Vikings ‘Garrett Bradbury and Twins’ Bailey Ober share high school connection

Ober was nearly 2,000 miles from the Twin Cities, then setting out for the Advanced Class A Fort Myers Miracle. It was April and Ober had yet to give up a earned run that season. in his three previous starts, but he wasn’t yet particularly close to clinching the majors, which eventually happened in May 2021.

“When he got picked I texted him and just wished him congratulations and was super happy and kind of said, ‘Hope I see you there in a year. or two, “” Ober said.

Ober and Bradbury, you see, go way back. The duo played two seasons together on the Charlotte Christian School baseball team in North Carolina, a private school well known for their athletic success – Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry is a former – after Ober y transferred for his last two seasons in high school.

Ober, of course, launched. Bradbury caught. The former drum mates are now reunited on the Twin Cities sports scene, one playing for the Twins, the other for the Vikings.

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“It’s quite nice to think of two high school kids from the same team playing in the same city hundreds of miles together,” said Ober. “It’s pretty cool to think about it and it kind of brings back memories of when we were playing.”

There are many fond memories of those days, as Charlotte Christian won the State Championships in 2012 and 2013, the two years Ober, 26, and Bradbury, 26, overlapped. The pair also played with Royals pitcher Jackson Kowar, who was selected with the 33rd overall pick in the 2018 draft and is now Bradbury’s brother-in-law.

“If I hadn’t won a state title with this group, they probably should have fired – I should have fired,” said Charlotte Christian head coach Greg Simmons.

High school days

As a high school pitcher, Bailey Ober was “untouchable,” Bradbury said. He was also one of the Knights’ top hitters, using his long legs – already in high school, Ober, now 6-foot-9, towered over everyone else – to turn a single into a double or a double into a triple. , Bradbury remembers.

“If he was as big as his weight now, it might have been illegal in high school,” Simmons said. “My God, he probably weighed 200 pounds in high school. It was a large glass of water.

Ober was low-key and balanced, but always, always wanted the ball, Simmons said, due to his competitive streak. And he made Simmons want to give it to him easily.

After graduating from high school, Ober headed to the College of Charleston to continue his playing career. He was selected by the Twins in the 12th round of the 2017 draft and has progressed steadily in the minor leagues. This year, Ober has carved out a role for himself in the Twins’ starting rotation, posting an earned-run average of 4.34 out of 19 starts this season.

“If there was anyone to be successful he was definitely one of the guys I played with growing up and I was like, ‘This guy, he’s 6-9, has multiple throws and has the right one. attitude and the right mindset, ”Bradbury mentioned. “It wasn’t a big surprise, but every time someone does it it’s pretty impressive to see.”

Bradbury as a teenager was a “blunderer,” Ober said. He was the tallest and strongest kid in the clubhouse and often ended up being challenged by his teammates in wrestling matches.

“No one has ever won,” said Ober.

To this day, Simmons maintains that Bradbury could have been a Division I baseball player because of his bat. On a trip back to Charlotte last year, Bradbury called out Simmons, hoping to practice batting.

“He still hit four (out of the park) during BP,” Simmons said. “He still has juice.

But it was obvious at the time that football would be Bradbury’s way, and after graduating from Charlotte Christian, he traveled to North Carolina state to pursue it. There he became an All-American consensus before being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft.

“You could tell they had something special. You just didn’t know how far it was going to go, ”Simmons said. “Did I think they were going to play professionally? Absoutely. But for Garrett to be a first round player and Bailey to be in the big leagues, I’m not sure if I can say I saw this in high school.

Support each other

Garrett Bradbury’s phone started to light up with texts from old friends in high school. It was May 18 and Ober had just been called up in place of Michael Pineda, who had undergone minor surgery.

“They were like, ‘Hey, are you in the Twin Cities? Bailey is making his MLB debut tonight, ”Bradbury said.

Bradbury and his wife, Carson, quickly took to StubHub and landed tickets to watch Ober’s debut. They saw Ober pitch four innings, making no decision in an exciting game the Twins won 5-4 against the White Sox thanks to three homers by Miguel Sanó.

Put simply, “it was awesome,” Bradbury said.

Ober did not find out until after the match that Bradbury had succeeded. While the two have busy schedules which can make it difficult to connect, Ober said their wives have hung out in the Twin Cities. Ober has yet to appear in a Vikings game, although he has said he would like to do so. If he does, “I have tickets for him,” Bradbury said.

Simmons hasn’t had a chance to see either play yet, but a baseball trip to see Ober, Kowar and other Charlotte Christian alums is on the schedule for next summer. Someday a football trip to see Bradbury might be too.

“It’s obviously very exciting. You see these guys when they’re younger and they were all very special and you knew they were really good, but when they compete and do (against) the best of the best it’s really fun to watch, ”said Simmons. “These guys were great to train, great teammates and leaders, so for them to reach the top, that doesn’t surprise me.”

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