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Dontrelle Willis Biography

Photo of Dontrelle Willis, pitcher for the Florida Marlins.
Courtesy of MLB

Dontrelle Willis is the newest member of the Black Aces and a favorite to win the National League Cy Young Award. Check out this biography on the left-handed pitching ace of the Florida Marlins.

Dontrelle Willis - Growing Up

Dontrelle Willis was born on January 12, 1982 in Oakland, California and he began learning how to pitch almost as soon as he could pick up a baseball. His mother, Joyce, who worked as a welder on the Golden Gate Bridge, was also the catcher on an elite-level softball team and she began teaching Dontrelle the basics of pitching at an early age. By the time Dontrelle was nine, he had already learned how to throw a breaking ball and he began developing the unique high leg kick which he is now famous for. He became a star at Encinal High School and scouts soon took notice. He was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the eighth round of the 2000 MLB draft and his pro career took off.

Dontrelle Willis - The Newest Black Ace

After being traded to the Florida Marlins, Dontrelle Willis made his first major league start in 2003. Dontrelle's wacky delivery and wicked fastball caused huge problems for opposing hitters. He was selected to the National League's All-Star team and was named the N.L. Rookie Of The Year after finishing the season with a record of 14-10. Willis finished off an incredible rookie season by helping the Florida Marlins defeat the New York Yankees in the 2003 World Series. After a sophmore slump in his second year, Willis returned to his dominating form in 2005. Willis led the National League with 22 wins and became the first black pitcher in 15 years to win 20 games. This feat made Willis the 13th member of the Black Aces - the elite club of African-American pitchers who have won 20 or more games. Dontrelle's strange high-leg delivery continues to bewilder even the toughest hitters and has made him a favorite to win the 2005 National League Cy Young Award.

Dontrelle Willis - Did You Know?

  • Dontrelle Willis is nicknamed the D-Train.
  • Dontrelle writes his mom's name on the underside of everyone of his baseball caps.
  • Dontrelle Willis' favorite pitcher is fellow left-hander, Barry Zito of the Oakland A's.
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