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Release Date: 
Friday, October 25, 2019

New Detroit Tigers' pitcher is a Hawk alumnus

John Schreiber on the mound for the Tigers. Photo courtesy Detroit News.
John Schreiber on the mound for the Tigers. Photo courtesy Detroit News.

Comerica Park holds a special place in HFC alumnus John Schreiber’s heart.

It is where he proposed to his wife Rebecca, whom he married on Jan. 11 of this year.

It is also where he made his major league debut, pitching for the Detroit Tigers, on Aug. 8. (Watch 1.5-minute video of his debut appearance with the Tigers). According to MLB, he is the first Michigan-born player to pitch for the Tigers.

“It’s amazing! Growing up a Tigers fan, and this year having them call me up, it’s so surreal. I never imagined I’d be playing for the Tigers. It’s just awesome. It’s unbelievable,” said Schreiber, of Rockwood, who’s an alumnus of Carlson High School in Gibraltar.

Schreiber’s professional baseball career

The right-handed pitcher, who finished this season for the Tigers with a 2-0 record and an ERA of 6.23, played for HFC during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons. Schreiber was drafted by the Tigers in the 15th round of the 2016 Major League Baseball draft, where he signed for a $6,000 bonus (fellow HFC pitcher Kyle Roberts was signed in the 5th round of the MLB draft by the Texas Rangers in 2016).

After signing, Schreiber played for the Connecticut Tigers, a minor league team affiliated with the Detroit Tigers, in Norwich, CT, where he went 2-3 in 18 games with an ERA of 2.76. In 2017, he played for the West Michigan Whitecaps, another minor league team affiliated with the Tigers in Grand Rapids. Playing for the Whitecaps, Schreiber improved dramatically, with a 5-1 record and an ERA of 0.54 in 27 relief appearances.

Schreiber jumped straight to the Erie SeaWolves, another minor league team affiliated with the Tigers in Erie, PA in 2018. There, he finished with an ERA of 2.48 and 18 saves in 23 games, pitching 49 games over the course of the season. In 2019, he began in Erie but was called up to play for the Toledo Mud Hens, the best-known minor league team affiliated with the Tigers. He remained with the Mud Hens until he joined the majors in August.

“It’s incredible, facing guys I’ve seen play on TV. It’s so surreal when you’re up against them,” he said. “I’ve gotten to meet Alan Trammel (the legendary Tigers shortstop who is the special assistant to current Tigers’ general manager Al Avila) several times. He’s a very nice man and always generous with his time.”

Watch the Tigers' 4-minute video of Schreiber's professional path

A close team bond as an HFC Hawk laid the groundwork

Schreiber spoke fondly about his time at HFC, playing for Coach Steve Brown for two seasons.

“Everything was a stepping stone,” he recalled. “At HFC, I put in a lot of hard work. I’m very grateful to have had the opportunity to play baseball for the Hawks. I had a close bond with my teammates. HFC was a stepping stone for my baseball career.”

It is that same work ethic that Schreiber applies to the Tigers.

“I’ve got to keep proving myself,” he said. “I’ve got to keep putting in the hard work.”

“He’s such a great young man who worked hard in the classroom and on the field,” said Brown. “The saying, ‘If you work hard, good things will happen,’ applies to him. John took that route and gutted it out. He always had a lot of potential and was a pleasure to coach. I’m proud of him. I’m happy to see him doing what he’s doing for the Tigers.”

Major league press

Development of backdoor slider has flipped the script for Tigers' John Schreiber -- Detroit News

How John Schreiber made it from Rockwood to CoPa: “The kid does things the right way” -- Detroit Free Press

'It's unbelievable': John Schreiber concludes fairy-tale rise to Tigers -- Detroit News

MLB major league player page -- Major League Baseball

MLB minor league player page -- Major League Baseball