SPOKANE, Wash. - After being drafted in the 8th round by the Rangers, 21-year-old Kyle Hendricks wasn't sure about his future, which he made clear in his 2011 interview with KXLY. "It was pretty hectic," the right hander explained. "Figuring out where I'm going and all that. But now I'm here and I'm getting more comfortable as the days go by. So the season should be fun."
While Hendricks' lone season with the Indians might've been "fun," Hendricks' handful of appearances with the club hardly caught the attention of the Indians staff.
"He actually worked mostly out of the bullpen for us that year." Remembers Indians PR Director Bud Bareither, "I think he had thrown, you know, a fair amount of innings with Dartmouth, so they wanted limited innings. So yeah, he worked mostly out of the bullpen. Few innings here, few innings there, and did well - but I don't think honestly anyone took note of him at the time."
Five years removed from being an afterthought for the Indians, Hendricks now finds himself on the game's biggest stage, with Cy-Young worthy numbers and more than just a memory of Spokane. Earlier this year, the right hander proposed to Emma Cain, a Lilac City native whom he met during his stint in Eastern Washington. If the Cubs' game 7 starter gets in trouble tonight, Manager Joe Maddon just might turn to another Indians Alum, reliever CJ Edwards, known affectionately four years ago in Spokane as "the string bean flinger."
"He was really a character," described Bareither. "He came as a 48th rounder. South Carolina, a little town of a thousand people or so. He was just a little tooth pick. The skinniest kid in the world, but he stepped onto that mound and threw like Randy Johnson."
So if the Cubs get a win in Cleveland on Wednesday, baseball purists might credit an 8th rounder from the Ivy League and a 48th rounder from South Carolina, but we'll tip our cap to two former Spokane Indians.