My Path to Pitching

The story of a baseball player. 

BY BUD NORRIS

SECTION 1

EARLY LIFE

 

YOUTH

Being 5'2" as a starting pitcher in High School isn't typically a recipe for success. But, understanding what it's like to not have all the natural gifts provided me with the proverbial chip on my shoulder.  

(and more importantly a work ethic.)

 
 

FAMILY

Granted, I was lucky enough to be born into an amazing family and through them, I've come to realize the importance of America's Pastime through the generations. 

 
 

GRANDFATHER - THE HERO

My hero was drafted by the Yankees in the 40's. I can only imagine what playing for the Yanks back in the day was like. 

Despite being an epic story teller, my grandfather wouldn’t know either, as Uncle Sam drafted him the same year as the Yankees. Thus ending his career.

 

SUPERSTITION

I suppose the premature end to his career is why I don't take the opportunity to play baseball for granted. To remind myself, I write his initials "KN" before every start on the back of the mound. He is my hero. 

Baseball players are superstitious like that.

 
 

TRANSITION TO COLLEGE

Meanwhile, by my senior year of High School, my frame filled out and I grew another 10". 

My 90+ MPH fastball Caught the eyes of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. If you're in high school and are interested in an amazing community on a gorgeous beach, with great academics, SLO is for you. Top Notch. 

 

SECTION 2

PRO BALL

 

ASTROS

There is really only one way to make the big leagues for 99% of us. A lot of hard work and long bus rides through the minors. The situation in Houston was interesting. We were coming off a decade of sustained excellence, but many of the star players were near the end of their careers.

 
 

FIRST YEARS

Management noticed my now 95-97 MPH fastball and improved control of the slider. I was one of the first young guys to get called up as we shifted into the youth movement. 

(I came in for the great Roy Oswalt)

 
 

COOPERSTOWN

I had some great seasons in Houston, but throwing the Major League Baseball season opening pitch for the Astros in our first game in the AL was pretty special. My jersey and cleats hang in Cooperstown. 

 
 

TEAM SUCCESS

After being traded to Baltimore in a deadline deal, I realized we had a special team. Playing with All-Stars at seemingly every position, we had a great run the following year to make it to the ALCS. On a personal level, I won 15 games, going 9-1 against the AL East and beating Detroit in the playoffs.

 
 

CURRENTLY

I've bounced around the league these past couple years, but I've learned adversity is a good thing in the long run. 

 
 

PERK

My favorite side perk about being a pro is being able to hit the golf courses around the country.

(currently a scratch golfer)

 
 

PITCHING

I throw five pitches, I usually toss the four-seam or two-seam fastball (94-97 mph) and slider (83–87). I mix in the changeup (85–87) as often as I can. The slider is my best two-strike pitch. It carries a whiff rate of 38% last I checked.

 

SECTION 3

THE OPPORTUNITY

 

THE OPPORTUNITY

Build meaning and connection with every fan that comes to see us play. Baseball connects the generations. I learned that first hand. It's my turn to pass it along.

 

Baseball players have long shaped the public imagination. We're not always the best role models.  We have our ups and downs, the spotlight is challenging. But, facing adversity in a positive way is the best example to set for the next generations. Life is unpredictable and difficult. Baseball provides us with a metaphor of life. Play ball.

 
 

You need a little luck to go your way. But, you also need to work extremely hard. Baseball is for everyone.

 

My goal as a pro player is to connect the fans to the history of our wonderful game.