Special Thanks to Walter Beede – you changed someone’s future
Nate Hendley is a baseball player and an exceptional student from Charlotte NC who attended Providence High School - a 6’2” 200 lb. switch hitting catcher/pitcher/outfielder who runs a 7.0 sixty and had “tommy john” surgery his junior year. Although he hit 87mph somewhere around sophomore/junior summer, the timing of his injury couldn’t have been worse for college recruiting.
Nate’s HS team was good, really good. The coach has several commits going to ACC and Big 10 schools , and some quality D2 ballplayers. Although Nate’s arm was fully recovered going into his senior year, it was going to be tough earning playing time. Another player was favored in his key position of catcher. His offseason workouts were reduced by his high school coach as a result. But Nate kept working. Like a hedgehog, he didn’t miss a workout. Nate kept a challenging academic schedule and worked a part time job to help his parents with training expenses. “Team Nate” included several people: personal trainers, throwing coaches, physical therapists, and supportive parents and his sister. His senior year, he wasn’t selected to make the school team, but he kept working eventually touched 89mph with his FB. His HS team meanwhile went on to win the NC 4A state championship.
To understand Nate you have to understand “he’s different”. He’s almost scary smart for an athlete, quirky, follows his own path, thinks for himself, loves to laugh and cut up while working out. Has eclectic taste in music and enjoys acting and organic chemistry - in short he’s a character. Although his work effort is off the chart and he made the Team USA NTIS third round, he had substantial obstacles to playing baseball in college for the type of school that interested him.
Enter Walter Beede. If you don’t know, Walter Beede is associated with Evoshield Canes showcase organization and is the father of Tyler Beede - baseball star at Vanderbilt, Team USA, and recent 1st round MLB draft pick. Most baseball people know of him. Walter was coming to Charlotte NC to visit for a weekend and I offered to show him the various baseball facilities in the area. It was just a show of southern hospitality. Helping other people pays dividends, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself.
As planned one Friday, Walter flew in and we visited about a half dozen baseball facilities in Charlotte. At the end of the day, we rolled into the final facility, Nate was hitting in a cage before our lesson and I introduced him to Walter. Walter was very approachable and down to earth and asked Nate about his story. Nate shared that he was coming back from TJ surgery but it was going to be tough playing at the type of college he wanted to attend. He had all but missed his recruiting window. Walter agreed and asked “how are your grades?” With ACT in the 30’s Nate said “good.” Walter asked, “Have you ever thought about New England post grad prep schools?” Explaining that the extra year might be just what he needed. That brief interaction changed Nate’s future forever.
Over the next month, Nate visited 3 prep schools as Walter generously made introductions. Nate eventually landed at Loomis Chaffee. (Google the school. It’s really good). He played summer ball with the New England Roughnecks (google them…they are really good too). Some D1’s liked his 89 mph FB but weren’t the right fit for Nate. And then… he got his dream offer. University of Chicago. #4 academic university in the country behind Harvard, Yale, and Princeton. Top 10 in the world. Their alumni list reads like a “who’s who” of …well, everything. Besides discovering the quark and having 89 Nobel laureates, they were originally in the Big 10 and had the first Heisman Trophy winner. I’ll rattle off a few names in a bit, but before I do, just understand that Nate’s all set to play college baseball. It’s his dream school. And he’s going to do really well in school, baseball and life.
What do these people have in common? 89 Nobel laureates, Indiana Jones (fictional character), Astronomers Carl Sagan & and Edwin Hubble (yes, the telescope guy), Authors like Kurt Vonnegut; CEO’s of Microsoft, Oracle, Goldman Sachs. 5 heads of state. Enrico Fermi, the creator of the first nuclear reactor. Edward Teller, the father of the hydrogen bomb. Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA. Answer: They all attended University of Chicago. (See a complete list of Alumni here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_University_of_Chicago_alumni)
That’s where Nate’s going. All because of a little southern hospitality and a little Yankee ingenuity.