Roy Oswalt : biography
Roy Edward Oswalt ( born August 29, 1977) is an American professional baseball pitcher for the Colorado Rockies of Major League Baseball (MLB). He has previously pitched for the Houston Astros (2001–2010), the Philadelphia Phillies (2010–2011), and the Texas Rangers (2012).
Oswalt was selected by the Astros in the 1996 MLB Draft. He made his major league debut with the club in 2001 and finished with a win–loss record of 14–3. He was back-to-back 20-game winner in both 2004 and 2005. He helped the Astros to their first World Series appearance in 2005. He was named Most Valuable Player of the 2005 National League Championship Series (NLCS). When he left the Astros in 2010 his win (143) and strikeout total (1,593) was second in franchise history to Joe Niekro (144) and Nolan Ryan (1,866). He is a three-time All-Star, selected from 2005–2007. As of the 2012 season his career strikeout total was in the top 100 all-time.
As a member of Team USA, Oswalt won a gold medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Minor league career
Oswalt was spotted by only one major league scout, James Farrar of the Houston Astros. Convinced that Oswalt’s anonymity kept him hidden from other teams, the Astros allowed him to drop into the 23rd round of the 1996 Major League Baseball Draft. By this point, Oswalt had drawn the attention of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, for whom he had long wanted play. The Astros enticed Oswalt with a $500,000 signing bonus, and he signed with the club on May 18, .
In , Oswalt played rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League, where he gave up only two runs in five starts. He was then called up to the Auburn Doubledays of the New York–Penn League, where he went 2–4 the rest of the way.
He split between the same two teams. In 16 innings of work with the Gulf Coast Astros, he struck out 27 batters and walked just one. He was promoted again to Auburn, where he recorded the league’s fourth-lowest ERA (2.18).
In , when Oswalt was with the Class A Michigan Battle Cats in the Midwest League, he suffered an apparently serious shoulder injury. After a month of pain in his upper shoulder, Oswalt was convinced that his shoulder was torn. Shortly thereafter, he was checking the spark plug wires on his pickup truck. He touched one of the spark plug wires, causing the truck’s engine to start. The truck’s electric current flowed through Oswalt’s body, and consequently the muscles in his hand tightened on the spark plug wire. Unable to let go of it, Oswalt grasped the wire for almost one minute. Oswalt then claimed his foot slipped off the truck’s bumper and he was finally "thrown off." After the electric shock, Oswalt told his wife that his shoulder’s condition improved and that he no longer felt any pain. According to Sports Illustrated, he reported it thus to his wife: "My truck done shocked the fire out of me, and my arm don’t hurt no more." Apparently, the electric charge loosened accumulated scar tissue in the shoulder. Oswalt claims he has not felt any pain in his shoulder since the incident. He finished 1999 with 143 strikeouts and a club-high 13 wins.
Oswalt began with the Class A Kissimmee Cobras of the Florida State League, going 4–3 with a 2.98 ERA before a player injury on Class AA Round Rock Express of the Texas League led to his promotion. Oswalt was only expected to pitch a few games and had been given a round-trip ticket. But after striking out 15 batters in his first start with the Express, manager Jackie Moore tore up his ticket. Nolan Ryan, owner of the Express and Oswalt’s idol, admired his calm demeanor and his aggressiveness so much that he successfully lobbied to keep Oswalt on the roster, where he would go 11–4 with a 1.94 ERA, and recording 141 strikeouts over 19 games (18 starts). It was here that he met pitching coach Mike Maddux, who counseled the young Oswalt to be economical in his pitch selection by throwing more breaking balls and inducing groundouts early in the count.
As a result of his success at Round Rock, Oswalt was selected to play on the U.S. Olympic baseball team at the 2000 Summer Olympics. In Olympic baseball competition, Oswalt pitched in the semi-finals against South Korea, a game that the U.S. won with a walk-off home run by Doug Mientkiewicz en route to their gold medal finish. Oswalt struck out ten and allowed two runs (1.38 ERA) in his two starts.