As a fan, Nathan Patterson always dreamed of one day playing professional baseball, and now, his dream has come true.
But apparently, this isn’t the first time he’s caught Oakland’s eye.
In fact, the 23-year-old first drew their attention last year at a Nashville Sounders (the Athletics’ former Triple-A affiliate) game.
“A couple of friends said hey let’s have some fun and jump into the gun with some speed pitch,” he told USA TODAY Sports. “I kind of blew myself away by throwing 96, didn’t really think that was possible. Some fan pulled me aside.”
The fan, who ended up being a baseball coach “at a higher level,” per USA TODAY, encouraged him to continue playing baseball. Patterson says he thought about the coach’s comment for a few weeks before doing a little work at a Nashville facility.
A December car accident set him back a bit, but Patterson didn’t lose faith. After recovering from the injury, he began building a following on Twitter, quickly racking up thousands of followers.
Then, he caught Oakland’s eye again in a speed pitch challenge hosted by the Colorado Rockies, where he threw a whopping 96 mph.
And the rest is history.
But Patterson isn’t taking all the credit. He’s had a little help along the way from A’s pitcher Jarrod Parker, as well.
“Jarrod’s been a big help in my development,” Patterson said. “Still keep in touch. He’s always there for me. Jarrod’s the man.”
He’s been assigned to Oakland’s Arizona League club.
We’ll certainly be curious to see just how far this kid will go. Either way, it’s one heck of a story.
Thumbnail photo via Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports Images