Iowa Man Gets Save in His Major League Pitching Debut in St. Louis
What's happened to this young man in the last two days is what makes Major League Baseball so great.
His name is Keaton Winn. He's a 25-year-old right-handed pitcher for the San Francisco Giants who grew up in eastern Iowa.
Winn is from Ollie, a small town in Keokuk County in southeast Iowa. In 2020, its population was 201 people. It's a small town where you can dream big.
The Pekin Panthers was the high school team Winn pitched for and, during his junior season, he threw a perfect game (no base runners allowed) that featured 20 strikeouts. After graduation, Winn made his way to Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs. In 2018, the Giants drafted him in the 5th round of the MLB Draft.
It's been a bumpy road to the top for Winn. After going 10-8 his first two seasons in the minor leagues the U.S. was struck by COVID, wiping out the 2020 minor league season. Winn then had Tommy John surgery in 2021 and missed the entire season.
Monday, June 12, 2023, Winn's first dream became a reality. He was called up by the San Francisco Giants. He was finally a member of a Major League Baseball roster.
What's especially noteworthy is that Monday night was also the first time in his life that Winn had been in a major league stadium. Is he the first person ever to be in a dugout for his first trip to a major league ballpark? If not, I promise you he's one of very few.
Winn didn't appear in Monday night's game at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. However, Tuesday night, the 6'4" 238-pounder made an incredible debut.
The Giants led the Cardinals 9-2 when Winn strode to the mound in the bottom of the 6th to make his major league debut. Below is a photo from his first inning in the big leagues.
Winn pitched four innings in the game (6th through 9th), giving up just one hit and one earned run. He earned the save in San Francisco's 11-3 win. A pretty remarkable start to the major league career of a man who didn't have a single save while pitching in the minor leagues.
A big dreamer from Iowa has realized his dream. Congratulations Keaton Winn!