MAY 8, 1989
After setting a national high school record for consecutive wins with his 51st, senior righthander Jon Peters of Brenham ( Texas) High became the only high school baseball player to grace our cover. He also put Brenham on the map. The town, which before Peters's streak was known primarily for its Blue Bell ice cream plant, would see its favorite son finish with a 54-1 career mark, including 53 straight victories, and lead the Cubs to three state titles. But Peters's playing days ended less than three years later with a blown-out arm. "I just had bad mechanics," he says.
Even while at Brenham, Peters was damaged goods. During his sophomore year he underwent surgery to his throwing arm. Peters believes the surgery was the reason no major league team wasted a pick on him in the June '89 draft. "There were too many questions about my arm," he says. More arm operations followed in the next three years as Peters went from Texas A&M, where he was never able to pitch, to Blinn College in Brenham, where he was 1-1 in '91. During the spring of '92 he tore his rotator cuff and decided his career was over. He was 21.
Peters returned to A&M in the fall of '92, serving as the baseball team's undergrad assistant and graduating two years later with a degree in kinesiology. He earned his M.A., also in kinesiology, from Sam Houston State in May '96 before baseball came calling again. His former high school coach, Lee Driggers, asked him to be one of his assistants at McMurry University in Abilene, Texas; Peters took the job last fall. But while he enjoys coaching, Peters's heart is in teaching. This summer he taught a college course in personal health at a Texas prison. "There's more to life than baseball," he says. "Baseball doesn't last forever. For kids playing college ball, education needs to be their top priority."
Next week Peters, now 26, leaves Brenham, where he has been living at home with his mother, Ruth, for Louisiana State to pursue a doctorate in pedagogy. When asked if he'll get involved with LSU's baseball program, which has won four College World Series in the '90s, including the last two, Peters says, "People tell me I love the game too much to stay away. Depending on my time, I may volunteer my services—if they'll have me."
He's not really in baseball shape, having played only a little outfield recently for a local softball team, but he does, after all, still hold that national record. "Sometimes I do wonder, What if?" he says. "But I have no regrets. It was just never meant to be."