In my prime (last week…OK a couple of decades ago), I got hooked on paying 50 cents and getting three baseballs to throw. 

This was at various arcades that were visited by my family as we made trips and on vacations around the country.

I just wanted to test my arm strength to compare it to the pitchers that I saw on television. I was consistent in my numbers and I averaged somewhere around the mid-70s with my highest being 78.

To me those were great numbers for a middle age man “in his prime.”

My little story is nothing compared to what happened in Major League Baseball over the past year in one story.

Everyone remembers the movie The Rookie. Maybe not everyone since it was released 17 years ago. Dennis Quaid plays a Texas high school baseball coach (Jim Morris) who makes the Major Leagues after trying out when he was old.

Well, last year Nathan Patterson put up some pretty amazing numbers in those speed reading machines.

Patterson had never played baseball past high school and never really took the thought seriously during the offseason. Last year he hired a coach to help him see if he could pitch at the MLB level by developing his speed.

He went to a pro-day tryout that was attended by several professional scouts.

That visit resulted in getting the attention of the Oakland A’s organization.

He was filmed by his brother throwing at a Colorado Rockies concourse vending area. He threw 96 miles an hour in mid-July. Of course, this video became an Internet darling.

His brother stated that someone should sign him before it was too late.

The A’s did just that. They signed him on Aug. 2.

Oakland wasted no time in getting the boy rolling. Thursday night he pitched for an A’s farm team in the Arizona League.

He only faced three batters in his debut. However, he struck out three batters swinging.

You have to love feel-good stories like this one. Of course, I lived in Kansas City and there is no love for anything Oakland.

As this young man develops, it will be great to follow his progress and see who plays him in the movie about how the software salesman turned into a professional baseball player.

Jeff Brasel is the sports editor of the Newton County Times. E-mail him at sports@newtoncountytimes.com or follow him at twitter.com/jeffbrasel.

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