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Warwick Saupold - Road to the Show
Warwick Saupold is a prime example of how hard work pays off.
07/03/2018 1:55 AM ET
 (Zimbio)

Warwick Saupold is a prime example of how hard work pays off.

With just shy of 100 Major League Baseball games to his name, the Detroit Tigers pitcher is one of the most decorated Australian players of the modern era. 

It wasn't all plain-sailing, though.

"As a sixteen-year-old, I was close to signing with some teams and some things didn't work out," Saupold said. 

Saupold didn't lose hope, however, and after a strong 2011/12 season playing for the Perth Heat in Australian Baseball League where he led the league with a 1.41 ERA in 10 games, the Tigers came calling.

"I had a really good season in 2012 in the Australian Baseball League and I was lucky enough to have Kevin Hooker as our bench coach who's the international scout for the Tigers," Saupold said.

"Next thing I know I'm on a plane to the United States of America."

From there, the South Perth Cubs' U.S. adventure began - working his way up through the gruelling minor league system before earning a call-up to the Tigers in May 2016.

"To get the call up here (Detroit) is something I'll never forget," he said.

"I sat back there in Baltimore with my Mum. She was so proud, she was in tears."

Growing up in Australia where most kids play cricket in the summer, it was Saupold's mother, Deanne, who introduced him to baseball.

"She pretty much introduced me to the game of tee ball. I found something I enjoyed and kept doing that," he said.

"I was never a cricketer, I didn't really like the game too much until I got a little bit older. By that stage, I was already committed into baseball and I loved baseball every day, so I can't complain where I'm at right now."

It was Australian Rules Football that first caught Saupold's eye, however.

"It was either professional baseball or professional AFL footballer. I kind of knew at a certain point that AFL was probably not going to be my calling - those guys run a lot and I'm not a very good long-distance runner," he said.

"I thought baseball's where my heart is and follow your dreams - so I did."

The Australian international has one simple message for those aspiring to follow in his footsteps.

"Never give up. That's one thing I told myself even when I did make it," he said.

"Now I can honestly say when it's all said and done, I did give it my all and it paid off and hopefully in the future, I can have a long, successful Major League career."

This story was not subject to the approval of the Australian Baseball League or its clubs.