Ryan Vogelsong has to be one of the best stories this year in baseball—in all of sports, even.
The 33-year-old started out with the San Francisco Giants in 2000 but was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates the next year in a deal for Jason Schmidt.
Vogelsong then had to have Tommy John surgery, which kept him out of the major leagues until late in the 2003 season.
After his return, Vogelsong simply could not find his way and was bumped from the starting rotation to the bullpen.
By the end of the 2006 season, he was out of professional baseball completely.
In 2007 Vogelsong was signed to play for the Hanshin Tigers of Japan, where he played through 2009.
Then, after two short stints with the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Angels, the Giants invited Vogelsong to spring training before the 2011 season.
He pitched so well that he was called up to replaced injured starting pitcher Barry Zito.
Since then, Vogelsong has been putting up the best numbers of his life and is 6-1 on the year with a 2.17 ERA, a 1.19 WHIP and a strikeout-to-walk ratio better than 2:1 over the course of 91-plus innings.
This comes from a guy with a career 5.03 ERA over six years in the big leagues.
Playing in Japan two years ago and being out of a job in the offseason, neither Vogelsong nor anyone else could have known he would be starting for the defending World Series champions and representing them in the 2011 All-Star Game.