A decade ago, John Means was the lesser known name on the Gardner Edgerton High School baseball team, the player failing to find a college offer on a team that included future Royals first-round pick Bubba Starling.
On Wednesday, Means forever cemented his name into Major League Baseball history.
Means threw a no-hitter for the Baltimore Orioles in a 6-0 victory over the Mariners on Wednesday in Seattle, only narrowly missing out on a perfect game. The lone baserunner reached on a dropped third strike.
It’s the first individual no-hitter for the Orioles since Jim Palmer in 1969.
Means, 28, and from Olathe, Kansas, eventually attended Fort Scott Community College because of the lack of college interest. In a story with the Baltimore Sun two years ago, he said, “I didn’t have any other offers. Division I, Division II, Division III, you name it; I didn’t have it.”
He would turn himself into an 11th-round pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, and he promptly threw a no-hitter in Class A ball.
His journey might be unorthodox, but the no-hitter didn’t come out of nowhere. Powered by a devastating changeup, Means has developed into the Orioles ace and has dominated the world’s best hitters for the opening five weeks. He improved to 4-0 with a 1.37 earned run average. He struck out 12 on Wednesday.
“I never really thought I’d be here. I’d always write MLB player when I was a kid on the on the sheet when asked you when you what you wanted to do when you’re older, but I never thought it was a reality,” Means said, according to The Associated Press. “And now that it is, and now I’m able to throw this, it’s crazy and I don’t even know how to describe it.”