A former Uber driver just signed a $9.25 million contract with the Minnesota Twins.

His story is WILD.

Time for a thread πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡
1) Let's start in 2013...

Despite being an all-conference pitcher in high school, Randy Dobnak wasn't recruited by any Division I baseball programs.

Instead, he chose to attend Alderson Broaddus University β€” a small DII school in West Virginia.
2) Randy Dobnak had a good college career, winning multiple all-conference awards.

The unfortunate part?

Even with more than 1,200 players selected in the 2017 MLB draft, @Dobnak_ still didn't hear his name called.

This is where it gets interesting.
3) Rather than giving up on his dream, Randy Dobnak played for the Utica Unicorns β€” an independent league team in Michigan.

Players make about $700 a month and live with host families.

Knowing that wasn't enough to financially support himself, Dobnak got creative.
4) From 2017 to 2019, Randy Dobnak drove for Uber & Lyft to supplement his $700/month baseball salary.

It's still on his LinkedIn profile today, and @Dobnak_ is proud of his "4.99/5 driver rating."

Even better?

How the Minnesota Twins discovered him…
5) With no MLB scouts coming to see independent league games, Randy Dobnak's dad got involved.

Dobnak's dad started videotaping his son's games and posted the highlights to YouTube.

The wild part?

A Minnesota Twins scout saw the videos & offered Dobnak a minor league contract.
6) Despite the Twins only offering a $500 signing bonus, Randy Dobnak jumped at the opportunity.

Dobnak spent 2 years working his way up the minor leagues, earning about $1,000 a month.

But in 2019, when the Twins promoted him to their Major League roster, it was all worth it.
7) Perhaps the wildest part of the whole story?

Just months after he stopped driving for Uber, Randy Dobnak started a playoff game against the New York Yankees.

That's legendary.
8) After a solid showing in 2020, the Minnesota Twins approached Randy Dobnak about an extension.

The result?

@Dobnak_ signed a 5-year, $9.25M extension last week, which could be worth as much as $30M with options & incentives.

Now that's amazing.
9) In the end, I love this story for one simple reason:

Countless others would have made excuses and quit, but Randy Dobnak bet on himself, did whatever it took to succeed, and ended up accomplishing his dreams.

That's what sports are all about.
10) Enjoyed this thread?

You should follow me @JoePompliano.

I tweet interesting stories about the money and business behind sports every day.
11) Prefer a deeper dive than Twitter?

Make sure to sign up for my daily newsletter, where I break down the most interesting sports business stories each morning.

Don't worry, it's free :)

Subscribe: readhuddleup.com

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More from @JoePompliano

24 Mar
Shane Griffith won an NCAA wrestling national championship this past weekend.

The interesting part?

He wore a plain black singlet, refusing to represent Stanford Athletics.

Here's why...

Time for thread πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡
1) First, some history...

Despite having a ~$30B endowment, Stanford University announced in July that they were eliminating 11 of their 36 sports teams due to β€œfinances and competitive excellence."

As for the wrestling team?

They've decided to fight.
2) Since the decision was announced last July, the Stanford wrestling team has raised more than $12M.

That's enough money to fund the team for multiple decades, but also enough to start a women's program β€” fulfilling Title IX requirements.

Still, the university has stood firm.
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21 Mar
Rick Hoyt has completed more than 1,000 races, including more than 250 triathlons & 70 marathons.

The interesting part?

He was born with cerebral palsy and confined to a wheelchair.

This is the amazing story of the man that made it all possible.

Time for a thread πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡
1) Let's start in 1962...

Rick Hoyt was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at birth, with doctors recommending he be placed in a special care facility.

His parents had other plans.

"We cried, but we said no, we're going to bring Rick home & bring him up like any other child.”
2) Over the next decade, Rick's parents, Judy & Dick, spent thousands of hours trying to educate their son.

At 11, now with a basic understanding of the alphabet, Rick received a computer that enabled him to communicate.

Even better?

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28 Feb
Kevin Plank is the founder of Under Armour and worth $2 billion today.

The part you didn't know?

He didn't have $2 to his name in 1996.

This is his wild story.

Time for a thread πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡
1) Let's start in 1996...

Kevin Plank, a University of Maryland football player, became frustrated by his cotton T-shirts' inability to keep him dry & comfortable during practice.

His idea?

A sweat-wicking t-shirt designed to keep athletes cool, dry, and comfortable.
2) After graduating college, Kevin Plank used $15,000 in savings to start Under Armour.

He made the t-shirts in his grandmother's basement and drove his car up & down the east coast, selling $17,000 of inventory from the trunk of his car.

The only problem?

Expenses piled up…
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20 Feb
Fernando Tatis Jr. signed a $340 million deal with the San Diego Padres this week.

The interesting part?

An investment firm made ~$30M off the deal also.

The details are fascinating.

Time for a thread πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡
1) First, some history.

Outside of a few players lucky enough to receive large signing bonuses, 99% of minor league baseball players make poverty-level wages.

In 2019, the average minor league player was paid less than $10,000...in a year.

The result?

2) Michael Schwimer, a former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher who spent three years riding busses in the minor leagues, came up with a solution after retiring in 2016.

His idea?

Income sharing agreements.

Let's run through the details…
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19 Feb
The greatest marketing deal in sports history happened 50 years ago.

This is the story of how two brothers became bitter rivals, built multi-billion-dollar businesses, and why a $120,000 payment will be remembered forever.

Time for a thread πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡
1) First, some history...

In 1924, German brothers Adolf and Rudolf Dassler started a shoe company from their mom's laundry room, Dassler Brothers Shoe Factory.

As the sole manufacturer of athletic shoes in Germany, the brothers knew they were onto something big.
2) Shortly after launching the company, sales took off with Adolf's invention of the screw-in spikes.

Even better?

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Owens won 4 gold medals & sales exploded.

This is where it gets interesting…
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14 Feb
Floyd Mayweather is one of the wealthiest athletes of all time, earning more than $1 billion during his boxing career.

The interesting part?

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Time for a thread πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡πŸ‘‡
1) Let's start in 2006...

Ten years into his professional career, Floyd Mayweather was already the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world β€” making $5M+ per fight.

The only problem?

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2) Floyd Mayweather was signed to Top Rank Boxing, a promotional company run by Bob Arum.

In exchange for setting up fights, negotiating contracts, handling ticket sales, etc., Bob Arum received ~25% of the purse.

In return, Mayweather was given a large guaranteed fee up front.
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