News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Given to Fly

March 16, 2007

Given to Fly: ISU grad Joe Thatcher knocking on major league door

TERRE HAUTE — Indiana State alum Joe Thatcher went undrafted after a solid career closing and starting baseball games for coach Bob Warn at Indiana State. Just three years later, Thatcher is knocking on the door of pitching in the Major Leagues.

On Thursday, Thatcher began competing for a job in the Milwaukee Brewers’ bullpen. He was told to pack up and move into the Major League clubhouse.

The 25-year-old Thatcher has made a quick ascent from independent ball to sitting down in Brewers’ manager Ned Yost’s office. Thatcher is “a classic late bloomer who knows how to set up hitters and works ahead in the count with average stuff,” according to one published report by Baseball America.

Thatcher’s dad Phil was Warn’s first recruit in 1977. Phil Thatcher said he can’t “put my finger on why [Joe’s] so much better now than when he was in college.

“He hasn’t changed his mechanics. He just kind of woke up one day throwing about five mile an hour faster than he did in college,” Phil Thatcher said of his oldest son. “He always had good command of his pitches and knew how to pitch.”

During Thatcher’s junior year, he took a line drive off his throwing arm in a game against Wichita State that ended his season.

“His velocity never came back fully,” said Warn, adding that Thatcher always threw mid to upper 80s. “It usually takes a good year for those injuries to lose effect on you. He started to come on his last year, but he was not able to sustain. He’d be throwing hard and then he’d drop off.”

Thatcher, who was a groomsman in Barry Warn’s wedding last month, has always been a pitcher that works ahead and challenges hitters, Bob Warn said.

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