After setting a national high school record for consecutive wins
with his 51st, senior righthander Jon Peters of Brenham (Texas)
High became the only high school baseball player to grace our
cover. He also put Brenham on the map. The town, which before
Peters's streak was known primarily for its Blue Bell ice cream
plant, would see its favorite son finish with a 54-1 career
mark, including 53 straight victories, and lead the Cubs to
three state titles. But Peters's playing days ended less than
three years later with a blown-out arm. "I just had bad
mechanics," he says.
Even while at Brenham, Peters was damaged goods. During his
sophomore year he underwent surgery to his throwing arm. Peters
believes the surgery was the reason no major league team wasted
a pick on him in the June '89 draft. "There were too many
questions about my arm," he says. More arm operations followed
in the next three years as Peters went from Texas A&M, where he
was never able to pitch, to Blinn College in Brenham, where he
was 1-1 in '91. During the spring of '92 he tore his rotator
cuff and decided his career was over. He was 21.
Peters returned to A&M in the fall of '92, serving as the
baseball team's undergrad assistant and graduating two years
later with a degree in kinesiology. He earned his M.A., also in
kinesiology, from Sam Houston State in May '96 before baseball
came calling again. His former high school coach, Lee Driggers,
asked him to be one of his assistants at McMurry University in
Abilene, Texas; Peters took the job last fall. But while he
enjoys coaching, Peters's heart is in teaching. This summer he
taught a college course in personal health at a Texas prison.
"There's more to life than baseball," he says. "Baseball doesn't
last forever. For kids playing college ball, education needs to
be their top priority."
Next week Peters, now 26, leaves Brenham, where he has been
living at home with his mother, Ruth, for Louisiana State to
pursue a doctorate in pedagogy. When asked if he'll get involved
with LSU's baseball program, which has won four College World
Series in the '90s, including the last two, Peters says, "People
tell me I love the game too much to stay away. Depending on my
time, I may volunteer my services--if they'll have me."
He's not really in baseball shape, having played only a little
outfield recently for a local softball team, but he does, after
all, still hold that national record. "Sometimes I do wonder,
What if?" he says. "But I have no regrets. It was just never
meant to be."
COLOR PHOTO: RICHARD MACKSON [Cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED featuring Jon Peters]
COLOR PHOTO: PETER READ MILLER[Inset of Chris Mullin on cover of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED]