I was fortunate enough to meet 25-year old Colorado Rockies starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez in 2008. My first inclination was to talk with him in Spanish, because he is originally from the Dominican Republic, and I was unsure his level of English.
It didn’t take long to realize no matter what language he spoke, this guy was one of the nicest
and humble ball players I had ever met.
I watched his demeanor around other people and this guy had the biggest smile and the ability to make anyone feel at ease, just by being who he was.
He was humbled to have someone recognize him or even ask for an autograph. I’ll never forget the moment I asked him if he was going to win 20 games and he replied in broken English with a big smile and head down, something to the effect, ” I just be happy to win any.”
I knew he would win some and I hoped he would win many. This is the first pitcher I have ever watched in my life throw 102 miles per hour. I watched the board light up 102 and I was blown away. I’ve watched him throw his four-seam fastball 101 and 100 regularly.
I asked him, “What’s the fastest you ever thrown?” He replied, “100, 101.” I looked at him and said I’ve seen you throw 102. He smiled his big smile again and put his head down like a shy child. Who couldn’t help but love this guy I thought?
Last season he had some struggles on the mound but overall was solid in his starting role. With the season ending surgery for Jeff Francis, Mr. Ubaldo Jimenez has been inked as the number two.
So when I say it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, I mean I read today from Rockies MLB reporter Thomas Harding, Jimenez has signed a four-year $10 million contract. That may end up being a steal for the Rockies if Ubaldo lives up to the expectations every true fan knows he can exceed.
Congrats Ubaldo, I have all the faith in the world you will go down in Rockies history as being one of the best pitchers this team has ever had.