54-year-old Utahn gets major league opportunity
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — More than 35 years after he played in a farm league, a 54-year-old Utah man is getting a second shot at playing in the big leagues.
Tom Wright was 17 the first time he got taste of professional baseball, but he never made it to the major leagues. The former outfielder spent time playing on spring training teams, but he always wanted to land a spot on a major league baseball roster.
Now, 37 years later, Wright is getting the attention of professional teams after he posted a YouTube video showing off his batting practice and knuckleball. Wright said several teams have spoken with him.
“The Dodgers expressed interest, the Tigers, the Cubs, and the Marlins,” he said.
Wright said his age shouldn’t be a factor against him, so he’s taking his shot.
“I’m dead lifting over 500 pounds,” he said. “I’ve dead-lifted over 600 pounds, and, you know, why not.”
Wright traveled to Arizona for a chance at pitching with the Chicago Cubs or the L.A. Dodgers. Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda was there, and he shared his thoughts on the knuckleball.
“It’s tough to throw that pitch, and you just don’t have to be able to throw that knuckleball—you have to be able throw fastballs also, because if you get behind with that knuckleball you’re going to have to walk him,” Lasorda said.
Wright said the knuckleball is something he excels at, but it isn’t the only trick in his arsenal.
“There’s no reason why I can’t throw the knuckleball,” he said. “It’s a technical pitch. I’m 50 to 60 miles per hour. My fast ball is still in the 80s. You know, I have a good slider, you know there’s no reason why I can’t pitch.”
Wright did not make the Dodger’s team, but he’s not giving up hope. If successful he would be the oldest player to debut in the Major Leagues. So far the oldest major league rookie was 42 years old.