11/23/2022 12:58 PM
Article By: Ben Sinins
The 6-foot-9 inch flame throwing right-handed pitcher, Dan Wright, from the University of Houston, is one of the most interesting stories in college baseball. Starting his collegiate career on the gridiron and throwing spirals, Wright has spiked the pigskin. He has changed fields, and schools, and is now chasing his baseball passion in the hopes of making it to the MLB.
Growing up in Iowa, Wright was always a Goliath, and utilized that size and athleticism to excel at both football and baseball. Joking that – apart from playing sports – there was not much else to do in his home state, Wright humbly acknowledges his natural talent. Baseball fans are surely familiar with Iowa’s Field of Dreams and the promise of great play there by legends of times past. Wright’s unique talents might just make him a future legend worthy of that special place.
Wright’s abilities have always been apparent and gave him early opportunities. Having a cannon for an arm and being so strong, Wright became a Quarterback. At Sergeant Bluff-Luton High School, Wright starred as Quarterback and also as a Pitcher for the baseball team. Collegiate scouts in both sports came knocking and offered Wright scholarships. As a high schooler, Wright chose football as his chosen path to professional sports. Wright initially committed to North Dakota State University to play football, but he later decommitted for the chance to play at a higher-profile program. Wright boldly took a leap and committed to the University of Wisconsin as a walk-on Quarterback, perhaps the most challenging position to earn a spot.
That challenge did not pan out. While at Wisconsin, Wright lived in the weight room, adding twenty pounds to his already massive frame. Although he worked extremely hard, there were several other talented Quarterbacks, and Wright did not break through to see much playing time. Football stardom was not to be. But this setback simply led Wright in pursuit of his twin passion of baseball. Itching to get back on a mound again, Wright began searching for opportunities outside the Dairy State.
Wright did not have to look far for advice. He confided in his close friends and family, one of whom happened to be his Iowa neighbor, Storm Throne, an enormous pitcher and former minor leaguer within the Chicago White Sox organization. Throne is almost as large as Wright (6 ‘7’) and spent three years pitching in the minors, making him an excellent mentor and advisor. Throne suggested Wright go to the local JUCO powerhouse Iowa Western Community College due to its winning record, history of developing players, and the Reivers’ connections with D1 collegiate programs. In 2022 alone, 22 Iowa Western players signed with D1 programs and 2 more with D2 teams. Wright took the advice and enrolled.
The move paid dividends for the aspiring pitcher. At Iowa Western, Wright performed in stellar fashion, boasting a 2.55 Earned Run Average in twenty-four and one-thirds innings pitched, including thirty-one strikeouts. Unsurprisingly Wright’s fastball sat between 92 and 94 miles per hour. Perhaps most intimidating for batters, Wright’s pitches arrive from such an elevation, it seems like he releases the ball right in front of the batter’s face! This has proven quite an effective deception to fool batters. Following the Reivers’ 2022 season, Wright played summer ball for the Madison Mallards of the Northwoods League. Wright returned to Madison, Wisconsin playing a different sport. Like the strong fan base enjoyed by the Wisconsin Badgers, the Northwoods’ Mallards also have an extremely loyal following. It is common for more than 6,000 fans to attend games on any given night. Wright excelled, with a 1.46 ERA and forty strikeouts over thirty seven innings. Being named Northwoods Pitcher of the Night on three separate occasions was no easy feat. By late June, Wright also led the Northwoods League in strikeouts.
Now attending the University of Houston, the baseball future is very bright for Wright. He will pitch for the Harwich Mariners in the Cape Cod league during the 2023 summer season. Not putting any pressure on Wright, but the last dual athlete - football and baseball - who played for the Harwich Mariners was none other than Oklahoma’s Heisman Trophy winner and Center Fielder, Kyler Murray, who graced the Cape Cod League in 2017. Murray is currently the quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals and was the ninth overall pick by the Oakland Athletics in 2018. Murray is doing just fine and given his talent, Wright will be able to pursue his professional dreams as well.