When we think of a lot of the pro athletes who make it to the top of their sport, most of them have been stars since they were a child. While they might not have all had the hype of a Ronaldo or a Lebron James, most people who were around pro athletes as children knew they had “something” special about them. But not the man that this article will look at. Daniel Nava had to work hard and persevere for everything he ever got, and here is his brilliant story.
As a child, Nava was not an imposing figure and was actually one of the smallest children in school and this continued all the way through high school. In fact, as a freshman at St. Francis High School in Mountain View, California, Nava stood at only 4’8 and weighed 70 lbs. While he did hit a growth spurt in high school, he was still only 5’5 and 150 lbs when he graduated as a senior. Nava knew he wanted to be a ball player, but was discredited due to his miniscule size.
He decided to attend Santa Clara University and was actually offered an opportunity to walk on to the baseball team, but he still failed to make the team as a player. Thinking his dreams may simply be unattainable, Nava agreed to be the team’s equipment manager. However, Nava soon was unable to pay for his tuition any longer, which forced him to enroll at a junior college. After playing ball there and becoming an all American, Santa Clara actually came calling to him and offered him a full scholarship, and things were finally beginning to look up for Nava. He ended up hitting .395 in his lone season at the school, which was tops in the division.
He ended up going undrafted after graduating and actually played for a team called the Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League. He played well and actually became the number one prospect in independent leagues. Eventually, his contract was bought out by the Red Sox for one dollar, which had to be kind of embarrassing for Nava, but at least he was in the system.
After working his way all the way from single A to triple A ball in the span of three years, Nava was finally ready to make his Major League debut in 2010 and boy, what a debut it would be. On the very first MLB pitch he ever saw, Daniel Nava belted a Grand Slam, making him only the second player in MLB history to hit a grand slam on the first pitch they ever got thrown at them. This was about as outstanding a debut you could ever hope for, and you know it was extra sweet for Nava who had to work so hard to get there.
While he was never able to turn into a superstar and has bounced around to a few different teams, Nava still finds himself living the dream of being an MLB player, something that he likely didn’t think was possible when he was the equipment manager for his college team all those years ago.