Michael Fulmer burst on to the scene last year after Shane Greene went down with a blister injury. For a team that struggled up to the final game of the year, Fulmer was one of a few bright spots the Detroit Tigers could hang their hats on. He pitched well enough to earn a spot, even after Greene came back, and eventually even won the 2016 Rookie of the Year award.
However, it’s his offseason that may endear him to a blue collar city like Detroit, even more so than wins. From Sports Illustrated’s Stephanie Apstein:
“When he first agreed to fill in for a friend by working for Cyrus Wright Plumbing in the fall of 2014, Fulmer saw an opportunity to keep busy in the winter, supplement his meager minor league salary, and get a different kind of workout—digging ditches for sewage lines and hauling water heaters… he kept coming back during the off-season, even as his baseball salary increased to the league minimum of $507,500 this year. From October until early January, when he begins his preseason throwing program, he climbs into his black Ford pickup at 7:15 a.m. about three days a week and makes the 30-minute trip to Yukon, Okla., where he and boss Larry Wright work eight to 10 hours installing equipment and fixing leaks.”
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— SI MLB (@si_mlb) February 6, 2017
When most guys go on vacation during the offseason, Fulmer has definitely taken the road less traveled. But regardless of his chosen workouts, one thing is for sure; in a town synonymous with blue-collar labor, having a guy–a budding star–like Fulmer on your team is something that fans can definitely get behind.