Mark Mulder was once one of the elite pitchers in the game. He was drafted number two by the Oakland Athletics in 1998 and thus began his stellar career yet short career. As part of Oakland’s “Big Three” along with Barry Zito and Tim Hudson, he helped lead the Athletics to four straight playoff appearances from 2000 to 2004. And in 2001 at the young age of 23 he finished second to Roger Clemens in the CY Young balloting, going 21-8 with a 3.45 ERA.
In 2004 the Athletics moved Mulder to the St. Louis Cardinals in a four player trade that brought pitcher Dan Haren to Oakland. 2005, Mulder’s first year in St Louis was almost as good as his 2001 season. He finished the year 16-8 with a 3.64 ERA. But then things slowly began to fall apart for the southpaw. He under went surgeries on his left shoulder in both 2006 and 2007. Unfortunately Mulder reportedly said that his throwing arm “never worked right” after the surgeries.
With his hopes of continuing in the majors seemingly dashed, Mulder officially retired from baseball in 2009. In 2011 he became an analyst at ESPN and spent his spare time traveling with his wife and three children. Then in October of this year, just a few months ago everything changed.
Mulder, now 36, was watching the MLB playoffs from the comfort of his home near Scottsdale, AZ when he saw something in the delivery of Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher, Paco Rodriguez. It was something he was able to imitate without irritating his throwing arm and shoulder that had been an issue throughout his entire career with both Oakland and St. Louis.
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