If you follow baseball, here is a development that might not shock you:
Clayton Kershaw will get the ball for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Friday’s Game 1 of the National League Division Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The 29-year-old lefty, he of three Cy Young Awards and a National League MVP (2014), further established himself as one of the greatest pitchers the game has ever seen in 2017. This year, Kershaw finished 18-4 with a 2.31 earned run average.
Before he was crafting a résumé as one of the greatest pitchers of all-time, though, Kershaw was drawing scouts to Dallas, Texas.
It was there, at Dallas’ Highland Park High School, that Kershaw staked his claim as the country’s best prep baseball player.
In his senior season, Kershaw posted a 13–0 record with an ERA of 0.77, recording 139 strikeouts in 64 innings pitched. Kershaw’s masterpiece was a playoff game against Northwest (Justin, Texas), where he pitched an all-strikeout perfect game. Kershaw struck out all 15 batters he faced in the contest that was shortened due to the mercy rule.
For his efforts, Kershaw was named the 2006 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Baseball Player of the Year. He also was named Gatorade National Baseball Player of the Year.
Despite having committed to play at Texas A&M, Kershaw was the No. 7 pick in the 2006 MLB Draft and the first high school player chosen. Just two years later, at the age of 20, he was toeing the rubber for the Dodgers. It was the start of a brilliant career, one that is now in its 10th year and includes seven All-Star appearances.
And on Friday, the kid from Highland Park will once again start the journey to lift the Dodgers to their first World Series title and/or appearance since 1988.
In some sense, not much has changed since 2006. Kershaw is still an ace in every sense of the word.