One pre-season baseball publication that I enjoy picking up every year is “Who’s Who in Baseball,” which chronicles the official lifetime records of Major League players. This year’s edition ($9.95) is the 100th edition of “Who’s Who in Baseball” since 1912 and includes the lifetime records of more than 775 players within its 360 pages.
Entries for each individual player lists their hometown, and I enjoy seeing just how many players from Alabama are currently active in the “Big Leagues.” I flipped through my copy of “Who’s Who” on Sunday night and counted 13 players who were born in Alabama.
The best known of these players is arguably 33-year-old Mobile native Jake Peavy, a right-handed pitcher for the reigning World Champion San Francisco Giants. Peavy starred to St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile and has since played for the San Diego Padres, the Chicago White Sox, the Boston Red Sox and the Giants. He won the National League Cy Young Award in 2007.
The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner, Corey Kluber, a 28-year-old pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, was born in Birmingham, but he grew up in Texas. He played high school ball at Coppell High School in Coppell, Texas and played college ball at Stetson University in DeLand, Fla. He was drafted out of college in 2007 and has played for the Indians since 2011.
Braves relief pitcher Craig Kimbrel, 26, is a native of Huntsville, where he played at Lee High School. From there, he went on to pitch at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, and the Braves drafted him in 2008. In 2011, he was named the National League Rookie of the Year.
Desmond Jennings, a 28-year-old outfielder for the Tampa Bay Rays is a native of Pinson, where he went to Pinson Valley High School. From there, he went to Itawamba Community College in Fulton, Miss., where he played baseball and football. He was drafted by the Rays in 2006 and, so far, he hasn’t played for any other team but the Rays.
Josh Rutledge, a 25-year-old second baseman for the Los Angeles Angels, is a native of Cullman, where he was a four-year starter at Cullman High School. He went on to play for the University of Alabama before the Colorado Rockies drafted him in 2010. Rutledge played three seasons for the Rockies, but was traded to the Angels on Dec. 11, 2014.
Delmon Young, a 29-year-old outfielder and designated hitter for the Baltimore Orioles, was born in Montgomery, but grew up in California, where he played high school ball at Adolfo Camarillo High School in Camarillo, Calif. Young was drafted in 2003 and played Double A ball for the Montgomery Biscuits. Since then, he’s played for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, the Minnesota Twins, the Detroit Tigers, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Orioles.
Matt Cain, a 30-year-old pitcher for the Giants, was born in Dothan and lived for a time in Vincent before moving to Germantown, Tenn., where he was a star at Houston High School. He was drafted in 2002 and has played for the Giants since 2005. Since then, he’s been a part of two World Series championship teams and has been picked for the All Star team three times.
David Robertson, a 29-year-old relief pitcher for the New York Yankees, was born in Birmingham, and he went on to play high school ball at Central-Tuscaloosa High School and Paul W. Bryant High School. Robertson went on to play at the University of Alabama and was drafted in 2006. So far, he’s never played for any team except the Yankees, and he was named an All Star in 2011.
Robertson’s Yankee teammate, 27-year-old pitcher Adam Warren, was also born in Birmingham, but he grew up in New Bern, N.C. He played high school ball at New Bern High School and college ball at the University of North Carolina. He was drafted in 2008 and has played for the Yankees since 2012.
Chase Whitley, a 25-year-old pitcher for the Yankees, is a native of Ranburne, where he graduated from Ranburne High School in 2007. He went on to play for Southern Union State Community College before transferring to Troy University. He was drafted in 2010 and made his Major League debut with the Yankees on May 15, 2014.
Wesley Wright, a 30-year-old relief pitcher for the Orioles, was born in Montgomery and played high school ball at Goshen High School. He was drafted in 2003 and has since played for the Houston Astros, Rays and Orioles.
“Who’s Who” says that Tommy Hunter, a 28-year-old pitcher for the Orioles, is a native of Tuscaloosa, but, according to most sources, he was born in Indianapolis, where he went to Cathedral High School. He went on to play for the University of Alabama and was drafted in 2007. Since then, he’s pitched for the Texas Rangers and the Orioles.
Alex Rios, a 34-year-old outfielder for the Kansas City Royals, was born in Coffee County, but he grew up in Puerto Rico. Rios has said in interviews that his parents left Coffee County when he was just a few months old. He was drafted in 1999 and has since played for the Toronto Blue Jays, the White Sox, the Rangers and the Royals.