Simon: Inside Ryan Merritt’s unlikely path to ALCS hero

From SABR member Mark Simon at on October 19, 2016:

Growing up in Celina, Texas (approximate population 6,000), Ryan Merritt and his close friend Troy McCartney looked for ways to entertain themselves during boring summer days.

“He has a big, white rock driveway,” McCartney said. “We would go out, pick up rocks. We still do it. You’d have to hit a tree 20 yards away, 10 times. The rocks would have all sorts of irregular movement. I’d hit the tree 10 times in 50 throws. He’d hit the tree 10 times in 15 throws.”

Merritt went from rocks star to rock star with his performance in Game 5 of the ALCS, helping the Cleveland Indians to a 3-0 win and their first World Series since 1997.

In only his second major league start, Merritt threw 4⅓ scoreless innings, giving up only two hits and striking out three before being pulled by manager Terry Francona.

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Originally published: October 20, 2016. Last Updated: October 20, 2016.