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I was a 6’5” 152 lb shortstop that was “all glove, no stick” when I graduated high school. I still blame my Dad for not getting me on protein shakes, creatine, and whatever else needed to add 40 lbs of muscle. I wanted to be ARod before ARod. Yuck, that made me gag.
I was the same- 6’2 freshman 140 lbs of pure muscle. The coach did put me on a crazy diet with protein shakes, high fat, high carb…. Did nothing. Can’t beat your insane metabolism at that age.
I was an incredibly good hitting good defensively at either corner. My max baseball potential ended there. No interest after I discovered skateboarding, drugs, art, music and found out girls were into me.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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Oct 1, 2015
25,221
For a time I was a good catcher with very good came-calling ability and a solid arm. Was never much more than a semi-decent contact hitter with zero power. Decent baserunner. I'd never ever have played beyond high school though. But catching was so much fun. I loved being in the center of all the action on every pitch.

I was a good high jumper in high school and that helped me play volleyball in college, but that kind of athleticism meant nothing on a baseball diamond, unfortunately.
 

bstoker7

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Aug 22, 2006
151
South Jordan, UT
I played baseball at a shitty D1 school. I had my first knee surgery at 13, three elbow surgeries in high school and two more knee surgeries in college. Take away the injuries and I probably would have made it to a better D1 school.
 

CantKeepmedown

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Jul 15, 2005
2,620
Portland, ME
Is there ever a situation where they would DH for an outfielder? I was quick and athletic. Could track down fly balls all over the place. Just could not hit anything for the life of me. Several 3K games. Several 3BB games. Spread out a few "oops" infield hits. Brutal
 

allmanbro

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Jul 19, 2005
363
Portland, Maine
In real life, I was basically the Bobby Dalbec of a d3 college team. So the ceiling if I had trained harder and put a lot more time in and maybe had a little more talent is probably the Bobby Dalbec of a d1 team?
 

Archer1979

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Jul 18, 2005
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Ultimately, I would have been a center-fielder. Great speed. Not a lot of power, but could hit for contact and could hit to all fields. Ya' know... slap hitter. But I never really let myself go physically, so my ceiling would have been what it actually was. I played a lot of softball.

While playing softball, occasionally we would run up against someone who played semi-pro (Tri-County league) and it was night and day between them and your standard softball player. If they couldn't make it...

I did get that to work to my advantage though while pitching. Thought process was that if they were so good, they wouldn't be playing at this level so there has to be a way to get them out. There was.
 

SLC Sox

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Jul 16, 2005
538
I could throw hard in little league and had great control but lacked any semblance of self-confidence. I always wonder how far I could have gone as a pitcher if I believed in myself a little bit. Maybe low level college? In the end I could jump higher than anyone I knew (helps being rail thin into your late 20s) so basketball was always more obvious.
 

Didot Fromager

New Member
Apr 23, 2010
32
In my mind's eye, as a little kid I was either Frank Malzone or Tommy Heinsohn, depending on the season. Malzone, because he was the only player I saw up close and personal (he lived a couple of blocks from my grandmother in Needham and sometimes I'd catch him mowing the lawn). Heinsohn because he seemed like something of a wise-guy that stood out from those old Celtic teams. Nothing to do with athletic ability of course.

Reality was different. In high school I hit about .400 but I'd say that more than half of my hits were out of the park home runs. I was so slow that if it didn't leave the field, I could almost guarantee I'd be thrown out at first (or strike out, which happened a lot, too). Defensively, they couldn't send me far enough out into right field to keep me from being dangerous. When I connected, though, watch out.
 

sezwho

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Jul 20, 2005
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Great thread, I might have made loogy - suspect even peak sezwho couldn’t hit and has limited glove, but somehow I could really chuck it.

I played baseball at a shitty D1 school. I had my first knee surgery at 13, three elbow surgeries in high school and two more knee surgeries in college. Take away the injuries and I probably would have made it to a better D1 school.
What the hell man that’s a tough run!

I was a collegiate air hockey champion. I don't think I could be any better than that. Although I was actually a very good Frisbee golf player as well in its earliest, earliest years.
This is great - I saw people playing ‘good’ air hockey and it was a blur. Is this really a competition thing? Intramural? A frat thing? Dunno why I’m fixated here, sorry:)
I'm trying to avoid the incessant negativity of reality so I'm inviting y'all to engage in some fantasy.

If you were the most athletic version of yourself, what is the highest level of baseball you could reach, and what would be your strengths and weaknesses?

I think I could have been a decent college second baseman. Good hands, mediocre range, adequate arm, good baseball smarts. Maybe drafted in a very late round back when they had very late rounds, and I'd flame out before getting to high A. At the plate, I'd be a halfway decent contact guy, decent eye, and virtually no power. There's just no version of me that has the eyesight required to be a decent hitter.
 

moondog80

heart is two sizes two small
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Sep 20, 2005
8,337
High school version of Bad Yoshida. Good bat to ball skills that result in an endless string of ground outs.
 

Ale Xander

Hamilton
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Oct 31, 2013
75,142
I was a 6’5” 152 lb shortstop that was “all glove, no stick” when I graduated high school. I still blame my Dad for not getting me on protein shakes, creatine, and whatever else needed to add 40 lbs of muscle. I wanted to be ARod before ARod. Yuck, that made me gag.
Or pasta/potatoes
 

sezwho

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Jul 20, 2005
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I was the same- 6’2 freshman 140 lbs of pure muscle. The coach did put me on a crazy diet with protein shakes, high fat, high carb…. Did nothing. Can’t beat your insane metabolism at that age.
I was an incredibly good hitting good defensively at either corner. My max baseball potential ended there. No interest after I discovered skateboarding, drugs, art, music and found out girls were into me.
Wow, compared to you guys I was a 6’2 155 pound load in high school ha!

Seriously though @RG33, I was paid in high school to document my diet (sponsored research project on cardio centered student athletes and I was rowing). I averaged 6800 calories a day and could not gain a pound.

About the only thing your dad could have given you was different DNA : )
 

luckiestman

Son of the Harpy
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Jul 15, 2005
33,298
I was a 6’5” 152 lb shortstop that was “all glove, no stick” when I graduated high school. I still blame my Dad for not getting me on protein shakes, creatine, and whatever else needed to add 40 lbs of muscle. I wanted to be ARod before ARod. Yuck, that made me gag.
I think you can forgive him.
Wow, compared to you guys I was a 6’2 155 pound load in high school ha!

Seriously though @RG33, I was paid in high school to document my diet (sponsored research project on cardio centered student athletes and I was rowing). I averaged 6800 calories a day and could not gain a pound.

About the only thing your dad could have given you was different DNA : )
You were jacked. I was 6’0 135-140
 

Sin Duda

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Jul 16, 2005
901
(B)Austin Texas
The only skill I see that I had that was translatable to pro baseball was great footwork around the bag as a short first baseman. I'm amazed sometimes at seeing the MLB players' funky steps at 1B. I topped out in Legion ball (age 18) and was not good enough for my CT HS team (Jeff Bagwell played there a few years later). My lasting memory was starting a triple play on my last play ever (line drive to 1B I snagged on a dive to my right, tagged runner leading off base, threw to SS from my stomach to get runner off 2B).
 

DJnVa

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Dec 16, 2010
54,439
I was an invited walk-on for a strong D2 team that featured future Olympian and MLB'er Michael Tucker. I didn't pursue that though.

In a perfect, yet somewhat realistic world, I would have been good glove, decent stick, kind of player. I would've been touted as a player that "knows the game" but "doesn't have all the physical tools" or something like that, and possibly been a bottom of the order hitter for a D2 college team at my peak in the early 90s.

In today's hyper-intensive, travel baseball world, perhaps I might've added a bit of strength and skill and done a bit better than that. But growing up there was no specialization--played each sport in it's season.
 

CarolinaBeerGuy

Don't know him from Adam
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Mar 14, 2006
10,244
Kernersville, NC
I was 6'1" 165 lbs. when I graduated high school. First base was my primary position as I could pick just about anything on our dirt and rock infield. I also spent a good amount of time at the hot corner because one year our starting third baseman decided he wanted to play golf instead of baseball. At the plate, I was a pretty good hitter, at least for our private school league. Average speed at best. Not much pop - I hit 3 total homers over the fence in 4 seasons of high school ball. I was named all region a couple times, so I was decent.

I pitched a good bit, but hovered in the high 60's, maybe low 70's. Excellent control, mixing 4 seam and 2 seam fastballs with a mediocre curve. I also mixed in a knuckleball on occasion. I was fortunate enough to be the winning pitcher in two state championship games, once as a freshman and again as a senior. All of this to say, if I'd hit the weight room and actually worked on baseball, I think I could have cut it at a small division 1 school. As it was, I also played (watched from the bench mostly) basketball and soccer so my focus wasn't where it needed to be. When it came to training and travel ball or American Legion, my parents never encouraged it because they wanted me working during the summers.
 

SoxJox

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Rock > SoxJox < Hard Place
This is great - I saw people playing ‘good’ air hockey and it was a blur. Is this really a competition thing? Intramural? A frat thing? Dunno why I’m fixated here, sorry:)
This was at Penn State in the mid '70s. I had a friend who was really into the game and had visions of setting up a national professional league. I mean, this guy was all in. He started off by setting up a competitive league on campus and I guess he attracted maybe 200 players, perhaps 20 of which were really serious about playing. My friend set up a sign-and-play arrangement where we could be matched with random members over the course of the school year. You had to play a minimum number of games and accumulate points each semester. Based on the results, he set up a single elimination (best of 3) bracket system. I won twice, lost in the finals once, and was soundly defeated by a high school classmate of mine in a semifinal.

I lost contact with the founder after I graduated, but man, what fun.
 

sezwho

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Jul 20, 2005
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This was at Penn State in the mid '70s. I had a friend who was really into the game and had visions of setting up a national professional league. I mean, this guy was all in. He started off by setting up a competitive league on campus and I guess he attracted maybe 200 players, perhaps 20 of which were really serious about playing. My friend set up a sign-and-play arrangement where we could be matched with random members over the course of the school year. You had to play a minimum number of games and accumulate points each semester. Based on the results, he set up a single elimination (best of 3) bracket system. I won twice, lost in the finals once, and was soundly defeated by a high school classmate of mine in a semifinal.

I lost contact with the founder after I graduated, but man, what fun.
Sounds awesome! One of those pied piper personalities and all of a sudden a professional air hockey league doesn’t seem so crazy lol
 

S. H. Frog

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May 13, 2011
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I had sick eyes - like 20/10; I'm a lefty with a decent arm; I have slow hands; I have a solid tennis backhand, so I could probably hit from both sides; I'm pretty fast when I'm in shape, and I can track balls well. That's the upside. Downside: I'm a headcase and I freeze up; my mind wanders easily.

I coulda been a mid-tier corner outfielder on a division three college team. I'd have gotten on base a fair amount. If I'd had the nerve for therapy in the eighties, I might have been reliable with the game on the line.
 

JOBU

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Sep 22, 2021
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I was tiny AF. Awesome fielder. Good speed. Punch and Judy hitter. Zero power. If I cared and applied myself maybe D3 maybe. But I would have ridden the bench surely.
 

TonyPenaNeverJuiced

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The dream was, of course, the big leagues. I got really serious about baseball at 12, moved to pitcher full-time at 14, and by junior year of HS I touched 91 (sitting 85-88). I was working my butt off. My two big flaws were being right-handed and lacking a solid breaking pitch. My circle change (Pedro was my idol) played well enough, but I couldn't get any snap on a curve or slider. My biggest mistake was playing an ungodly amount of wiffle ball starting the summer before my senior year, leading to a rapid decrease in velocity - something had gone wrong, and I was not lucky to hit 84. I never got the speed back. Before that, I'd got a lot of sniffing and tracking from decent D1 schools, and one pro scout who said he'd follow my progress senior year. That felt like I'd already punched my ticket.

I ended up in DIII with a good program, but the speed kept slipping, and I was at 78 going into my freshman season, barely making the team. Dicking around one afternoon, I did an early spring bullpen session getting progressively lower in a submarine motion, eventually about 4" off the ground. We had a gun up, and when I hit 81, the catcher and I stopped, called over the pitching coach, and begged: just let me show him. Three weeks later, I was closing games with an 84-ish riding fastball and a nasty, nasty slider (a previously failed overhand fork grip). I was already thinking of transferring D1, becoming some kind of ROOGY Mike Myers. Five weeks after that, a comebacker hit me in the foot – I didn't run again for 5 years. Blessing in disguise - I used the free time to get into putting on concerts on campus, and that became a fulfilling career.

One guy I played with and against who made it was Pedro Alvarez. He was my travel ball teammate for two years and my high school opponent for four. I mean, he was a different world. I saw him hit a 500ft+ home run with an aluminum bat that shattered in half. We'd call him "The Super Natural." My pride for a few years was his line against me junior year: 4-25, 7Ks, 1BB (intentional), 1 2B. Put it on my grave.
 

luckiestman

Son of the Harpy
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Jul 15, 2005
33,298
The dream was, of course, the big leagues. I got really serious about baseball at 12, moved to pitcher full-time at 14, and by junior year of HS I touched 91 (sitting 85-88). I was working my butt off. My two big flaws were being right-handed and lacking a solid breaking pitch. My circle change (Pedro was my idol) played well enough, but I couldn't get any snap on a curve or slider. My biggest mistake was playing an ungodly amount of wiffle ball starting the summer before my senior year, leading to a rapid decrease in velocity - something had gone wrong, and I was not lucky to hit 84. I never got the speed back.

Great story. What’s the deal with the dead arm never coming back. Nerve damage somewhere or something else?
 

TonyPenaNeverJuiced

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Great story. What’s the deal with the dead arm never coming back. Nerve damage somewhere or something else?
Very likely nerve damage in the elbow and shoulder. I should have sought more care for it immediately (dumb kid, no medical team at HS or DIII). I never had pain until 15 years later. Started with limited blood flow, tingling, etc. It turned out the whole shoulder and elbow was/is a mess. Blood flow and pain gone, but now my best softball days are behind me. Trying to learn that kind of pitching now. I suspect something would have snapped or gone really sideways sometime in college anyway.