While many states around the country are coming out of quarantine and reopening, we’re continuing our weekly Throwback Thursdays so you can keep up with Virginia’s alumni as they go on to do bigger and better things. We’re back again this week with former Virginia pitcher Danny Hultzen,
Hultzen played at Virginia for three years before getting drafted No. 2 overall in the MLB Draft by the Seattle Mariners. At Virginia, he held a 32-5 record in 51 games (50 started), winning the 2011 John Olerud Two-Way Player Award, ACC Freshman of the Year, three-time First Team All-American, two-time ACC Pitcher of the Year, and Capital One First-Team Academic All-American honors. He was a member of both the 2009 and 2011 College World Series teams.
In 2012, he made a $100,000 commitment back to UVA for Davenport improvements, so as you read his answers below, take note that he played an important role in building the incredible facilities that the team has today.
Streaking the Lawn: What are some of the highlights of what you’ve done since UVA, and what are you doing now?
Danny Hultzen: I’ve been in professional baseball for the most part since my days at UVA. I spent 2011-2016 in the Seattle Mariners system and 2018-present with the Chicago Cubs. I also spent 2017 back at UVA where I got to finish up my degree which I am really proud of.
STL: What are you doing during this quarantine period to keep yourself busy and/or entertained?
DH: I am a huge fishing nerd and have spent a lot of this downtime learning more and more about becoming a better fisherman. I’m very quickly running out of fishing videos on Youtube. I have gotten into fly fishing over the past couple of years and have spent a good amount of this quarantine tying flies. They’re not great, but a few of them have caught fish which fuels my passion even more.
STL: Have you been able to keep up with any of your training?
DH: Yes. A good friend of mine in Arizona opened up his backyard and garage where we throw and work out. It has been a great experience working out there as it has been, albeit in a very hard situation, a rejuvenating time to refresh why we love playing baseball. There’s not much back there other than a mound and a net and in a funny way it has reinvigorated our passion for the game.
STL: If you could have been an athlete in another sport at Virginia, which would you choose, and would you be a starter?
DH: I would love to be on the basketball team and play for Coach (Tony) Bennett, but I would not sniff any playing time. I can play defense and hustle, but my basketball skills are non-existent. Maybe I could be the backup QB on the football team and only throw deep passes down the field as I have no finesse with a football but would be down to chuck it deep!
STL: What is your favorite UVA sports memory, either as a fan or a player?
DH: Undoubtedly Chris Taylor’s walk off hit to send us to Omaha in 2011 against UC Irvine. Still get chills thinking about that. Watching the team win it all in 2015 was a special moment. I still remember watching them dog pile on TV while in a sports bar in Arizona with another UVA buddy. We hooped and hollered, jumping up and down while everyone else in the restaurant had no idea what was going on. Beautiful moment.
STL: Which coach or teacher had the greatest impact on you while at UVA?
DH: I had the privilege of working with three of the best in the business. Coach (Karl) Kuhn, our pitching coach, was instrumental in my development as a baseball player. I learned the most from him, along with Coach Mac (Kevin McMullan) and Coach (Brian) O’Connor, and it’s hard to imagine where I would be in my career without their guidance.
STL: Do you have any career advice for current students or recent alumni?
DH: Dedicate yourself to the process of preparation. This has certainly been a vital mindset to my personal career and I think can be a useful approach to any walk of life. If you can put yourself in the best possible position to succeed by understanding the value of preparation, then you’ll be able to deal with any of the results, good or bad, that come your way.
STL: What do you see that current UVA student-athletes have on Grounds that you wish you had (facilities, resources, coach)?
DH: I have only seen the renovated baseball stadium and it is tremendous. We had it good during my time, but this place is on a different level with the new technology that has come out. Rapsodo machines, virtual reality, and separate facilities for both the hitters and the pitchers are just a couple amenities I wish we had during our days. They also have a fully stocked refrigerator at all times which I’m jealous of.
STL: What is your favorite Charlottesville restaurant?
DH: Whenever I am back in Charlottesville I find myself at Bodo’s. But my all time favorite place unfortunately ran out of business. It was called Belmont Barbecue. They had this thing called the “slop bucket” which was a styrofoam cup filled with cheesy potatoes, beans, pork, and coleslaw. Some places have tried to replicate it, but it just isn’t the same. Those who know, know.
STL: A bonus question from Paddy Foss last week! If you could purge the equipment room one last time, what is in your haul? (Note from Paddy to Chris Moore, Director of Equipment Room Operations: I need a new pair of ‘rona sweats.)
DH: Chris Moore has generously hooked me up with more gear than I can shake a stick at over the years, but I wound definitely grab allllll of the baseballs I could find in there. There’s nothing quite like throwing with a pearl.