September 17, 2021

‘This is now history, right?’ The unlikely story behind José Urquidy’s World Series moment (The Athletic)

WASHINGTON — On a Thursday morning last December, on the final day of the Winter Meetings, Major League Baseball held its annual Rule 5 Draft at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas strip. Long the bailiwick of speculators, dreamers and true baseball nerds, the event offers clubs a chance to pick up unprotected minor-leaguers at a modest acquisition cost of $100,000.

The draft, at its core, is a collective dart-throwing exercise, the guesses researched but rapid, the rounds conducted at 95 mph. The picks begin, and the names fly, and if you turn away for a moment, you might miss something that, 10 months later, suddenly feels seismic.

Then again, maybe the entire industry misses it, too. On that Thursday last December, every club in baseball could have selected Jose Urquidy, a 23-year-old right-hander in the Astros system who had never pitched above A-ball, had Tommy John surgery in 2017 and was still known to the baseball world by a different name:…

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