When Steve Delabar struck out potential tying run Buster Posey in the 7th inning of the All-Star game last year, it was the perfect ending to a story so improbable, it would seem like something invented by Hallmark for a made for TV movie.
Drafted in the 29th round by the San Diego Padres in 2003, it was more than unlikely that Delabar would ever make the majors (only 10% of all minor leaguers make it to the Big Show). 5 years later, after never making it past Class A, Steve was out of the Padres organization and was pitching for an independent team in Massachusetts when he broke his arm. With nine screws and a plate in his arm, there was little doubt now that Steve's dream of pitching in the big leagues was over.
A pragmatist, Steve Delabar headed home to Kentucky, got his degree from the University of Louisville and landed a part time teaching gig that allowed him to serve as an assistant coach for a high school team. At least he was still part of the game he loved so much and thought that perhaps somewhere down the road, he might be able to make it back to the majors as a coach.
Steve also moonlighted at the Players' Dugout - a nearby baseball training center - as a pitching instructor. It's there, that he was introduced by the owner, Joe Newton, to a revolutionary program invented by Steve House that revolved around balancing and strengthening pitchers' shoulders.
Thinking it would be a great thing for the pitchers on his high school team, Steve decided to try the program out for himself so that he could better teach it. In less than two months, Delabar's fastball went from the high 80's to 98 MPH.
Amazed by Steve's progress, Newton contacted a scout he knew in the Seattle Mariners organization and set up a tryout. The Mariners signed Steve and he quickly progressed from their Class A team to their major league team in 2011. Last year, he was traded to Toronto for outfielder Eric Thames.
Entering this year's All-Star break with an impressive 58 strikeouts in 42 innings and 1.71 ERA, Steve Delabar was selected by the fans for the final roster spot on the American League team. When Delabar struck out Posey to end the 7th, it shut down the last real threat the National League mounted in the All-Star game.
A truly unbelievable story of how hard work, perseverance and learning the right mechanics and conditioning drills can really pay off. You can read the full story here.
Pitching Machine Stop Quote of the Week:"The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won't." - Henry Ward Beecher