Ken and Teddie Story were a bit disappointed with the news last fall.
Their son, Trevor, had returned home to Irving after a strong season during which he had risen to the Triple-A level in the Colorado system. The parents looked forward to having their son for an extended stretch of rest and relaxation.
Sorry mom and dad, Trevor Story said. Not now.
Story was so close to the majors that he could feel it. This was no time to kick back. After a few weeks at home, Story returned to Scottsdale, Ariz., at his own expense for a full offseason of workouts at the Rockies’ spring training base.
Look at him now.
Story has added 25 pounds of muscle, much of it in his lower body, since the Rockies selected him out of Irving High School High with the 45th overall pick in the 2011 draft.
Story won the shortstop job in a three-way spring-training competition and became the story no one saw coming with a record seven homers, two off Arizona ace Zack Greinke, in the first six games of the season. Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Mike Schmidt and Larry Walker had six homers in the first six games.
“We are so pleased for him, because he’s worked so hard to get there,” said Teddie Story, chief executive officer with the Irving Cares charity. “It’s very gratifying. I think what he did (last offseason) showed his commitment to getting better. It made a difference.
“He worked really hard in the last three offseasons to get bigger and stronger to put him in a position where if there was ever a window of opportunity, he’d be in the right place.”
The window opened through an unfortunate event.
In mid-November, news leaked that Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes had been arrested on Oct. 31 in Hawaii on domestic violence charges. In February, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred suspended Reyes until the matter is settled in the courts.
Story beat out Daniel Descalso and Cristhian Adames to become the starting shortstop. On the evening of April 4, the parents made it to Chase Field in Phoenix to see his major-league debut against Arizona and Greinke.
There was some anxiety, Teddie Story admitted. There are easier ways to start a major-league career than facing Greinke, who received a six-year, $206.5-million deal from Arizona in the offseason.
In his first major-league at-bat, Trevor Story grounded out. In his second at-bat, Story homered on a 0-1 fastball from Greinke. In his third at-bat, Story hit a 2-0 slider 428 feet. Story became the first player with a multi-homer game against Greinke since Cincinnati’s Joey Votto, on June 13, 2010.
“Speechless is the word,” Teddie Story said. “We knew he could make contact. He is so calm this season, really focused. Trevor has never been really excitable, because he’s been laser-focused this year. It’s all come together.”
Trevor Story has always made grand entrances. As a freshman at IHS, he lined a double in his first at-bat with the varsity.
“People asked me what took me so long to bring him up,” said Jay Malone, the coach at the time.
Malone insisted he get no credit for Story’s development into a major-leaguer. Story was a hitter from the moment he joined the team, Malone said.
The only change is that a bigger and stronger Story generates more lift with his swing. In high school, he was a gap-to-gap line drive hitter who produced doubles. Now, those hard-hit balls go over fences instead of crashing into them.
The flurry of homers is the surprise, not that Story has power. He hit 20 homers and 40 doubles at the Double- and Triple-A levels last season.
We did a lot of work, because Trevor’s nature is to always work and work to get better,” said Malone, an administrator with the Carthage ISD. “But Trevor always knew how to hit. He was a natural.”
Malone enjoyed coaching Story. Despite his rising status, Story never acted as if he were bigger than the team, Malone said. He credited that to his parents.
Dar Cox, the long-time Colorado scout who pushed for Story, saw the same thing in following him leading up to the draft.
“Obviously, he was a kid with the tools you want in a player,” said Cox, retired and living in Frisco. “But you have to look past that and see what he brings to the game as far as his character, his passion to play. … He had that drive, that passion. He understood that he wasn’t bigger than the game.”
Cox knows the home-run barrage will not last. When it does, he said, Story will settle into being a quality front-line shortstop. And when the offseason arrives, Trevor Story will keep working on it just as he did last year.
A look at Trevor Story’s record-setting seven homers in seven games:
|Game||Opponent||Pitcher||Pitch||Distance (in feet)|
|1||Arizona||Zack Greinke||0-1 fastball||368|
|1||Arizona||Zack Greinke||2-0 slider||428|
|2||Arizona||Shelby Miller||1-0 change-up||433|
|3||Arizona||Patrick Corbin||1-0 fastball||433|
|4||San Diego||Colin Rea||0-0 curveball||409|
|4||San Diego||Ryan Buchter||3-2 fastball||397|
|6||San Diego||Brandon Maurer||1-1 slider||429|
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