The Untold Story

Plus: Why a righty taught himself to throw left-handed, and much more.

Happy Sunday! 🐶

I was originally hesitant to release today’s story.

Then I received this reply from a subscriber:

“I love reading things like this. As a Deaf person, it makes me feel I’m worth it.”

It reminded me why I send you The Underdog Newsletter every week.

The lessons I’ve learned from these stories changed my life for the better.

My mission for this brand is to make a positive impact on as many people as possible (just like it has for the person above).

So today, I’ll be sharing my personal story – the entire reason why this newsletter exists.

It all started when a coach slammed his door shut.

Here’s what’s coming today:

  • The day that changed my life

  • Why NBA teams are sending their 1st-round picks to the minors

  • How a world-record javelin thrower (almost) became a big league pitcher

Let’s dive in 👇


Presented by Dugout Mugs – now you can drink from a baseball bat!

Which MLB pitcher taught himself to throw left-handed after breaking his right arm twice as a kid?

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Just click the choice you think & the correct answer will be shown.

Why Getting Cut From The Baseball Team Led to Me Starting a Media Brand For Underdog Stories

The coach slammed the door shut.

Every kid in the locker room rushed toward the piece of paper taped to the door.

I scanned the list up and down.  Down and up.

It took me ten times to process what was happening.

My name wasn’t there.  I got cut from the 7th grade baseball team.

Waves of shock, disappointment, and embarrassment washed over me.

As the other kids high-fived and congratulated each other, I slipped out the side door.

I still remember walking down the hallways, staring at the lockers wondering what just happened.

I pulled out my cell phone and called my dad to pick me up.

My dad still remembers pulling up to the front of the school to find me sitting by myself, with a distressed look on my face.

He still brings it up from time to time.

Why?  Because it was a pivotal moment in my life.

It would have been easy for me to give up on baseball for good that day.

The coach didn’t think I was good enough – even just to wear the team jersey and sit on the bench.

But on that day, something clicked inside of me.

Me on the 9th grade freshman baseball team

Me in 9th grade. If you can’t tell, I was a lot smaller than the other freshmen.

Instead of quitting, I promised myself I’d prove that coach wrong.  And everyone else who ever doubted me.

I started looking up to undersized athletes who defied the odds.

Guys like David Eckstein, Tim Lincecum, and Dustin Pedroia.

I read every story I could find, searching for inspiration and evidence that my dream was possible.

I quickly found out about all the adversity those guys faced to get where they are today.

Getting cut from the school team was just a small bump in the road.

I discovered that I could use this setback to my advantage.

Fast forward 10 years.

I finished my senior season at McDaniel College being named Honorable Mention on the All-Conference team.

The following summer, I was voted MVP of the Delco League – the nation’s oldest semi-professional baseball league.

I made it a lot further than anyone ever thought I would.

Me and my friend Nick Valori represented McDaniel College on the All-Conference team in 2017.

Me and my friend Nick Valori represented McDaniel College on the All-Conference team in 2017.

In addition to my family – who supported me in every way possible – I credit a lot of that success to the stories of those players I looked up to.

The underdogs who beat the odds.

They carved out a path for me to follow and provided inspiration that kept me going.

So after college, I launched Joker Mag – a media brand dedicated to inspiring underdog stories in sports.

As more people started reading the website, I grew a small following on social media and built a loyal subscriber base on my Underdog Newsletter (that’s you!)

At the end of the day, my mission is simple:

To share underdog stories that give people the same feeling I felt when I was that undersized ballplayer searching for hope, inspiration, and evidence that my dream was possible.

Like my mom always told me, you can do anything you set your mind to. 

Sometimes we just need a little extra push.

And that’s why I’m so passionate about sharing these stories with the world.

👉 Thank you for taking the time to read my story. If you enjoyed it, why not share it with a friend?

POWERED BY: Dugout Mugs

A drink being poured into a Knob Shot presented by Dugout Mugs

Opening Day is around the corner, and our friends at Dugout Mugs made their Knob Shots free again (you only have to cover shipping).

Seriously, these are awesome. And yes, they have your favorite team’s logo.

Here's what I find particularly cool about Dugout Mugs:

  • Founded by a former D2 pitcher

  • Made in & shipped from the USA (always a plus for me)

  • Officially licensed by MLB, with customers like Ken Griffey Jr. & Jim Thome (two of my favorites!)

Check ‘em out 👇


🏀 “Sometimes you’ve got to wait your turn.” Here’s why half of the 1st-round picks in each of the last 3 NBA Drafts have spent time in the G League. [Zach Kram @ The Ringer]

🤔 Back in the mid-90s, the Atlanta Braves had a stacked rotation. So why did they try to convert this world-record-holding javelin thrower into a pitcher? [Michael Clair @]

⚾️ “I came in a thrower, but I didn’t know how to really pitch.” Here’s how a no-name 449th overall pick became a rising MLB phenom. [Joker Mag]


This was only the freshman’s 8th college game. Heck of a way to kick off a career!

⭐ Trivia Answer:

C) Billy Wagner – one of my favorite underdogs of all time, Wagner was only 5’5″ and 135 pounds as a high school senior. He took the D3 route to the big leagues and became a lights-out closer.

Wanna submit a trivia question for the next edition? Reply to this email.

Thanks for reading! 🤝 

What did you like most about today’s newsletter? Reply & let me know.

Or, if you’re short on time, just vote in the quick poll below (you’ll be done quicker than a fastball from Mason Miller).

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Your feedback helps me make this email better every week.

Thanks for reading! 🙌 

Til next time,

Tyler O'Shea headshot

Extra Innings…

  • In case you missed it: Meet the NFL Draft prospect who never played a down of college football.

  • What I’m reading: I’m loving Don Winslow’s new crime trilogy. It’s like a mix of The Sopranos & every great mob movie but with a New England twist. Start with City on Fire.

  • Did you know? Anything is possible – especially when it comes to the final seconds of a basketball game.

  • Something to watch: Long-time reader Austin F. sent me this documentary chronicling a controversial high school football team’s chase for their 6th straight state championship.

  • My favorite subscriber reply from last week 💌 “I love reading things like this. As a Deaf person, it makes me feel I'm worth it.”

  • If you made it this far: watch this man build a log cabin in the woods from start to finish.

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