I assume most of you baseball fans have eagerly searched for videos and images from MLB spring training. No matter what you've come across, though, there is hardly a better image than the one tweeted out by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday.
The man pictured is Daniel "Doc" Jacobs, an Iraq war veteran that lost his leg after an explosion went off under his Humvee in 2006. On Thursday, he was taking ground balls at the Dodgers' open tryout, joining more than 80 other players that were invited to attend the annual event.
As MLB reports, the Dodgers didn't spot any talent they were willing to sign, but they did happen upon a remarkable story. Corpsman.com explains a bit more of what happened to Jacobs that fateful day seven years ago.
The explosion of a bomb buried in a road in Ramadi, Iraq, killed the Marine driving the Humvee, fatally wounded the vehicle commander and ripped through the body of then-Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class (FMF) Daniel Jacobs.
Jacobs had landed in Iraq just weeks after joining the infantry unit—India Company, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines—when another corpsman couldn’t deploy. Months after that Feb. 25, 2006 blast, doctors amputated Jacobs’ mangled left leg below the knee.
What's remarkable about that report is that Jacobs was listed as "fit for duty." To date, Jacobs has gone through 50 surgeries on his foot, leg and hands.
Jacobs was an infielder in high school who chose the military over offers to play in college, according to the L.A. Times. Not only did Jacobs get to try out for a major league team Thursday, but he threw out the ceremonial first pitch ahead of the Dodgers' win over the Los Angeles Angels.
His story was featured briefly on 570 AM's "Dodger Talk" on Thursday.
I want to thank the Dodgers for allowing me to come out here, especially Mr. Lasorda for inviting me out. Uh, he's an awesome guy. The Dodgers organization is amazing. And I met Tommy through the California Disabled Veterans Business Alliance's Veteran's Day breakfast and that's what he asked me if I wanted to come out.
Spring training is filled with stories of grown men with childhood dreams. Unfortunately, most of those are muted by anonymity.
Thankfully, Jacobs' was not, and now baseball fans everywhere know of his heroic tale.