It’s already been 10 years. Ten years to the day when that lanky lefty took the mound at Chavez Ravine for the first time.
May 25, 2008: It was a lazy Sunday afternoon at Dodgers Stadium. The Dodgers were facing the St. Louis Cardinals and this highly touted prospect named Clayton Kershaw dawning the number 54 was making his Major League debut. He was only 20-years-old but he had this poise about him that made him look like a seasoned veteran.
— MLB (@MLB) May 25, 2018
In these ten years, so much in this world has changed. When Kershaw made his debut, the highly anticipated invention coming out was the iPhone 3G; we were still in the primaries of the 2008 Presidential Election; MySpace was experiencing its peak and the film Iron Man had just been released. In fact a person heading to college this year was only in second grade when Kershaw took the mound at Dodgers Stadium for the first time.
With all these changes over the past decade, Clayton Kershaw taking the mound for the Dodgers have remained a steady constant. Besides adding some facial hair and changing his number to 22, Kershaw has stayed the same youthful, yet consummate professional, that we have always known. While injuries have limited in the past couple of years, Kershaw remains the greatest pitcher of this generation. Ten years in and he is arguably the greatest pitcher our sport has ever seen.
On the Field
In addition his 145-68 record with a 2.37 ERA, Kershaw has done it all on the field. Since making his debut, here is what he has done:
- 7x All-Star Games
- 3x Cy Young Award
- NL MVP
- Pitching Triple Crown
- Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award
- TSN Major League Player of the Year
- Gold Glove
- 5x ERA Leader
- 3x NL Wins Leader
- 3x NL Strikeout Leader
- 2x Roy Campanella Award
- 4x Warren Spahn Award
- Roberto Clemente Award
- 3x Player’s Choice Award for National League Outstanding Pitcher
- Players Choice Award for Player of the Year
- 3x Texas Professional Baseball Player of the Year Award
- Baseball America Major League Player of the Year
- World Series Appearance
While he is only 30-years-old, he has accomplished more in ten seasons than most players accomplish in their entire careers. In fact, his three Cy Young Awards are as much or more than 14 Major League franchises.
Off the Field
In addition to all that he has accomplished on the field, you cannot talk about Kershaw’s legacy without mentioning his work off the field. Formed in 2011 by he and his wife, Ellen, the Kershaw’s Challenge foundation has positively impacted the lives of individuals around the globe. They have raised millions of dollars, benefiting communities in Dallas, the Dominican Republic, Los Angeles and Zambia. From making visits to areas in need to building homes through Habitat for Humanity to donating money for every strikeout in a season to charity wiffle ball games to his “Ping Pong 4 Purpose” events, Kershaw has done it all to leave an impact off the field.
— STYLE & SOCIETY (@styleandsociety) July 30, 2017
In these ten years, Clayton Kershaw has consistently been the model how to conduct one’s self. He has given us ten years of greatness. Ten years of that flowing hair. Ten years of that 96 mile-per-hour fastball followed by that filthy curveball. Ten years of those antics and jokes in the dugout. Ten years of winning ball games. Ten of grooming into a leader in the clubhouse.
While there is no one who compares to Kershaw, there is a guy who Clayton could potentially groom into a future leader in the rotation. A man who at 23-years old has that poise of a seasoned veteran. A man who has maturity beyond his year and has already been involved in a no-hitter in his first full season. Who? You guessed it. Walker Buehler.
While comparing Buehler to Kershaw this early at a lot of pressure to put on a rookie. With that said, Buehler has the right guy to emulate in the clubhouse. Will Buehler be able to accomplish what Kershaw has done over the past 10 years? Only time will tell.