Watching Washington Nationals phenom Stephen Strasburg pitch brings Adam Carriker back to his younger days as a high school pitcher.
Not all that long ago, football was only a passing interest for Carriker, who as a kid had his sights set on pitching in Major League Baseball.
“Yeah, actually I was gonna be a pro baseball player,” he said. “Growing up, literally my dad didn’t even let me play football until I was in middle school.”
His goal of playing in the majors was certainly within reach.
“That’s what I always thought growing up,” he remembered. “I mean, that’s who told me I threw 93, was a scout. He’s like, ‘By the time you are a senior you could be hitting 95,’ or whatever.”
Carriker was a power-pitcher in high school, and his reputation for high heat preceded him.
“I threw hard,” he said with a smile. “I mean I had other stuff, but that was my thing, was kind of intimidation. I was a big guy, I didn’t mind buzzing you a little bit.”
It was an injury on the baseball diamond that caused him to focus all of his energy on football.
“My sophomore year, I threw 93, but then the last pitch I threw of the year, my elbow popped,” he said. “They told me I could have surgery to fix it or just move on, I said, ‘Forget it, I’ll just go play football.'”
Unbelievably now, Carriker played quarterback at Kennewick High School in Washington State. His powerful arm was pretty useful on the gridiron, as well.
“I threw 82 yards at an Oregon State high school football camp,” Carriker said nonchalantly.
It wasn’t until his senior season at Kennwick that he played defensive end and he fit right in. In his only season on defense Carriker racked up 25 tackles for a loss, including 15 sacks. He also forced four fumbles and batted down five passes.
As for Carriker’s relationship with baseball today, he’s not the biggest enthusiast.
“I mean, I love to play it–in fact I miss a lot it to this day,” he said. “But to watch it bores me to tears, and it bored me to watch even when I was playing it. If I’m not playing, its like, forget it.”
One can only wonder how the 6’6, 311-pound tank would have fared on a Major League mound.
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