When Dontrelle Willis signed a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, I doubt there was a baseball fan who wasn’t rooting for him to make a comeback.
Who didn’t love that 21-year-old kid with the 1000 watt smile and crazy leg kick. He was just plain fun to watch, when he was doing well at least. Sometimes it was painful to watch him pitch.
He suffered through injuries, control problems, anxiety. He hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2011 with the Cincinnati Reds.
But ten years ago he was a star. He was the 2003 National League Rookie of the Year with the then-Florida Marlins. He pitched in the World Series and was a Champion.
Willis finished second in the running for the NL Cy Young in 2005 while he led the league in wins with 22. The two-time All-Star pitched seven complete games in 2005, five of them were shutouts.
Nicknamed the “D-Train,” he was part of the trade that sent future Triple Crown winner and back-to-back AL MVP award winner Miguel Cabrera from the Marlins to the Detroit TIgers.
Unfortunately Willis’ career slowly started to go downhill and he later played with the Arizona Diamondbacks and made his final appearance in the big leagues in 2011 with the Cincinnati Reds. That year he went 1-6 in 13 starts for Cincinnati with a 5.00 ERA.
Since he’s signed minor league deals with various teams, last playing in Triple-A for the San Francisco Giants and actually pitched well in an independent league, which is what seemed to lead to this most recent comeback attempt.
To read this post in full, please go to Baseball Hot Corner using the link below (*I’m know I’m a little biased since he’s an NorCal boy so I get a little sappy but it’s a decent read! LOL):