PERSEVERANCE AND DETERMINATION = SUCCESS!!! …
Darin Burton Downs (born Dec 26, 1984), is a Major League Baseball pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and also son of proud father, Richard Downs, ’59 HPHS classmate. He was called up to the majors for the first time on July 3, 2012. On August 5, 2012, Downs got his first win in his Major League career as the Tigers defeated the Cleveland Indians 10–8 in 10 innings. He is an excellent left handed pitcher. We send our best wishes to Darin and family for a continued successful and enriched baseball career.
Detroit Tigers' Darin Downs overcomes lifethreatening head injury to earn first big league callup Detroit Tigers left-handed reliever, Darin Downs, struck out 33 and walked 8 batters in 29 1/3 innings with Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens and posted a 2.22 ERA in 24 appearances. DETROIT -- Detroit Tigers left-hander Darin Downs guesses he’s told the story nearly 100 times by now. But he doesn't mind telling it again. For the 27-year-old Downs, the real-life nightmare serves as a humbling reminder to just how far he’s come since a comebacker nearly cut his career and, more importantly, his life short in late 2009. “It’s a feel-good story for me to look back on,” he said. “I came so far from that moment. Just to be so close to not making it and now I’m here right now.” Downs remembers every detail. The batter. The count. The sound.
“Everything,” he said. “Everything.” It was the bottom of the fifth, and his team was trailing 2-0 when Downs, who was making his second start for the Tampa Bay Rays’ Double-A affiliate, ran the count full on Christian Marrero. Having issued a one-out walk and a single, Downs threw a knee-high fastball that Marrero sent right back towards the mound. The screamer hit Downs flush above his left ear, hard enough for the ball to deflect into the team’s dugout, according to a report by the Tampa Bay Times a couple months after the incident. He was taken by ambulance to St. Vincent's Hospital in Birmingham, Ala. where doctors questioned whether the then 24-year-old could survive the night, let alone talk again. Downs remained in the intensive care unit for nearly three days and spent nine more in the hospital recovering from a fractured skull, brain swelling and internal bleeding. Eventually, he was released and flown on a medical charter to Palm Beach, Fla. It wasn't until then that Downs said he and his wife, Christy, and his mother, Patti, actually felt a sense of relief, finally believing he was "out of danger." “Not being able to talk and not being able to do anything other than just making noises,” Downs recalled. “I slowly progressed, like a baby would.” His speech gradually returned, but the process was difficult, to say the least. And, the next few months would prove even more challenging, he said. “It was a very tough recovery,” Downs said. “Post-concussion syndrome was not my friend. I was kind of depressed and tired all the time. I just slept. “I would tell me myself I’m not going to play again -- that I was scared to go back out there." Downs eventually said "to heck with it" and faced his fears, returning to the mound only a few months after he underwent surgery and began an extensive rehabilitation program. It didn't take long for him to continue where he left off. In his first season back, he split time between the Rays’ Double-A and Triple-A affiliates, going 6-2 with a 1.69 ERA in Double-A Montgomery to earn a promotion. The success followed him in Triple-A Durham where he finished the season 6-2 with an impressive 45:17 strikeout-to-walk ratio. “Once I got into spring training, I was a little timid throwing batting practice,” Downs said. “After that, I said whatever is going to happen is going to happen. "It’s one in a million -- how many guys today will throw a pitch and nothing happens? I just got over it.” He became a minor-league free agent following the 2010 season and signed with the Florida Marlins, going 5-7 with a 4.66 ERA in Double-A and Triple-A. It certainly wasn’t a highlight-reel year for Downs, but the Tigers were impressed enough by his resume to offer a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. Downs spoke to reporters Tuesday afternoon, having arrived in Detroit only a few hours earlier after the Tigers purchased his contract from Triple-A Toledo late Monday. Born in nearby Southfield, Downs was called up to help protect a bullpen that was expected see a lot of action with left-hander Duane Below making a spot start Tuesday. It didn’t take long for him to be asked about the significance of earning a big league callup and the adversity he’s had to battle since his career-threatening injury.
“It’s been a long road for me,” Downs said. “A lot of ups and a lot of downs and I just kept grinding it out, hoping something good would happen.” Something good did happen to Downs late Monday. As he made his way home following the Mud Hens’ game, Downs received a phone call around midnight from manager Phil Nevin, asking the southpaw to return to Fifth Third Field. “He didn’t directly tell me, he just told me to come back because he wanted to talk,” Downs said. “I kinda knew it was something good by the tone of his voice.” He was right. It’s the first big league stint for Downs, who found instant success in Triple-A Toledo this year, allowing 25 hits and just eight walks in 29 1/3 innings en route to a stellar 2.22 ERA. “I'm just blessed to be here and to be able to put on a jersey,” he said. With his wife and daughter, Briana, in attendance, Downs made his major league debut in the ninth inning Tuesday night, pitching a scoreless frame -- getting Justin Morneau, his first batter, to fly out and striking out Brian Dozier, his final batter. "I was excited, you know?" he said. "A little nerves there, running out of the bullpen." Asked what he'll remember most about his debut, Downs rattled off a list of highlights. "Just going from playing in front of like, 8,000 people to 35,000-plus," he said. "The atmosphere, the whole experience, all day."
DARIN DOWNSâ€™ STATS http://espn.go.com/mlb/player/_/id/31076/darin-downs
7/5/12: Darin Downs gloves a roller up the line and flips it to Prince Fielder at first to retire the speedy Ben Revere http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=22863113&c_id=mlb
7/5/12: Darin Downs strikes out Justin Morneau during a scoreless three-inning effort in which he fans five and exits to a standing ovation http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=22864935&c_id=mlb
8/8/12: Darin Downs throws to first base to pick off Ichiro Suzuki breaking for second in the seventh inning http://detroit.tigers.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=23740809&c_id=mlb