Archie Bradley's Journey To The Big Leagues
Archie Bradley's 2015 season is a reminder that making it to the big leagues is a journey that doesn't stop on opening day.
Six months ago, the former Broken Arrow standout got news that changed his life.
"I think the greatest thing about it was being able to call my mom and dad," he explained.
Archie's mother, Pam Bradley, added, "I remember being at home and I was just elated, I was jumping up and down."
"I was right there on Lynn Lane, I was coming to the stoplight, and he goes, 'Dad, I'm a major leaguer now.' It just overwhelmed me," Charles Bradley said.
The 2011 first round pick from Broken Arrow High School earned a spot on the Arizona Diamondbacks' opening day roster after a strong spring training.
With more than 50 friends and family members in the stands, he dominated his big league debut--throwing six shutout innings, and leading his team to a 6-0 win against Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"You always dream about your debut, you dream about winning it. What a better way than to beat the reigning MVP and CY Young winner, and the Dodgers?" Bradley told News On 6 sports anchor Charlie Hannema on a recent trip to his home near Phoenix. "It was just an unforgettable moment."
Charles Bradley added, "When you see him get out there and this is your son on the pitcher's mound and his picture's right there on the big screen, you're just going, ‘This is it, this is the real deal.’”
Archie Bradley started his career with a 2-and-0 record and a 1.45 ERA. He was the first player to beat the reigning Cy Young Winner and World Series MVP in his first two starts. However, everything changed in his fourth start, at home in Phoenix against the Colorado Rockies.
"I let the pitch go and I was like, 'Oh, this is up, this is not going to be good.' I saw the swing and that's the last I remember," Archie recalled. "Next thing I know I was on the ground looking at the dirt. I just remember thinking, 'This is not good.'"
A line drive off the bat of Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez caught Bradley square in the side of the face. MLB's advanced stats system estimates the ball was traveling 115 miles per hour when it left the bat.
"My faith just kicked into high gear and I literally touched my computer screen and said,'Lord, please put your hand on this son of mine and let him get up,'" Pam Bradley said.
After undergoing some initial treatment in the clubhouse, Bradley was able to video chat with his mom via FaceTime.
"He said, 'This is the face that only a mom could love.' That's when I started crying tears of relief, I couldn't until I knew he was alright. When I saw that swollen jaw I cried tears of relief and joy because I knew he was going to be okay."
Archie escaped with just a sinus fracture and was back on the mound 18 days later. Getting back to the win column wouldn't be as easy.
"It's frustrating," Bradley explained. "You talk to anyone, when you're having struggles, all you want to do is get better and fix it. Especially when you know you're better than that."
After four rough starts, life threw Archie another curveball--a trip to the disabled list with a right shoulder impingement. He pitched his way back through the minors, but a callup to the big leagues didn't come this season.
"I know who I am. I know what I can do," Bradley said. "I know the reason why I made this team, and I know I can get back to pitching that way."
Pam Bradley added, "What I love about Archie is he's taken every difficulty and grown more determined. He knows that he has a job to do, so he gets out there and works harder."
Archie Bradley's big league story is only starting, but mother's intuition can already sense the next chapter.
"What will he do next year? I think he'll come back bigger, better, stronger, more determined, and more successful than ever."