One of the most unfortunate aspects of sports is time. Your time could be up or it could never come. Your time could be quick and you risk being forgotten. Athletes and fans both will struggle with time until well, the end of time. I’d like to take the time to remember one of baseball’s most intriguing stories; a story that started in Pasco, Washington.
Jeremy Bonderman was a standout pitcher for the Pasco Bulldogs, so good in fact, that he opted to finish his GED in an attempt to be drafted before his senior year. It worked. In 2001, the Oakland Athletics drafted Jeremy in the first round, making him the first and only pitcher to be drafted as a high school junior with a first-round pick in league history. This was a move that set Billy Beane, who would be played by Brad Pitt in Moneyball, off the rails. He literally was throwing stuff around the office. The Bonderman saga was not touched on by the film, but the book detailed that Beane did not believe in drafting high school pitchers as he felt they were too raw to really scout well. Bonderman would be promptly traded to the Detroit Tigers organization, a move that proved to be a good one for both the Tigers and their shiny new pitcher.
Jeremy Bonderman would reach the show two years after being drafted, much earlier than most pitchers, and would soon become one of the team’s best starters. In 2006, he was able to get his revenge as the Tigers beat Oakland to advance to the World Series, where Jeremy would leave with the lead after six innings, only for the Tigers to lose the game and the series.
While Bonderman never was able to recapture the highs of his 2006 season, he was able to stick around the league for a while, going 69-81 over parts of ten seasons in the majors, primarily with Detroit. He lives in Pasco today with his wife and children and is an active part of the community, notably with the Columbia Basin Junior Livestock Show.
The 100 Greatest Sports Legends in Washington & Oregon History
Whether they were born here, grew up here, went to college here, or played professionally here, these are the athletes you can’t forget if you’re from the Pacific Northwest.