Music

Garth Brooks Overperformed in Spring Training Stints For the Padres, Mets and Royals

AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

One of Garth Brooks' craziest feats since transcending country music has nothing to do with album sales or box office receipts. Two times during his first three spring training stints, Brooks hit a single against major league pitchers.

At first glance, two hits across stints with the San Diego Padres (1999), the New York Mets (2000) and the Kansas City Royals (2004) seems lousy. But it's important to remember that just like celebrity minor leaguer Michael Jordan, Brooks hadn't played baseball since high school, with his college years at Oklahoma State dedicated to javelin throwing for the track and field team. Baseball requires its own skillsets (in this case, hand-eye coordination), so most former NCAA athletes from other sports would struggle to not strike out every time against even the most marginal pitching prospects.

Better yet, Brooks' hits came against legit professional athletes. While with the Padres, Brooks' first hit came off the Chicago White Sox's Mike Sirotka, a five-year pro and future 15-game winner. After going 0-for-17 with four walks for the Mets (again, most of us would've struck out 21 times in a row), the country music legend's second hit came in 2004 against left-handed journeyman Mike Myers, then with the Seattle Mariners.

"I was even more surprised than the pitcher," Brooks recalled about his success against Myers (as quote by Baseball Reference).

So while he wasn't out there smacking home runs against the Atlanta Braves' starting pitchers from the '90s, Brooks' performance against MLB-caliber talents was quite impressive given his long absence from the game.

In 2019, Brooks suited up during spring training for his childhood favorites, the Pittsburgh Pirates, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation. The 57-year-old country singer had no intention to chase a third career hit during his publicity-driven stay at the Pirates' Bradenton, Fla. spring training facilities.

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There's plenty more ties between Country Music Hall of Fame inductees and professional baseball. Charley Pride played in the Negro Leagues for Memphis Red Sox and Birmingham Black Barons before playing for a New York Yankees farm team, while Gene Autry was a longtime owner of the Los Angeles Angels.

Now Watch: 'The Thunder Rolls': The Story Behind Garth Brooks' 1991 No. 1 and its Banned Video

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Garth Brooks Overperformed in Spring Training Stints For the Padres, Mets and Royals