Two decades later Gray remembers the big game and story behind it

1182

It was 20 years ago this week that Brett Gray was part of a whopping 25-strikeout game for the London Werewolves of the Frontier Baseball League.

It was the second highest strikeout total in a nine-inning game in the history of professional baseball. But the script that the Wyoming resident had planned for that Saturday evening at venerable Labatt Park on June 3, 2000 had nothing to do with him getting all the attention.

“The coolest part of the whole story is that I had planned with my manager before the game that regardless of when I got pulled from the game that my dad (London pitching coach Bruce Gray) would come to the mound and pull me instead of my manager,” said Gray

“And the reason was that I was going to ask him to be my Best Man in my wedding that September.

“I just thought it would be a cool little thing that we could always remember.”
However, when it became evident that he might pitch a complete game,  Brett Gray told his skipper to have his dad come to mound with two outs in the ninth inning so the plan could be finalized.

Bruce Gray resisted, according to Brett, but eventually sheepishly made his way to the hill where the two embraced after he asked his dad to be part of his wedding party.

As for the game itself, Brett Gray didn’t feel anything special in the wind that night.  In fact, the opposite was true because his pre-game bullpen session was longer than normal.

“It was opening night and it was ring ceremony night from our 1999 championship season with the Werewolves,” he said. He told his manager that he had about three innings in his arm that night due to the length of the championship festivities. He estimates that he threw about 100 pitches in the bullpen prior the contest and then another 150 during the game.

“I was so out of gas when it was over.  I think I basically fell into my catcher’s arms.”
Gray remembers the evening with fondness, but doesn’t dwell on his professional accomplishment. For him, the game was all about family and bond between him and his father.

“It was the (Best Man) story behind the whole night that made it really special,” he concluded.