How many grandfathers are playing professional sports? Off the top of my head I can only think of Brett Favre, who did it between one of several retirements. Now 41 year old Mark Hendrickson is attempting to make the Baltimore Orioles pitching staff.
MASNSports.com’s Roch Kubatko writes that Hendrickson, who is attending Orioles minicamp in Sarasota, is pitching better than he has in years with a new, lower arm slot.
[quote_box_center]Hendrickson is receiving his second tryout in three years with the Orioles, who also invited him to the 2013 minicamp at Camden Yards. He received a minor league deal, went 5-3 with a 3.06 ERA in 40 games at Triple-A Norfolk, became a free agent again and spent 2014 with the independent York Revolution.[/quote_box_center]
Hendrickson was convinced by Buck Showalter to become a sidearm throwing reliever and he pitched to a 1.54 ERA in 55 appearances with the Revolution last season. He last threw in the big leagues in 2011, with the Orioles, surrendering 7 earned runs over 11 innings (5.73 ERA). He hasn’t posted an ERA under 4.37 since 2006.
Obviously a comeback is an up hill battle for Hendrickson, but his story is a really awesome one. He played in the NBA from 1996-2000, while still competing in pro baseball during the summer. In 1998, he pitched for the Blue Jays Single-A affiliate in Dunedin and then opted to pursue only baseball in 2000. Two years later, he was pitching in the big leagues with Toronto.
I’d love to see Hendrickson have a great spring and contribute for the Orioles in 2015. Not only because he’s an easy guy to root for, but also because how many 6′ 9″ sidearm throwing lefty relievers are there in Majors?