Brandon Morrow is a solid if unspectacular MLB starting pitcher. That he is a bona fide MLB pitcher in the first place is, of course, a remarkable achievement in itself. What is more is how he accomplished it: Morrow has Type 1 diabetes.
Because of his diabetic condition, Morrow stands as the ultimate positive example for many young athletes who are also Type 1 diabetic. One of those is star Chino Hills Ayala pitcher Jonathan Buckley, who Morrow played a much more active role in mentoring.
As chronicled in this excellent feature from the Los Angeles Times, Buckley has emerged as one of the most reliable and impressively rounded pitchers in Southern California. He is a 6-f00t-4, 195-pound power pitcher whose fastball reaches the upper 80s and who can mix in multiple breaking pitches. Buckley has grown into that stature despite having to adjust to diabetes, which he was diagnosed with at age 12.
To help Buckley adjust to life as a diabetic, his mother searched for major league pitchers who had the condition. She found Morrow, and the family attended a game between the Angels and Mariners in the hope of speaking with Morrow as he prepared.
They got their wish, and the confidence that Morrow instilled in Buckley remains to this day.
“He made it seem like becoming a major league baseball player wasn’t any harder with or without diabetes,” Buckley, who wears an insulin pump, told the Times.
Now, Buckley’s high school coach is confident that the St. Mary’s-bound senior could make that leap some day himself.
“When he’s on, I’ll put him up against anybody,” Ayala coach Chris Vogt told the Times.