Making a living as a professional athlete would seem to be the most glamorous thing in the world, but just ask Kenny Perry or Russ Cochran about it, and I’ll bet you’ll get another, grittier perspective.
For every Perry or Cochran, there’s thousands of struggling golfers just eking out an existence.
For every Albert Pujols, there’s ten thousand aspiring young baseball players.
For all of his local notoriety, Hawk Taylor was a footnote in baseball history.
Norman Goodman, arguably the best high school athlete ever to come out of Metropolis, was modestly successful in pro football…in Canada.
John Jacobs, one of the best baseball players I was ever around, hung his cleats up after two seasons, 1972 and 1973, in the minors.
Michael Allen Broadway is finding out just how trying an athletic career can be.
Broadway, a Pope County High School product, was a fourth round draft choice in the 2005 MLB amateur draft.
Broadway left Pope County as a lanky, 6’4”, 190 pound youngster with a strong right arm. The Braves were willing to take a chance on that strong right arm and proceeded to transform a pretty good hitting baseball player into a pitching prospect.
The speed guns lit up routinely in the 90 mph range when Broadway pitched, and that was all it took.
Broadway’s progress through the Atlanta organization was steady if not spectacular, and he reached the Braves’ Triple A affiliate Gwinnett in 2010.
The Braves sent Broadway to the Arizona Fall League and things went bad there.
His season was shut down after just a handful of innings with elbow pain.
Dr. James Andrews cleaned up some loose cartilage in Broadway’s elbow and pronounced him good to go.
Broadway wasn’t and the pain persisted. When he couldn’t perform, the Braves cut their losses and released Broadway ending their six year relationship.
Things get kind of weird here. Broadway went back to Andrews for exploratory surgery in hopes of finding out what was causing the pain.
Broadway was lying on a table with an IV in, when the power went out.
Andrews was on a tight schedule and left Broadway in the lurch before the power was restored. Broadway decided against further surgery and resumed throwing albeit with some decided discomfort.
Broadway had impressed a San Diego scout enough earlier to warrant a call even though his arm was still suspect.
When the call from San Diego came, Broadway had thrown for a while with no noticeable pain — and no medical explanation — and was thrilled to get another chance.
From the verge of giving up on a baseball career to a second chance with another team, Broadway told the Padres, “Yeah, I can do this!”
Broadway reported to San Antonio, where he currently is pitching for the Missions in the Double A Texas League.
After a rough start with the Missions, Broadway is settling in and getting back to the business of trying to fulfill his dream.