As for the family’s other event this weekend, Scherzer, 34, became the fourth Missouri player to have his jersey, No. 31, retired, joining coaches John “Hi” Simmons and Gene McArtor and outfielder Phil Bradley. He was voted into Missouri’s Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame in 2011, but the criteria for number retirement have kept his number off the wall at Taylor Stadium until now. Only recently did the school broaden the requirements, which formerly mandated that former athletes have won a player of the year award and graduated.
“When you get to this point and the recognition comes, you have to take a step back and be appreciative of all the people who had an impact on you,” Scherzer said (via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch). “That’s what I reflect on the most, the relationships and the hard work when I was here that led to this. This is really the ground zero of what it took to become a major league baseball player.”
Pitching at Missouri from 2004 to 2006, Scherzer had a 2.40 ERA and struck out 10.1 batters per nine innings. In 2005, he was 9-4 with a 1.86 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP, setting a school record with 131 strikeouts over 106 innings. Scherzer was a first-round pick by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006. He spent seven seasons with Arizona and Detroit before coming to the Nationals in 2015.
“Going to college, you pitch once a week and are on a seven-day program. When you only pitch once a week, it really affords you the ability to go out there and pitch 120 pitches in a game. And I think pitching that deep into a ballgame, you really learn something about yourself,” Scherzer said (via the Columbia Missourian). “You really learn how to go through the third time in the order. You really learn [you] can’t just go all fastballs — you really have to develop other off-speed pitches as well. And I think that’s something that’s getting lost in today’s game. And when I look back at my time here, that was something so critical to how I developed as a pitcher. That exposure really helped develop me for later in my career.”