Kevin Kiermaier’s Amazing Turn for the Better

Most of you probably know Kevin Kiermaier as an answer to a trivia question, as a player who made his MLB debut in the extra game of a regular season, game 163.  Others may know him as a plus outfielder, who may be among the best the organization has ever had defensively.

But what you probably don’t know is that in a sport with such razor-thin margins between success and failure, that Kevin Kiermaier could just as easily have been patrolling the streets of Ft Wayne as a police officer, rather than patrolling center field for the Tampa Bay Rays.

Let’s rewind to 2008.  Kevin Kiermaier was playing for Bishop Luers HS in Indiana.  He’s the only player ever from that high school to make the majors, and one of only two to ever be drafted.  It was his senior year and he had yet to truly be discovered.  In fact, going into the state tournament, Kiermaier’s only opportunity to continue playing baseball in college was at a pair of Indiana NAIA schools, Indiana Tech and Huntington University.  Only Cleveland’s Josh Judy has made it to the majors from either of those schools, so that route would have made it awful hard to be noticed.

That being the case, Kiermaier was just hoping to help his high school advance beyond the state sectionals.  Let’s now pick up the story in Kiermaier’s voice:

So Kiermaier, who eventually was moved at Parkland JC from SS/P to the outfield was one pitch away from going on to a career in criminal justice.

Had he not run to first base on a walk while playing for Parkland JC, he may not have been drafted by the Rays, and may not have even been selected that season.

While he is likely to spend a significant portion of 2014 with Triple-A Durham, it will make quite a Cinderella story when he ends up with the Rays for an extended period.  Based on how he has the ball now rolling in his favor, it would be hard t count him out.

- Neil Solondz

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