Shawn Hill: The common man defines perseverance
By Devon Teeple
Shawn Hill has done everything that could possibly be done in the game of baseball. He’s done his part in the minors; he’s been a starter, a reliever, and a mop-up guy.
He’s a Canadian playing America’s pastime.
He’s played for the Montreal Expos and Toronto Blue Jays. He’s gone from Major League starter to independent obscurity. He will dominate and get shellacked the next. He’s thrown a historic 27 2é3 scoreless for the independent York Revolution and has appeared in over 12 years worth of professional games.
Who is Shawn Hill?
Only the most die-hard fans could give you a recap of his career.
He is the epitome of a minor league player that has had opportunities to shine in the bigs, but can never quite sustain success. He’s reliable and available to help any team that needs him. Why doesn’t he get the credit he deserves? Because he’s not the big name superstar everyone looks for. He’s never been the power guy that can dominate hitters and he’s not flashy. He’s your above-average middle of the road pitcher according to “experts”. A common pitcher by name, yet uncommon in his ability to show up day in, day out.
Drafted in the sixth round of the 2000 amateur draft by Montreal Expos scout Alex Agostino had to have been exciting for a Canadian. Hill (Mississauga Ont.) made his major league debut for the Expos in 2004, taking the loss against the Philadelphia Phillies, lasting less than three innings, giving up eight earned runs. A 1-2 record, with a 16.00 ERA in three starts pretty much sums up his first year.
Since 2004, Hill has made 44 starts over parts of seven seasons. His best years came as a member of the Washington Nationals. Unfortunately, a 10-18 record and a ERA hovering around 4.70 sums up what people think about him.
If you ask the average fan about Shawn Hill, you might get a blanks stare. If you ask me, I’ll tell you about a guy that is never going to be a starter, won’t win a Cy Young award, and will bounce between team to team throughout his career. He will give any team that asks a spot start on short notice and will represent his country.
Hill was part of the the 2009 Gold Medal winning Canadian team at the 2011 Pan American Games. He led tournament participants with two wins, defeating Puerto Rico and Mexico. As a member of the 2012 World Baseball Classic qualifier and 2013 WBC, he went 1-1 in two starts.
Toiling in the minors is one thing, heck he performed admirably at every level, posting ERA’s under 3.00 multiple times (2001, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2010). When promoted to the major league club, he was exactly as advertised. What has set him apart is his performance when written off from affiliated ball. On more than one occasion he’s had to sign with an independent league team to prove himself.
In 2012, after being released by the Florida Marlins, Hill became the ace of the Atlantic League’s York Revolution. He put together a superb streak, a club record of 27 scoreless innings, en route to a nine-win season, and garnering the interest of the Toronto Blue Jays. The Jays would sign him as free agent and would eventually make his second Major League appearance with them. In 2010 his first stint with the Blue Jays, he made four spot starts in September, picking up a 1-0 win over the Seattle Mariners.
Following his release by the Blue Jays after the 2012 season, Hill was signed as a free agent by the Detroit Tigers and spent the entire year in Triple A Toledo. In 26 games, Hill won four and lost 10 while posting a 5.51 ERA.
Hill began 2014 supposedly signing a deal to return to the Revolution. Within days, the Blue Jays, to the surprise of everyone, signed him to minor league deal. For an unprecedented third time, he was a member of the Blue Jays organization. In seven starts between Double A New Hampshire and Triple A Buffalo, Hill went 2-3 before being released.
He was picked up the Chicago White Sox. As a starter for the Charlotte Knights, the White Sox Triple A squad, nine starts brought forth a 2-4 record. He remained with the Sox until mid August, but was released and signed by the Detroit Tigers (for the second time). With Triple A Toldeo he went 3-1 with a 3.28 ERA in 25 innings. Finally, the baseball world was witness to some of his best work.
At 33 years old and with 12 years of pro ball under his belt, this journeyman pitcher has been through everything imaginable. Amazingly, he keeps going regardless of the situation or who he plays for. Shawn Hill is not a household name, but in Canadian baseball circles, he is the envy of every kid looking to make baseball their career. He’s done it and lived it. We could only be so lucky.
At present date he is still property of the Tigers.
– See more at: http://thegmsperspective.com/news/index.html?article_id=507#sthash.S2jpZgBn.dpuf