There are few better feelings for an aspiring sportsperson than finally turning professional. And Brady Singer – signed by the Kansas City Royals in the 2018 Major League Baseball draft – can certainly attest to that. However, the pitcher surprised everyone when he handed over an envelope to his parents on Christmas Day later that year.
Singer was born in August 1996 and grew up in Leesburg, Florida, alongside his parents Brett and Jacquelyn. The family then moved to nearby Eustis, where Singer enrolled at Eustis High School. And the aspiring pitcher subsequently joined the school’s baseball team and excelled under the guidance of coach David Lee.
So, having impressed during his high school displays, Singer then enrolled at the University of Florida in 2016. And the right-hander was subsequently selected for the Florida Gators, making over 20 appearances in his freshman year. What’s more, in that time, he made quite an impression.
Indeed, Singer’s debut appearance against Florida Gulf Coast was one to remember, as he pitched three incredible innings. And after the youngster notched a trio of strikeouts, the Gators went on to win the game. His impressive performances didn’t stop there, though, and he started to rack up some particularly notable statistics.
Over the course of his freshman year, Singer pitched over 40 innings for the Gators. And during that time, he earned close to 40 strikeouts from the mound, while conceding just 26 runs from 43 hits. What’s more, the right-hander prevented any home runs being scored against him.
But if Singer was good as a freshman, his sophomore year was even more impressive. You see, the youngster pitched over 120 innings that season, earning close to 130 strikeouts in the process – the latter record being the sixth-highest total in the University of Florida’s history at the time.
Yet the accolades didn’t end there. And during his final season with the Gators in 2018, Singer secured his name in the university’s history books by becoming one of their most decorated players ever. Indeed, he won a number of awards for his performances, including the National Pitcher of the Year, and several outlets named him the National Player of the Year.
Furthermore, on top of those awards, Singer won the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Year and the annual Dick Howser Trophy – awarded to the best college baseball player of the year. Prior to Singer’s success, the University of Florida had boasted only one previous winner of the trophy: Mike Zunino in 2012.
And as for his overall statistics, Singer continued to make history at the university. Across his three seasons with the Gators, the right-hander pitched over 280 innings – the tenth-highest total on record at the college. He also earned 281 strikeouts during that period, which was the seventh-best record in the University of Florida’s history at the time.
Then, following this fantastic spell with the Florida Gators, Singer’s life changed forever in the summer of 2018. You see, during that year’s MLB draft, he was taken as the 18th overall pick by the Kansas City Royals. And once the youngster had signed on the dotted line, he was unveiled to the media in early July.
So who exactly are Singer’s new team? Well, having been founded in 1968, the Royals made their bow in Major League Baseball the following year. And after finishing second in the Western Division in 1971, the franchise moved into a new stadium two years later. Up until that point, the team had been playing at the Municipal Stadium, which was eventually knocked down in 1976.
And during the same year in which the Royals’ old home was demolished, the team picked up their first Western Division title after winning 90 games that season. However, the franchise would go on to lose in the American League Championship Series (ALCS), going down three games to two against the New York Yankees.
But undeterred, the Royals went on to win the Western Division title again in both 1977 and 1978. And the victory in ’77 was particularly impressive, too, as the team won over 100 games – the most in the franchise’s history at that time. However, more ALCS heartbreak awaited the Kansas organization.
Indeed, following their loss to the Yankees in 1976, the Royals had an immediate shot at redemption one year later. Once again, though, the team lost, and they slipped to defeat again in 1978. And after those three consecutive defeats, the fans had to wait another two years before their team appeared in the World Series.
The Royals clinched their fourth division championship in 1980 before going on to make their World Series debut. To get there, they finally beat the Yankees, with the winning home run coming at Yankee Stadium. The Royals still couldn’t take that extra step, though, and the Philadelphia Phillies took home the championship.
But after tasting disappointment again, the Royals secured their first World Series win in 1985, beating rivals St. Louis by four games to three. Incredibly, though, Kansas fans would have to wait another three decades before their team took home a second World Series title.
Yes, after years in the wilderness, Kansas finally made another World Series some 29 years later in 2014. On that occasion, though, the Royals lost to the San Francisco Giants across seven games. But the team fought on, reaching the World Series again the following year. And after just five games against the New York Mets, the Royals secured the 2015 title.
In 2018, though, the Royals began making some major changes, and they looked to open up a pathway for their younger players. With this in mind, then, the signing of Singer in that year’s draft wouldn’t have come as much of a surprise given his burgeoning reputation in the game.
And when Singer was unveiled to the media in July 2018, the Royals’ scouting director, Lonnie Goldberg, explained why they wanted the youngster. “The pedigree, the track record,” he told MLB.com. “Obviously, you’re looking at a pitcher [who] has performed on one of the highest stages.”
Goldberg continued, “[Singer] was the player of the year, SEC pitcher of the year [and] College World Series champion,” he said. “You don’t get to do all those things if you don’t do things really well. Brady’s always been able to fill up the strike zone; he’s able to throw both breaking pitches behind in the count.”
Goldberg then added, “[Singer] does all the little things: holds runners; fields his position.” And Singer was similarly confident about his own abilities too. Certainly, the man of the hour was unfazed when the press asked him for a “scouting report” about himself. Untroubled by the question, the assured pitcher echoed the words of the franchise’s scout.
“I feel like I fill up the strike zone,” Singer responded to MLB.com. “But I think the main thing is, I’m going to go out there and compete. I think that you’ve got to match the competitiveness in the box. I obviously sink the ball – that’s my main goal: to keep the ball on the ground. [My] main goal is to just try to get you out.”
Meanwhile, Singer was also asked about one particular moment during his time with the Florida Gators. You see, the right-hander was pitching in a 2017 game when play was brought to a stop by the weather. And as officials rolled the tarp out, Singer reacted furiously, knowing full well that he probably wouldn’t take to the field again before the end of the day.
Speaking to Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com in 2018, Singer said of the Gators incident, “That’s just something that – did I mean [for] it to happen? No. Did it happen? Yeah, it did. That’s my emotion, that’s my competitiveness. I don’t think I’m ever going to go away from that.”
It was clear, then, that Singer is a fearsome competitor who just wants to play baseball. And on that note, MLB.com posed the young pitcher a question about his competitive edge, curious as to where it originated. “The woman in the front row,” Singer replied, directing attention to his mom. “She’s extremely competitive, and it comes right to me.”
Following Singer’s comments, MLB.com asked his mother, Jacquelyn, for her response – and, perhaps unsurprisingly, the proud parent agreed with her son’s assessment. “I guess I just don’t like to quit,” she said. “So he gets that from me.” What’s more, that competitive streak has helped carry her son all the way to MLB. And as a result of Singer’s move to the Royals, the pitcher also earned a significant signing bonus.
Indeed, the franchise paid Singer over $4 million, changing his life forever. And the Florida native quickly put some of that money to good use, as he joined his parents on Christmas Day 2018. Armed with his camera phone, the young pitcher handed parents Brett and Jacquelyn an envelope containing a heartfelt letter.
“Dear mom and dad, I just wanted to say thank you for everything you’ve done to help me reach my dreams,” Jacquelyn says as she reads the note in a video that Singer uploaded to his Twitter page. “There’s absolutely no way I could have done all this by myself. Both of you constantly [took time off work] and spent every dime you made just to put a smile on my face.”
And while her voice continues to crack with emotion, Jacquelyn still manages to press ahead. “My smile and appreciation for both of you has never stopped, and it never will,” she reads. “I will always remember traveling around Florida for baseball and trying to cheaply eat to save money.”
“And I never could because you all wanted me to have the best stuff so that I could pursue my dream,” Jacquelyn says as she continues reading from the note. “The money you all spent on traveling, gear, food and all those Gatorades I drank is much more than I could ever give you.”
But having largely kept her emotions in check up until this point, Jacquelyn then comes to a stop before reading the next passage of her son’s letter. The proud parent is seemingly shocked by the content of the note. She looks at Brett and appears to place her hand on top of his as she tries to regain her composure.
“But there is something I want to give to you,” Jacquelyn reads. “I am paying off the loan to the bank. Also, I paid off all your debt… Now instead of trying to save money every weekend to replace the savings account you drained while traveling to see me play baseball, you can spend it on yourselves because you deserve the very best.”
Now in floods of tears alongside her husband, Jacquelyn concludes Singer’s letter. “I want you both to know how much I appreciate you, and how none of this would be possible without you,” she reads. “Your giving hearts helped shaped my tiny dream into a reality.”
“I love you both more than you could ever imagine and will never forget what you have done,” Jacquelyn finishes. “Now let’s go celebrate and Merry Christmas. Love always, Brady.” And a short time after the event had unfolded in real life, Singer posted his video of the moment alongside a heartfelt tweet on his Twitter account.
“Today is very special to my heart,” Singer wrote on Twitter. “To give back to the two people who have given up everything to support my brother and [me]. I can’t thank them enough. Love you, Mom and Dad.” And unsurprisingly, the right-hander’s tweet really struck a chord with the online community.
Yes, Singer’s video quickly went viral, earning over 11 million views on Twitter within just six weeks. And during that time, his warm tweet received over 370,000 likes from online users as well as close to 70,000 retweets. In addition, the post generated 4,000 comments.
“You guys did an awesome job raising a very grateful son!” wrote Twitter user Mickey McKay Rogers. “You should be so very proud and pat yourselves on the back! God bless you all.” It was a sentiment shared by many other people, too, and the well-wishes flowed in from elsewhere.
For example, another social media user, Jamie O’Rourke, reiterated the sentiment and also shared a profound message. “[When you’re] a parent, it’s not about the money,” O’Rourke wrote on Twitter. “It’s about the love and unsolicited appreciation a child gives freely. Thanks for sharing and being a terrific example for us all.” And O’Rourke wasn’t the only user to express that opinion, either.
“They raised you right and you responded in the most unselfish way by giving back,” Twitter user Jane Makar wrote in response to the heartwarming video. “Parents will sacrifice everything for their children and put their lives on hold so you can shine. God bless.”
As for Singer’s baseball career, things progressed quite quickly after he signed for the Royals. Following his unveiling to the media in July 2018, he was sent to play for the Arizona League Royals the very next day. And after his spell of improving in the minor leagues, Singer was no doubt aiming to play an important part in the Royals’ spring training schedule and beyond.