OAKLAND — Nathan Patterson used to have a fastball and a dream. That fastball just made the dream come true.
The 23-year-old was just another fan two weeks ago when he attended a Colorado Rockies game at Coors Field and decided to hop in the speed pitch challenge.
But then he threw a fastball at 94 miles per hour. Then another. Then a bit faster: 96 mph. In video posted to Twitter by his brother, Christian Patterson, the amateur pitcher could be seen throwing heaters that rival the best professionals in the game.
Christian tweeted the video with an appeal: “@MLB Let’s get him signed!”
It may have had the intended effect: Patterson is the newest member of the Oakland A’s. He posted an Instagram photo of himself signing a contract on Thursday night.
The organization said it wanted him to get settled in the pros before speaking to the press. Patterson referred questions to his agent, who hasn’t responded to requests for comment.
The pitcher’s journey to the big leagues began in August 2018 at a Nashville Sounds game, where he hit 96 at a stadium pitching booth, which surprised him because he hadn’t thrown “for a few years before that,” he told MLB.com.
The 23-year-old played baseball until his senior year of high school.
After his remarkable throws at the Nashville game, Patterson began to train. But his dreams were put on hold when he was hit by a car and had to undergo surgery on his non-pitching arm.
Despite the injury, Patterson continued to pitch, posting videos of his training while wearing an arm cast on social media.
He began talking with the A’s in February and then joined a men’s league.
In mid-July, a few days after Patterson’s impressive fastballs at the Rockies game were recorded, he finally got the call.
Patterson posted a picture on Instagram of himself in A’s gear and of his new locker with his name on it. “My family has given me nothing but constant love and support throughout the last 9 months as I pursue a dream of mine that I’ve had since I was a little kid,” he wrote in the caption.
“It’s been a roller coaster to get here with many challenges and overcoming adversity.”
He thanked his trainers and added: “And for those who tell you that you can’t achieve your dreams, use that as fuel to work even harder. Because those people are the ones that settle.”