Remember the movie The Rookie starring Dennis Quaid made in the early 2000’s? This story isn’t exactly the same but there are parts that are very similar. A pitcher with a great amount of potential who never quite got it right; a last ditch effort to realize a life-long dream; and a triumph that no one saw coming. Chris Nunn signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers just one day after his mother underwent her first chemotherapy session for breast cancer. And he achieved all of this from a video that was posted on the internet.
Although this is a crazy story, it is not entirely impossible to see it coming. Nunn was a 24th round pick of the Padres in 2012 out of Lipscomb University. He was a moderate success throughout his first 3 years in the system and was even getting looks from the Padres in ’14 but never quite made the jump. The next year was not as kind to Nunn as hip problems plagued him and resulted in a 7.03 ERA over 47 games. The Padres didn’t see enough promise from Nunn and ultimately cut him at the end of the season. Disappointed, Nunn returned to Nashville to further his education.
Nunn continued to work out with his pitching coach in case a call from a club came at some point. And a call did come in 2017 when the Brewers gave him a chance from the recommendation from his old Minor League coach Pat Murphy. The deal was not up to his standards though when he found out they wouldn’t offer him anything before than a Class A assignment. The stop for Nunn came when the Chicago Cubs plucked him off of an Independent League roster and assigned him to Double A. Next up was a stop in the Houston Astros farm system where he had a stop on their Double A system for a while.
Nunn has been bouncing around the Minor and Independent leagues for a few years now so thoughts of doubt had now began. Was he ever going to make it to the Majors? Was he good enough? Should he just go get a degree and focus on his future career? These are questions that almost any athlete has to ask themselves in their career. Not all of us are blessed with Major League talent like Nunn so he kept going and kept looking for a another way in. That route stunningly came through something called the PitchingNinja and the Flatgtound app.
These apps showed clubs that he was still there and ready to help them immediately. In a day and age where society that social media and the internet do so much harm, here is an example of where it can do a lot of good.
As a result of visiting a physical therapist and improving the muscles surrounding his ailing hip, Nunn was no sporting a blistering fastball hovering around 97-99 MPH. The video from the app blew up and it soon racked up somewhere around a million views and spurred newfound interest from MLB clubs. The Texas Rangers sent scouts down to watch Nunn and soon enough he was back in the MLB.
This is a story of perseverance if I’ve ever seen one. How Minor League players can bounce around from place to place and soon get lost in the system and out of the league just like that. It’s also an example of some of the good that the internet can do for an individual that just needs one more shot.
Dave Cook – Contributor – WTF Sports