Missouri baseball retires Max Scherzer’s No. 31 jersey

Scherzer was drafted 11th overall by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 2006 MLB First Year Players’ Draft.
Current Washington National and former Missouri Tigers pitcher Max Scherzer speaks to those in attendance at his jersey retirement on Friday, Jan. 17, 2018. Courtesy of Mizzou Athletics

The growing legacy of Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer took another leap with the retirement of his No. 31 jersey at Missouri baseball’s annual First Pitch Dinner Friday.

With former St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, father of junior catcher Jake Matheny, in attendance as a guest speaker, the St. Louis native became the fourth person to have a number retired in Mizzou baseball history, following Phil Bradley (no. 15), coach Gene McArtor (no. 33) and coach John Simmons (no. 34).

Inducted into the MU Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011, Scherzer already had his name etched into Missouri history.

Over his three seasons at MU, Scherzer had a 2.60 earned-run average while amassing 226 strikeouts. His sophomore season, he helped lead Missouri to its first 40-win season since 1991 while leading the Big 12 in ERA (1.86) and strikeouts (131). His dominant performance resulted in him being named Big 12 Pitcher of the Year.

The following year, Scherzer went 7-2 en route to the Tigers making a Super Regional appearance, including a win against No. 1 Florida.

He was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks 11th overall in the 2006 MLB First Year Players’ Draft, the second highest Missouri baseball player picked to date — pitcher Aaron Crow was drafted ninth overall in the 2008 draft.

Since going pro, Scherzer has pitched for the Diamondbacks, Detroit Tigers and is now preparing to enter his fifth year with the Nationals. He has a career .322 ERA with 2,449 strikeouts and has finished the last four seasons in the top-two in total strikeouts.

At 34 years old, Scherzer has already had a Hall of Fame caliber career. The three-time Cy Young Award winner is the 11th pitcher in MLB History to record 1,000 strikeouts in both the National and American Leagues. He has also been an All-Star each of the last six seasons, including three All-Star Game starts (2013, 2017-18).

Scherzer and the Nationals will open spring training workouts in less than a month at the team facilities in West Palm Beach, Florida, while – four hours north in Jacksonville, Florida – his alma mater will begin its 2019 campaign on Feb. 15 with a three-game series at North Florida.

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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