By Arnie Leshin
Take me out to the ballgame is where Brandon Tate Nimmo wanted to be, except that in 2020, he’s right up there in the Major Baseball League but with no fans in the stands and all the COPID-19 restriction applying.
He’s from Wyoming, Cheyenne Wyoming, and this makes it even more noteworthy because his amateur baseball background is so bizarre compared to most professional ballplayers, and now reaching the major leagues makes it even more so. He did not play high school baseball because his high school did not have one. It never did.
And so at the ripe young age of 10, Nimmo had an interest in our national pastime, but looking to his future, he was now dreaming of ride em cowboy as one of his favorites, and he figured he had a pair of options, one as a bull rider quickly out the gate and attempting to stay abroad, and one as a cowboy bolting the gate as the horse tries to buck him.You have a choice, either you stay up as the clock ticks down or tumble to the ground, feeling the pain of this time of defeat.
He was still in elementary school at the time and his favorite sport was baseball, except he knew that to play the national pastime, he couldn’t fit it on his East High sports schedule at the school in Cheyenne, Wy. No baseball played there, only the third school in the the nation to have this. He knew about it quite some time ago. His parents, Patti and Ron, informed him, so did friends. Thus, it a wasn’t secret, just a big disappointment, so he took the game elsewhere.
“It took a lot of travel,” said the present 26-year-old New York Mets’ starting center fielder, “and my junior year at East, I signed up for the American Legion Post 6 team, and that’s how I was able to slip into a baseball uniform and learn more about the game. I was set on playing in center field, and that’s why they put me there. From Cheyenne, I had to drive between 45 minutes to 10 hours to play American Legion ball and get exposure, and hoped to be chosen in the college draft.”
There were other sports at his high school that were played, so he decided to pay football and run track. On the gridiron he was versatile, ran the ball, took a few turns at quarterback, caught passes, and even played both sides of the ball. He had natural speed and, good hands, and leadership qualities, but he always had that stitched baseball on his mind.
Along with growing up envisioning being in the rodeo and roping bulls and hanging on to the bucking horses, he also grew up with the Colorado Rockies as his number one team on the baseball diamond. And so he was hoping the Rockies would draft him so that he could play home games in front of family and friends.
But his name was called first by the Mets. It was the 2011 draft and he was their first-round pick, the 11th player selected. Afterward they said they had two scouts see him play in the Under Amour All-American game at Wrigley Field, and he was impressive, even won the MVP, award. Not only did he hit two doubles and drive home two runs with a long triple, he also drew a walk and made two outstanding catches at crucial times to secure the victory in Chicago.
He became No. 9 for the team that plays in the New York borough of Queens, a long way from Cheyenne.
He was signed to a bonus.
The previous year he was chosen in the first round by the Philadelphia Phillies, but he chose instead to honor a verbal commitment to play baseball on a free ride at University of Arkansas, but when he changed his mind, he went back into the next draft. He sat there again in 2012 and when his name was called, he said he looked like someone who had won the lottery or bingo. His bonus signing was $201,000, and his in 2019 salary now totals in the neighborhood of $298,265.00.
He’s an athletic 6-foot-3, weighs about 200, bats left, throws right, and was born in Cheyenne on March 27, in 1993. In the draft he was the 13th first round pick. He was the 17th baseball player from Wyoming to appear in the draft, but the first one to ever go in the first round, as well as coming from the only high school in the country that doesn’t field a baseball program.
He managed to include He he has a great heart and both he and his wife, Chelsea, contribute to charities and we just ask where to sign.
It’s a cool story that gets cooler, one that Nimmo shared, and one that could get cooler as he gets more playing time in the majors. He has all the key ingredients and is working on more power at bat. He hits to all fields. He can get around in center fielder, has a strong arm, can take off quickly down the first base line, always hustles, and is a fan favorite.
He’s had injuries, nothing unusual, and his present list is now empty, but through the early years there’s been an irregular heartbeat, a bulging neck disc, a broken pinkie finger, a blown-up right hand, and for various other annoying mishaps, he spent about three months being sidelined early last season.
The only player in the New York-Penn League with two grand slams in 2012, his first coming on June 30. In 2017, he was chosen to be part of Team Italy in the World Baseball Classic. On Thanksgiving week in 2017 he was married in Savannah, Ga., to the former Chelsea Bradley In 2018, he batted .479 in September and continued to show increased power that year through the season’s first two months. Also in 2018, he hit .263, clouted 17 home runs and drove across 47 runs.