Every Master Was Once a Disaster

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every master was once a disaster

There is a saying that always appears during the trials and tribulations when someone aspiries to rise to the top. Every master was once a disaster. It can cover a broad range of possibilities.  Everything from you had a few hiccups on the way to you flat out sucked when you began this endeavor.   

What does this all mean?   For starters, very few are actually prodigies.  You are going to have to cut your teeth in the areas of work ethic, focus, consistency, and gaining experience.  That is part of any trial and error process. Pitching is no different!  If every game has an inning of adversity which can make or break the outcome, how would it not affect the individual?  Let’s be honest, there is a far longer list of those who gave up when the going got tough than there is of those who persevered.   Naturally, at Slider Domination, we are going to focus on the winners and what they went through to achieve master status.  

There are all different degrees of being a master. A master at the high school level does not always correlate to success in college.  So on and so on…  


What this blog post will touch on is that:

1.) Baseball is a game of both Failure and of Redemption.

Just watch this video if you have any doubts to that comment.

 

2.). As I tell all my pitchers:

Baseball is an Extremely rewarding game to those who fully dedicate themselves.

 

Let’s have a look at some success stories of those who were down and out on their luck with baseball and came back around to accomplish some remarkable things. Quite possibly, even the greatest thing this game has to offer.

 

 

Every Master
Was Once a Disaster
Jeff Weaver

every master was once a disaster

Jeff Weaver was a 1st round pick by the Detroit Tigers in 1998 and made it up quickly in 1999 after only 11 Minor League starts.  He was traded to the Yankees in 2002 and was part of their AL Pennant winner in 2003.  After 2 straining years in the Bronx, Weaver went home to Southern California and played for the Dodgers and Angels.

In 2005 with the Dodgers, he has his best W-L season of his career going 14-11.  The next season in 2006 with the Angels, we went 3-10 with a 6.29 ERA in 16 starts.  His struggles resulted in being Designated for Assignment.  As the Angels cut ties with Weaver, who took his roster spot?  His little brother, Jered Weaver. Thats who!  That has a certain degree of national embarrassment, does’t it?  

Well, Not Exactly!  The elder Weaver was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals and got straightened out by Dave Duncan, arguably one of the best pitching coaches ever. Weaved helped the Redbirds win the NL Central Division title and picked up 3 wins in the postseason.  The 3rd win being the World Series Clincher. In Game 5, Weaver pitched 8 innings allowing only 1 earned, striking out 9 to beat the Tigers and some Rookie Phenom named Justin Verlander.  

every master was once a disaster

To go from struggling pitcher, being traded and having your younger brother take your roster spot to becoming a World Series champion in just a matter of 3 months is remarkable.  Poise and perseverance along with the willingness to make adjustments and be coachable in a time of doubt can have huge payoffs. What’s bigger than a World Series ring in this game?  

every master was once a disaster

As for the sibling rivalry?  In 2009, Jeff was back pitching with the Dodgers.  On June 20 of that season, he took the mound in the Interleague Freeway Series against the Angels.  Younger brother Jered was his counterpart for the cross town rivals.  The Dodgers won 6-4 as Jeff earned the win while Jered took the loss.  

 

Every Master
Was Once a Disaster
Kyle Snyder

every master was once a disaster

A lesser known name here, yet still a remarkable change of events. Kyle Snyder was a 1st round pick by the Kansas City Royals out of North Carolina in 1999.    He debuted in the Show in 2003.  He endured Tommy John Surgery in the minors and missed all of the 2004 season with a labrum tear in his right shoulder.

In 2006, he began the season in Triple A Omaha and was recalled in June.  His first and only appearance with the Royals was on June 8th.  As the starting pitcher against the Texas Rangers, he went 2+ innings and surrendered 9 runs (5 Earned) on 10 hits.  The Royals promptly Designated him for Assignment.  

It is a very dismal feeling when a team that lost 100 games that season said they had no use for him.  The Boston Red Sox picked him up on waivers a week later.  He finished the season with the Red Sox going 4-5 with almost a strikeout per inning, while splitting time between the rotation and the bullpen.   The following season in Boston, the tall lanky righty found his niche in the bullpen appearing in 46 games with a 3.81 ERA.   

every master was once a disaster

In a just a 16 month span, Snyder went from being released by one of the worst teams in the game to a World Series champion!  You never know what this game has in store for you when you stay dedicated to the process.

After his playing days, Snyder worked his way up through the Tampa Bay Rays system as a pitching coach.  For the upcoming 2018 season, Snyder has been named the Major League pitching coach for the Rays.

 

Every Master
Was Once a Disaster
Ron Guidry

every master was once a disaster

The 3rd Round pick by the New York Yankees in 1971, Guidry debuted in 1975. He was used solely as a reliever his first 2 seasons, while being a sent to back and forth to Triple.  A frustrated Guidry had enough and was ready to quit and go back home when a call to the bullpen one night in 1976 was not intended for him to get loose to come into the game.  Rather the call was to let him know that he was being sent back down.  After the game, he was dead set to drive from New York to his home in Louisiana.  At the advice of his wife, Bonnie, the Gator gave it another chance.  

In 1977, teammate and soon to be Cy Young Award winner, Sparky Lyle taught him how to throw his well known Slider and everything clicked.  By midseason, he broke into the Yankees starting rotation and helped them win their first World Series in 15 years.

The following year in ‘78, the left hander had a season for the Ages.  With his refined arsenal and another year to master the Slider, Louisiana Lightning went 25-3 with a 1.74 ERA.  Undoubtedly, en route to winning the AL Cy Young and leading the Yankees to a repeat World Championship.  

Guidry’s biggest performance of the year was his 18 strikeout game against the Angels on June 17 at Yankee Stadium.   

every master was once a disaster

The lefthander went on to again lead the AL in wins and ERA one more time for each in separate seasons. The 4x All Star and 5x Gold Glover went on to be nominated as the exclusive captain of the Yankees and have his number retired by the world’s most notable sports franchise. He also spent 2 years as the Yankees pitching coach during their 13 consecutive postseason appearances.

Not bad for someone who was set on giving up.

 

Every Master
Was Once a Disaster
Sandy Koufax

every master was once a disaster

This is the godfather of all pitchers who fit the description of every master was once a disaster.  Sandy Koufax was signed as a 19 year old by his hometown Brooklyn Dodgers.  Because of his $14,000 signing bonus, he was considered a Bonus Baby.  At the time, that meant he had to be kept on the Major League Roster for 2 seasons. This rule may have slowed his development as he had to learn on the job how to pitch in Major League Baseball. With his Plus+ fastball, he showed signs of greatness. However, it was his control issues that made him inconsistent.  

In his first 6 seasons (1955-60), Koufax was 36-40 with a 4.10 ERA.  Despite averaging 8.9 K/9 IP, which was colossal at the time, he was also allowing 5.3 BB/9 IP.  In 1958, he lead the lead with 17 Wild Pitches.  By 1960, Koufax was ready to quit.  Even throwing his glove and spikes in the trash when the season ended.  

Sandy decided to give baseball one more chance in 1961. To assure his pledge, he showed up to spring training in his best shape yet.  He understood that he had to push himself to see how good he could truly be.  

I became a good pitcher when I stopped trying to make them miss the ball and started trying to make them hit it.

 – Sandy Koufax

 

During a spring training league game, Koufax began the 1st inning by walking the bases loaded on 12 pitches.  During an obviously needed mound visit, catcher Norm Sherry told Koufax to focus more on locating his pitches rather than overthrowing.  This was the turning point of Koufax’s career and life, as he proceeded to escape trouble in the 1st inning by then striking out the side and throwing 7 no hit innings.  Koufax’s career took off from there in the most blazing, dichotomous direction ever.  

Long story short, from 1961-66, Koufax was 129-47 with a 2.19 ERA with 35 Shutouts!  3 of those seasons he posted a sub 2.00 ERA.  3 times he gathered over 300 strikeouts, including 382 K’s in 1965.  7 All Star Games, 5 consecutive ERA tites, 4 No Hitters (1 Perfect Game), 3 Cy Youngs, 3 times winning 25 games or more, 2 World Series MVPs, and National League MVP honors.  WOW!

every master was once a disaster

Koufax retired after the 1966 season at the age of 30.  In 1972 he was the youngest player ever elected to the Hall of Fame at age 36.  His legendary status of being on the top of the list for every master was once a disaster lives on as his ability to overcome his struggles continues to inspire pitchers everywhere.  The baseball world continues to thank him for not giving up!  

 

Every Master
Was Once a Disaster
Late Bloomers

every master was once a disaster

Nothing is guaranteed in this game.  You can pitch great and lose, you can feel terrible in the bullpen and still find a way to win, and everything in between.  Keep in mind that baseball is a sport built for late bloomers, late developers. Unlike basketball and football, where the top players are developed and well know while still in high school. Baseball is a more gradual process.  Even with high draft picks, it will take a trial and error process to understand and grow into your body, develop a solid work ethic, understanding pitching situations, consistently throwing all your pitches, and mastering the mental game.  It is more than just having great velocity.  

As you can notice from the first 2 stories here of Jeff Weaver and Kyle Snyder, there is always a need for pitching in this game.  When a team feels that you can help them win, they will give you a chance to prove your value unless you show otherwise.  Despite the downside of the game that most of us will have to endure from time to time, never lose focus.  It is your greatest strength. Unbridled focus enhances your dedication to the craft of pitching and a willingness to be coachable.  Combined with your love for this great game, will get you through the bleak times and back into the spotlight.  As you can see from these 4 examples out of thousands more, Baseball is an Extremely Rewarding Game for Those who Fully Dedicate Themselves.   

 

Keep Dominating!!!

 

 

 

About The Author

Brad Kirsch Slider DominationBrad Kirsch is the Owner/Creator of Slider Domination. He is a former professional pitcher who blogs about all things Pitching. Brad has also authored the AudioBook, 7 Reasons Why YOU Should Throw a Slider. If you haven’t done so already, you can Download the AudioBook Here

 

 

 

every master was once a disaster

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