It is often said that history tends to repeat itself. For the New Britain Bees and Nick Greenwood, not only will history be repeating itself, but it will continue to be written.
On June 20, 2017, it was announced that the pitcher from Connecticut would return home to play for the New Britain Bees.
“It’s just nice to be back and do something I love, to be able to have my family come out and see,” Greenwood said. “In my career I’ve never really have been able to have my family come out and see me too often so it’s a nice feeling to have that happen.”
He is returning to the franchise in which he not only holds their first win, but also the longest active scoreless innings streak at 19 innings.
Greenwood was the first player in Bees franchise history to have his contract purchased by a Major League organization after appearing in a game.
“It was a great feeling. It’s kind of the goal coming in here,” Greenwood said. “You want to be able to go out and have some success and obviously you want your contract to be purchased, so it was definitely a good feeling but I also loved playing here and it’s a great group of guys and there’s a lot of them back this year so I’m excited to be back.”
Greenwood attended Xavier High School in Middletown, and went on to pitch at the University of Rhode Island. He dazzled scouts while pitching with the Rams, leading the Atlantic 10 Conference in strikeouts (95) in 2008. After his time at URI, Greenwood’s dream came true when the San Diego Padres selected him in the 14th round of the 2009 MLB Draft.
For the Connecticut native, playing in the majors was something that once seemed like a faraway dream.
“When I was growing up, baseball was almost second to soccer for me”, Greenwood recalled. “I really didn’t think that I had a future in baseball until about my senior year of high school and then was fortunate enough to be able to receive interest.”
After pitching in San Diego’s farm system during the 2009 season, Greenwood was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals in a deal at the trade deadline that included Ryan Ludwick, Jake Westbrook, and future Cy Young award winner Cory Kluber. He spent four seasons in the Cardinals farm system when his hard work finally paid off, earning him a promotion to the big leagues.
When Greenwood received the call that he would be pitching in the majors, it was a dream come true.
“It was a surreal moment,” he said. “It was so surreal to have that happen and to be able to live your childhood dream.”
Following his stint with the St. Louis Cardinals, the southpaw received a call from a new team in a familiar area. On April 7, 2016, Nick Greenwood returned to his home state and signed with the New Britain Bees, the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball’s newest franchise. During the inaugural season for the Bees, Greenwood was able to notch the first victory in franchise history when the Bees defeated the York Revolution in a 1-0 shutout on April 22, 2016. He struck out 17 batters over 19 innings pitched. He did all of this without giving up a single run.
Less than a month after signing with the Bees, Greenwood would become the first player in franchise history to have his contract purchased by a Major League team. On May 6, the Minnesota Twins signed the lefty to a Minor League contract.
Greenwood would spend the remainder of the 2016 season in the Twins organization, pitching for the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts and the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings. Between the two teams, he posted a 9-4 record while having an earned run average of 3.20 over 112.1 innings pitched.
As time goes on in the baseball world, Bees fans will be able to watch one of Connecticut’s own take the mound in a New Britain uniform once again. As for Greenwood, he plans to do all he can to help the team, and continue to make history.
“I just want to get on the mound and take it one game at a time,” Greenwood said. “I want to be able to go out there and throw strikes and have some success. I’m just going to take it one day at a time, one start at a time, and one inning at a time”.