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Oakland A’s sign fan after his 96 mph throw in a speed-pitch challenge

Nathan Patterson smiles after signing a minor-league contract with the Oakland Athletics.
Nathan Patterson smiles after signing a minor-league contract with the Oakland Athletics.
(Nathan Patterson)

It makes sense that an unheralded fan’s 96 mph fastball could be used as a convincing sales pitch to the organization that introduced “Moneyball” into the baseball lexicon.

The Oakland Athletics signed Nathan Patterson to a minor-league contract Thursday after he hit 96 mph during a fan challenge at Coors Field in Denver last month. It wasn’t the first time the Athletics got a sampling of his major-league velocity — Patterson also impressed while pitching during a fan event at the Athletics’ triple-A affiliate in Nashville last year.

After signing with the Athletics, the 23-year-old thanked the team for the opportunity to play professional baseball.

Still, it’s not like Patterson just showed up to the ballpark and decided to throw 96 mph fastballs as some sort of instant baseball wunderkind. He’s been working at his craft for years.

With the faith of the Athletics behind him, it’ll be interesting to see what comes next for Patterson. Making it as a 23-year-old rookie in the minors is no easy task, but Patterson has beaten the odds so far.


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