Dontrelle Willis  
 

  • Dontrelle was named 2000 California High School Player of the Year.
  • Dontrelle’s high leg kick has drawn comparisons to Bay Area legend Vida Blue. Joyce was at the game when Charlie FInely presented him with a blue Cadillac. Like Dontrelle, Blue played for Jack McKeon, as a member of the 1977 A’s.
  • Dontrelle lost a total of one home game in his entire minor-league career.
  • Dontrelle wore uniform number 77 in spring training in 2003. He now wears 35.
  • In June of 2003, Dontrelle became the first pitcher since Hideo Nomo to win NL Rookie of the Month honors.
  • Dontrelle is one of only four pitchers to win eight of his first 10 starts at age 21 or younger in the live ball era. The others were Daffy Dean, Mark Fidrych and Fernando Valenzuela.
  • During one stretch in 2003, Dontrelle drew an average of more than 25,000 fans to Marlin home games—more than double the team’s normal crowd. In a start against the Brewers, more than 10,000 walk-up tickets were sold.
  • Dontrelle was the youngest All-Star pitcher since Dwight Gooden in 1985.
  • Dontrelle batted .241 as a rookie, and homered off Cincinnati’s Danny Graves.
  • Dontrelle was named 2003 NL Rookie of the Year. He received a total of 17 first-place votes to edge Scott Podsednik, who totaled eight.
  • In 2004, Dontrelle was named the Top 21-Year-Old in Organized Baseball by Baseball America.
  • Dontrelle writes his mother’s name on the underside of the bill of his caps. He still calls her every day.
  • Dontrelle and his mother were regular church goers, attending the True Vine Missionary Baptist Church in West Oakland, where pastor Zach Carey now offers a prayer for Dontrelle every Sunday during the season.
  • Dontrelle lives in a condo overlooking Florida’s Interacoastal Waterway.
  • Dontrelle can often be seen wearing throwback jerseys from the Negro leagues. He got his first one from his mother, who told him it was a great way to respect those who blazed a path before him.
  • Dontrelle rang the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange after the Marlins’ World Series victory.
  • Dontrelle did the baseball awards banquet circuit in 2003-04, and became friendly with Roy Halladay and Alex Rodriguez.
  • Dontrelle’s mom continued to work after his breakthrough season. In fact, she was promoted during the summer of 2003. She recently helped with the earthquake retrofit for the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge.
  • Dontrelle’s business manager is former Marlins pitcher Steve Reed.
  • Dontrelle’s favorite pitcher is Barry Zito of the Oakland A’s.


 

 


Vida Blue, 1975 SSPC


Mark Fidrych,
Signed 2001 American Pie


Alex Rodriguez, 2004 Sports Illustrated

 

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