Former Kalamazoo Growlers, South Bend Cubs Pitcher Gets Called Up To “The Show”
It's a dream come true for any athlete, and it's happened for former Kalamazoo Growlers and South Bend Cubs pitcher Brandon Hughes. Hughes was called to the major leagues Tuesday by the Chicago Cubs. And here's another Michigan connection; Hughes was an outfielder at Michigan State University.
Part of the charm of minor league and college league summer baseball, aside from not having to pay major league prices, is seeing young players at the beginning of their careers. While not many ballplayers who played here have made it big (Derek Jeter only played high school baseball here.) Jordan Binnington was a K-Wings goalie in 2013, and six years later he was hoisting the Stanley Cup for the St. Louis Blues in 2019.
But back to Hughes. His is quite the comeback story. The Cubs were ready to release him at the end of spring training 2019. They thought they had better talent ahead of him in the outfield. But they offered him a chance to stick around if he'd immediately switch and become a pitcher.
It was quite a shock but he agreed to try. But here's where Hughes' story is an even better underdog story. Hughes originally gave up pitching, in part, due to having torn his labrum not once but twice. He had a lot of work to do to transition to pitching. It started slowly, but he's been at the Double-A and Triple-A level now for a part of two seasons, and Tuesday, Hughes was called up to Cubs. He's a major leaguer.
(Minor League Baseball via YouTube)