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Ace of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Clayton Kershaw

Updated on August 6, 2017
Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

I've always loved watching baseball, even during the steroid era when it seemed like every great player was cheating.

Clayton Kershaw - a worthy celebrity athlete

In a world full of vapid celebrities who probably think the Earth is flat as often as not, it can be hard to pick a role model. Then, there is someone like Clayton Kershaw, standing head and shoulders above his competition on the field, and off the field. Almost universally thought of as the single most dominant pitcher in Major League Baseball at this time, Kershaw has accomplished some major statistical feats already. He's only now about to enter his prime.

Kershaw has a left arm capable of throwing pitches regularly that other major league pitchers can only dream of throwing. Typically, the ticket to the major leagues for a pitcher is the fastball and the body. If you can throw a fastball in the mid ninety miles per hour range, and you've got the physical build to where you look like you can do this consistently without destroying your arm, you're going to be a high draft choice, and given every chance to make a career of it. Thing is, hundreds of young men capable of throwing 95 miles per hour come, and they go. It's clear that having the physical ability to constantly throw in the mid nineties isn't enough to make you a Clayton Kershaw, so just what is the deal?

Long, tall, and overpowering - Clayton Kershaw


Clayton Kershaw - his talent can't be taught

Even the ability to regularly throw a baseball at one hundred miles per hour is no promise of success. Many men with even that elite physical gift never achieve the sort of success young Clayton Kershaw has already achieved. So what is it then, the curveball? Is it the slider? No, of course it is the unique combination of the physical ability to throw the baseball in the mid ninety miles per hour range consistently, combined with the ability to throw breaking balls only the most gifted can throw, and to also be able to put those pitches over the plate in the general location where he had wanted them to go. That's the physical talent of Clayton Kershaw.

These aren't gifts you can teach. Oh you can sure teach someone how to throw a fastball and get the most out of their fastball. You can teach someone to throw a curve-ball and a slider, but you can't teach them to throw breaking balls that break like those Clayton Kershaw throws.

The tale of the first time Clayton's curve was seen by baseball big shots is part of the growing legend. The tale of the first time Kershaw ever even tried to throw a slider is yet another legend still. As Kershaw is now entering what is considered the prime years of any athlete's career, one can only expect there to be more anecdotal and statistical marvels to come.

Clayton Kershaw delivers a pitch


Does Kershaw have the best curve ball in Major League Baseball? Probably

Does Clayton Kershaw have the best curve-ball in all of baseball? Who or what is best at a thing is always something which is endlessly debatable. It is probably best to not use words such as best too often, if you know what I mean. Anyway, Kershaw's curve-ball is so very very good that it earned its own nickname, and this is rare - that a pitcher's pitch has a nearly universal nickname of its own. Think of Nolan Ryan, his fastball was always called the express. Kershaw's curve ball? It is known as public enemy number one. Yes, it is just that scary, and you can see endless clips of the infamous knee-buckled batters on the web, or coming soon in 2016, new clips of the same.

It gets scarier still when you realize that Clayton Kershaw might just have the best slider in major league baseball too. It is fairly ridiculous, really, to say such things, even when it is possibly a true thing to say. One doesn't want to ascribe such superior attributes to just one man, especially when there are many other great pitchers in MLB at any one time. With Clayton, though, these things have become acceptable.

The point of it all with Clayton Kershaw, his amazing curve ball, his amazing slider, and his above average fastball is the total combination of it all is deadly to an opposing offense. You can hardly be ready for a mid nineties fastball if you are dialed in on trying to hit the near un-hittable curve or slider. The opposite is also true. If you are focusing on trying to hit a mid nineties fastball, you will find it nearly impossible to hit the curve or the slider offered by Clayton Kershaw. Oh yeah, the guy can also throw a change-up. Best wishes to you, oh hitters of round balls with round bats.

Clayton Kershaw and philanthropy

Clayton Edward Kershaw was born in Dallas, Texas. He's a 1988 model human. It is well known he is from Highland Park, which is actually a separate city within the boundaries of Dallas, Texas. Highland Park is a rather affluent town. I've personally been to a huge number of homes there while doing hvac work. I'd sometimes be inside someone's home for a while, working, and then figure out the home belonged to someone or another who's name and personage I was supposed to be very familiar with due to their influence or even fame. I kinda like to imagine that maybe I've been to the Kershaw residence before. I've no idea.

What needs to be made clear here for anyone not already familiar with Clayton Kershaw the person, meaning the person outside the ballpark - is that this man is very very aware of what a blessed and talented man he is. Straight up, the man is a philanthropist. Kershaw isn't just a local philanthropist, but instead, he is an international one as well. Oh yes, Clayton is making some very big money. He's also donating a lot of it and his precious time to giving back, and if you wish to become involved with his charitable organization, you are certainly welcome to do so too.

The Most Dominating Starter In Major League Baseball


Clayton Kershaw was drafted in the first round of the MLB draft, and he skipped college, as he knew he wanted to be a Major League pitcher

Clayton was drafter as the seventh overall pick in 2006. Such a high draft position only ever goes to someone who's got elite skills. Clayton had grown up playing baseball and football, and he'd had good coaching too. In 2006 Clayton was still in Highland Park High School, he won thirteen games, and had no loses. He was so dominant he pitched a game where he struck out every batter he faced in a complete game. The game was shortened due to the mercy rule. There was simply no contest to be had that day.

Kershaw could have attended college, but instead went straight into minor league baseball, and this allowed him to debut in the Major Leagues at an earlier age. By 2007 he was already rising through the minor leagues, and in spring training 2008, the legend of that curve ball began when Kershaw threw a pitch that seemingly was behind the left handed batter to begin with, then hooked all the way to the right to land as a strike. He'd debut as a Major League pitcher later in the year.

Sandy Koufax


Kershaw and Koufax

Nobody ever wants to jinx a kid with as much promise as Clayton Kershaw showed the world, but there's little doubt everyone was thinking it long before they were saying it in public. Throwing a fastball that reached ninety six miles per hour and one of the most knee buckling curve balls since Nolan Ryan or Bert Blyleven (though from the opposite side of the pitching rubber) - everyone could see that Kershaw's stuff was akin to the legendary Koufax.

For a full year, Kershaw was the youngest player in Major League baseball. Early on he often dominated hitters by running up loads of strikeouts, but he didn't yet have the kind of control one associates with a true staff ace. He must have showed amazing maturity for his age though, as he didn't much show ever being too rattled by the minor failures all major league players inevitably face. Clayton held his composure even after being booed loudly off the field in a game early on in 2010. I don't have to tell you how often young men on the big stage in MLB, the NBA, or the NFL often behave exceedingly poorly. Clayton has maintained a class act on and off the field to date.

Kershaw isn't bad with the bat either

This image from a game winning home run.
This image from a game winning home run. | Source

Roger Clemens - Clayton Kershaw's pitching hero.


'Arise' - a book by Clayton Kershaw, available on!

Clayton Kershaw and the Los Angeles Dodgers

By 2011 Kershaw was the Los Angeles Dodger's opening day starter. He'd go on to win the triple crown of pitching in the National League that year, and win his first Cy Young award. What is the triple crown of pitching? The triple crown of pitching is when a pitcher leads his league in wins, earned run average, and strikeouts. Strangely enough, a real statistical anomaly, Justin Verlander won the triple crown of pitching the same year in the American League. Such a thing had not happened since 1924 - triple crown pitching winners in both leagues.

The 2012 season saw Kershaw as the runner up to R.A. Dickey in the Cy Young voting. The bottom number to be considered a power pitching starter is 200 strikeouts per season. In 2012 Kershaw made it his third straight season of 200 or more strikeouts. He also had the lowest earned run average in the National League that year.

2013 saw Clatyon Kershaw to his second Cy Young award. He picked up his one thousandth strikeout along the way. At one thousand innings into his Major League career his earned run average was an amazing 2.70. Of course he had another season of more than two hundred strikeouts. His season earned run average of 1.83 was the lowest ERA since the year 2000. He'd led the National League in lowest ERA for three consecutive years. After the season he would become the highest paid pitcher in Major League Baseball history.

What did Clayton Kershaw do in 2014? Oh not much, he just won his third Cy Young award, and also won National League Most Valuable Player. He pitched a near perfect game no hitter where the only batter to reach base reached on an error, and he made the all star team for the fourth year in a row. He had a forty one scoreless inning streak, he won twenty one games, and had a new career low for ERA, a sparkling 1.77. Now there is some disputes, of course, as to whether or not a pitcher should even be eligible for the most valuable player award, but he won it just the same.

As a guy composing a webpage about one of his favorite subjects - Major League Baseball power pitchers, this section seems mechanical to me. You don't need me to tell you about Clayton Kershaw's stats and awards, and I've barely mentioned much about all of those, Wikipedia has a very nice page on Clayton, and all of that information is available there, and in other places too.

Texas has had a nice list of amazing power pitchers. Nolan Ryan, Kerry Wood, Roger Clemens, Clayton Kershaw, and more still, including the 2015 Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta. Roger Clemens, the only seven time Cy Young award winner was Clayton Kershaw's pitching hero, and he modeled his pitching mechanics after Clemens. It shows too, and there are no better models for a long term power pitcher, except for Nolan Ryan. The consistent over the top drop and drive pitching motion is optimal, and gives hope to a long and amazing career for Kershaw.

Concerning the 2015 season, Clayton Kershaw had another fabulous year. Amazingly, he was out-shinned on his own team by the terrific Zack Greinke. So in the same year the stupendous Clayton Kershaw joined the exclusive 300 strikeouts in a season club, he was outdone in the national league by Jake Arrieta, and Zack Greinke. Going into 2016 Kershaw is in the prime of his physical or athletic life, and one can only expect that he will seek to prove once again that he, and he alone is the ace of aces. Thanks for reading.

Barely hittable Clayton Kershaw in 2015

© 2016 Wesman Todd Shaw


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