Stephen Strasburg: Before There Were Millions There Were...Borritos?

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Stephen Strasburg: Before There Were Millions There Were...Borritos?
(Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

This is a collection of interesting facts I found about Stepehn STrasburg before he was the phenom he is today.

But Strasburg won just one game as a junior at West Hills High outside San Diego, went undrafted after his senior year and failed to impress Gwynn. "To me, he didn't have a lot of confidence," Gwynn recalls. Strasburg was 250 pounds, had never lifted a weight in his life, and after practice every day went to Estrada's Taco Shop and scarfed down a Californiaburrito, packed with carne asada, and french fries. He could throw 90, but he was so out of shape that his knees would occasionally buckle during games, forcing coaches to help him off the field. "He would just collapse," says his high school coach, Scott Hopgood. "It was scary. His knees couldn't support his weight." When scouts asked Hopgood to name his best pitcher, he pointed them to a polished lefty named Aaron Richardson.

"I know everybody now is asking, 'How did you miss on Stephen Strasburg in high school?' " says a major league scout. "But we didn't miss. He was soft in every way." Strasburg would bark at infielders after errors and at umpires after bad calls. If he gave up a couple of hits and the opposing dugout started to chirp, he had a tendency to overthrow his fastball, which would then flatten out and get smacked even harder. "I told scouts not to draft me," Strasburg says. "I wasn't ready


Strasburg could not get through four sprints without vomiting. "Is there something wrong with you?" Ohton asked. "Do you have a medical condition?"

Strasburg bowed his head, his chubby cheeks a bright red. "Just out of shape," he said. Ohton nicknamed him Slothburg, which he later shortened to Sloth. "I demoralized this young man," Ohton says. "I didn't even want him around the other players. I had never seen a college athlete who was as far behind as he was. I didn't think it was possible to be that bad." After two weeks of conditioning and purging Strasburg passed Ohton on the stairs in the weight room. "I appreciate your staying on top of me," Strasburg said. Ohton paused at the top of the staircase. "Sloth," he said, "you really should consider quitting. You're not going to make it."

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