Clay Zavada is a relief pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks. I went to a Diamondbacks game on June 9th. Clay Zavada had made his MLB debut just 19 days earlier on May 21st, and I was not familiar with him when I saw him stretching and running in the outfield with the other pitchers during batting practice. But the 'stache catches your eye. I didn't know who he was but I do know that he was the only Diamondbacks player that day that acknowledged the fans in the bleachers hoping for a batting practice homerun ball. He came over and talked to a few fans and signed autographs. Even better than his 'stache is his story. Check out the New York Times article by Katie Thomas published December 20, 2008.
It chronicles the fact that Clay's mother passed away when he just 3 years old, leaving his father to raise Clay and his brother. Clay was drafted in the 30th round of the 2006 draft by the Diamondbacks. His father died unexpectedly of a heart attack that December and it devestated Clay to the point that he did not report to Spring Training in 2007. The Diamondbacks dropped his contract later that summer. Clay decided to go back to college and complete his Bachelors degree at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to honor his fathers wishes. After more than a year without so much as picking up a baseball, Clay decided to try out for an independent league team, the Southern Illinois Miners. It took a few games, but Clay eventually caught the attention of the Diamondbacks, and in June of 2008, they re-signed him to a one-year contract. From that point, it took Clay less than a year to reach the majors. That is some story and that is some 'stache. Congratualations Clay and good luch in the big leagues!
If anybody has any of Clay's cards I would love to trade. I just checked ebay and there wasn't a single Clay Zavada card listed.