A Somewhat Brief Appreciation Of Colorado Rockies Pitcher Jon Gray

Question: who is a citizen of the Cherokee nation, has played three sports in high school, and likes to hunt for ghosts in his spare time? Answer: Colorado Rockies right-handed pitcher Jon Gray. Over the past few years, I have grown to become very appreciative of him.

Jon, an Oklahoma native, built his pitching resume early on in life. While attending Chandler High School, he played football, basketball, and baseball. To me, that’s really impressive. It goes to show just how hard of a worker someone is, and I honestly believe that really helped set Jon up for success.

As a senior in high school, Jon was the Little All-City Player of the Year and was named to the All-State Team. That’s a beautiful way to finish out your high school career. I see that as the stepping stones to something beautiful. Receiving those honors in high school is a sign of a beautiful career to come.

Jon’s talent carried with him to college. As a student-athlete at Oklahoma Eastern College, he pitched his way to a 2.89 Earned Run Average and a 6-2 win-loss record. That’s a good way to start your college career in baseball. To me, that’s a sign of a pretty talented pitcher that you can rely on to perform well.

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Jon celebrates a win over the San Diego Padres (Credit: USA Today)

Things only got better when he transferred to the University of Oklahoma. At OU during his sophomore year, he struck out 104 batters in almost 103 innings pitched. That’s beyond amazing from my viewpoint. It shows how much Jon has grown and how reliable he is as a pitcher.

During his junior year at the university, he performed extremely well, with a win-loss record of 10-3 and an ERA of 1.64. That year, he struck 147 batters out in almost 130 innings. Absolutely stunning pitching performance. Just when the year couldn’t get any better for him, he was named to the All-Big 12 team and the All-American team. Absolutely honorable—he most definitely deserves it after such a talented year. Adding on to that, he was named National Pitcher of the Year and the Big 12 Conference Baseball Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

I can’t begin to describe just how fantastic that is and how deserving Jon is of those honors. He worked so hard and grew so much as a player and a person. I would never be able to put into words how proud I would be to have someone like him as a teammate. It’s absolutely no wonder that the Rockies decided to draft Jon.

One of the most iconic Jon Gray moments was when he pitched his first complete game shutout against San Diego. A complete game shutout is when the same pitcher pitches the entire game and the opposing team does not score a single run. I remember returning to my university’s campus after a student organization retreat in the mountains and checking up to see how the Rockies were doing. I felt so amazing and it was exactly what I wanted to see after a really long bus ride.

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Jon during an interview in the Rockies locker room (Credit: BSN Denver)

I will fondly remember seeing Jon play for the very first time, on Wednesday, July 25, 2018. He performed extremely well during the first three innings. I’m going to be honest; I was almost adamant that he was going to pitch a no-hitter and was a little bit bummed out when it was “jinxed.” It was still probably my favorite game I have ever attended. So much drama, excitement, and amazing plays. I’m so grateful that my sister and I decided to buy last-minute tickets to that game.

Jon is also a pretty charitable human. In 2017, he decided to cut his hair short for Locks of Love, a charity that makes affordable wigs for children who have lost their hair. This one hits close to my heart. I have donated my hair to charity every other year, and I will be cutting my hair short for charity later on in the summer. It warms my heart knowing that Jon has kindness in his heart.

To me, it is beyond fascinating that he’s interested in ghost hunting. When it comes to ghosts, aliens, and other supernatural and otherworldly things, I believe it one hundred percent. My favorite explanation for everything is that aliens are responsible. I was adamant that ghosts haunted my old college apartment. It’s so much fun to see something like that.

Jon Gray is an awesome person and a pitcher who has amazing things in his future. Hopefully he has many All-Star Game appearances and a Cy Young award in his future. I will end with this, something that is absolutely necessary every time Jon strikes somebody out: AWOO!

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Jon pets a dog during a Bark at the Park event (Credit: Sports Illustrated)

SOURCES:

https://locksoflove.org/our-story/

https://www.mlb.com/cut4/rockies-jon-gray-is-a-ghost-hunter-too-c183054142

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jon_Gray

https://www.mlb.com/news/rockies-jon-gray-strikes-out-16-in-shutout-c201930620

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shutouts_in_baseball

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