In the Heart of Texas, Jon Peters Is a Pitcher of Perfection
05/15/1989 at 01:00 AM EDT
When the baseball movie The Natural was on TV a while ago, Ron Peters tried to get his younger brother, Jon, the pitching sensation of Brenham (Texas) High School, to watch it. But Jon, a relentless worker whose motto is "You can never be good enough," had trouble relating to the story of an athlete who wins by virtue of supernatural powers. "He fell asleep," says Ron.
People in Brenham might have thought they were watching something just a bit supernatural themselves on April 28 when 18-year-old Jon took the mound for the Brenham Cubs and pitched his 51st straight victory (a no-hitter no less), shattering a nine-year-old record for consecutive wins by a U.S. high school pitcher. Peters hasn't suffered a loss since Taiwan beat Brenham in the final round of the 1986 Senior League World Series. The Cubs are hoping Peters will now lead them to their fourth state title.
A pitcher from toddlerhood, Jon was introduced to the game by his mother, Ruth, a physical education teacher, and his father, Val, a math teacher. "He'd come outside and insist on playing catch with us when he was about 4 years old," recalls Ruth. "And he'd get mad after two or three hours when I'd have to quit and go inside to fix dinner."
Despite his phenomenal success, the 6'2", 190-lb. right-hander, an honor student with a 92 average, remains as polite and modest as his idol, right-hander Nolan Ryan of the Texas Rangers. "I met Mr. Ryan once at a sports banquet," says Jon. "He told me to keep my head on right." Thus far, Jon's cranial alignment seems fine. Although he's likely to be picked high in June's major-league draft of amateur players, he plans to attend Texas A&M. "Sure I'd like to play in the majors," he has said, "but I'm not going to worry about it. A friend said people don't come to Brenham much, but they don't leave much either. I'd be very happy to end up coaching baseball at the high school here."