May 2018, Vo. 245, No. 5

Editor's Notebook

Jon Peters: When Life Grabs You by the Baseballs

Every day this conversation takes place at my house.

Me: “Alexa, who are the World Series Champs?”

Alexa: “The 2017 World Series winner is Houston Astros.”

Me: “Damn right!”

Forgive me for my love of baseball. My birth city was without a championship since its inception, until last season. That’s 56 years if you’re counting. Ironically it’s another Texas team, the Rangers, that now holds the longest streak of never winning a World Series, 57 years and counting. People get excited about all kinds of streaks and statistics. Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak still gets discussed routinely. The longest individual win streak for a MLB pitcher belongs to New York Giants Carl Hubbell, who won 24 consecutive games during the 1936-37 seasons. The majority of the best pitchers in history never won more than 10 games in a row.   

So imagine a tall, lanky high school kid from Brenham, Texas, who dreams of playing in the big leagues. He works harder than most to perfect his craft, determined to be the best he can be. In the late 1980s, his hard word starts to pay off and he gets good. He gets really good! He becomes so good, he is virtually unbeatable. His freshman year he makes the high school varsity team and wins 13 games in a row. He rolls off another 15 as a sophomore, and stays perfect through his junior season (14-0). At the start of his senior year Jon Peters, a right handed throwing virtuoso, is nine wins away from breaking the national record for most consecutive wins. 

He should be having the time of his life but the pressure he puts on himself builds with each victory. His story no longer a secret, crowds grow larger after every win, local and national media come from all over … more pressure. In addition to the individual winning streak there is a team goal to win back to back-to-back state championships…more pressure. There are perceived expectations (to be perfect) to overcome, from family, friends, players, coaches, heck an entire town … more pressure. College and professional scouts infiltrate Brenham’s Fireman’s Field and begin dissecting every move, every pitch. The night before the record breaking game Jon and his high school sweetheart break up. The pressure becomes too much, and Jon Peters is ready for it to all be over. 

I had the privilege to speak with the Texas high school legend, now 47 and working in the oil and gas industry. Jon is sharing his variegated story with others in his new book that’s titled, When Life Grabs You By The Baseballs – Finding Happiness In Life’s Changeups. 

His story reminded me of a couple of my favorite baseball movie quotes. The first from Field of Dreams, when Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner) asked an aging Archie Graham (played by Burt Lancaster) about his short stint in the major leagues, to which Graham replied, “You know, we just don’t recognize the most significant moments of our lives while they’re happening. Back then I thought, well, there’ll be other days. I didn’t realize that that was the only day.” 

The second quote is from Moneyball, when a scout for the Oakland A’s tells a young Billy Bean, “We’re all told at some point in time that we can no longer play the children’s game, we just don’t know when that’s gonna be. Some of us are told at 18, some of us are told at 40, but we’re all told.” 

Jon hopes his lesson will inspire others to ask for help when life’s pressures becomes too much. His message is sincere, honest and inspirational. Did he get the record? Sure he did, and was the first high school player ever to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Jon finished his high school career with a record of 54-1 and three state championships. His record of 53 consecutive wins still stands today. 

For more on Jon Peters, see the article on page 39.



Related Articles


{{ error }}
{{ comment.comment.Name }} • {{ comment.timeAgo }}
{{ comment.comment.Text }}