Garrett Brummett's commitment to play baseball at Wichita State, given last week, is good for the karma alone.
It was his father, after all, who was on the mound for the most historic game in Shocker history, a 5-3 win over Texas in the championship game of the 1989 College World Series. It was Greg Brummett who celebrated near the mound after his complete-game victory with catcher Eric Wedge.
Greg Brummett, a native Wichitan, is a Shocker icon. Soon, his son will start trying to fill his shoes.
"I've always been sold on the Shockers,'' said Garrett Brummett, who will be a senior in the fall at Concordia High and is pitching this summer with a traveling team out of Wichita, the Jets. "I've always wanted to go to Wichita State, be a pitcher there. Hearing what all my dad has done there, it would be nice to follow in his footsteps.''
Greg Brummett came out of Northwest High with a reputation of being a little soft, which soon earned him a nickname he'll be stuck with forever — Fifi.
But because of hard work and prodding from Wichita State pitching coach Brent Kemnitz, Brummett finished 43-11 during his WSU career and was 18-2 with a 2.62 in 1989, one of the best single-season pitching performances in Shocker history.
It didn't take long for the "Fifi" nickname to disappear, replaced by one more fitting of his ability and, it turns out, his demeanor: Spike.
He was an 11th-round draft pick by the San Francisco Giants in '89 and reached the big leagues with the Giants in 1993. After a couple of starts that season, was traded to Minnesota. That was to be his only season in the majors. He had a 4-4 record and 5.74 ERA.
But even getting to the majors was a major accomplishment, considering Brummett was never a guy who wowed the scouts with overpowering stuff. He made it that far because he knew how to pitch and he wasn't scared. He made it because he turned Fifi into Spike.
Garrett Brummett might already be Spike. His father pounded the mental aspects of pitching into Garrett's head since he first picked up a baseball.
"I've learned a ton from him,'' Garrett said. "It's really nice having a dad who knows what he's talking about. When I come in from an inning of pitching and I don't feel like something is right, he's over there by the dugout so that I can always ask him about what I'm doing wrong.''
Greg looks at his son's mechanics, but mostly it's about approach. He tries to pass on the things he learned from Kemnitz, and most of those have to do with temperament and focus.
"Mental toughness,'' Garrett said. "I think my dad got that from Brent and I've learned from my dad. I can't let stuff bother me when I'm pitching. I've gotten pretty good about that. I'd say there are only a few times a year when bad umpires or something like that has gotten to me. For the most part, I think I've stayed pretty focused.''
Garrett Brummett led Concordia to a 20-5 record this season and to within a game of the Class 4A tournament. He had a record of 6-2, he said, with an ERA of just over 2.00.
Greg Brummett is the baseball coach at Cloud County Community College in Concordia, and would have loved to have had his son pitching for him. But Garrett drew interest from Kansas State, he said, and several other junior colleges in Kansas. There was, however, no recruiting battle. When Wichita State offered the younger Brummett a scholarship, he almost immediately accepted.
"We actually met at Gene's (WSU coach Stephenson) office for a couple of hours, drove back to my mom and dad's house in Wichita and it only took Garrett a couple more hours to decide this is what he wanted to do,'' Greg said. "It was almost a no-brainer for us, really.''
Greg said Garrett is more advanced as a pitcher than he was at the same age. He throws a little harder and has the same attention to detail.
"Physically, he's a little ahead of where I was,'' Greg said. "He's pushing 6-foot-1, about 165 or 170 pounds. And he just knows how to pitch. I think that's why Brent likes him so much.''
Garrett Brummett will become one of three sons of former Stephenson Shockers to play at Wichita State, joining Chris O'Brien (Charlie) and Taylor Brown (Stan).
Greg doesn't worry about the pressure Garrett will face because of his last name.
"What I did at Wichita State is fine, but it's in the past,'' Greg said. "I had an awesome time there, but hopefully Garrett won't go there feeling any pressure to try and fill my shoes.''
Then again, striving to fill dad's shoes might be the best thing Garrett can do.
"I feel like I could possibly be a Spike going in to Wichita State,'' Garrett said. "But I have to show it first. I can't just expect anything to come to me. I feel like I have to earn one of those good nicknames so I'll definitely go in there working hard and trying not to get a weird nickname like my dad did.''