I pitched at the University of Southern California as a walk-on. Randy Johnson, Tom Seaver and Barry Zito are just a few of the great pitchers who came from USC, so seeing my name at the top of the school's all-time wins list still seems strange.
It was a pleasure to be a part of that college program, though. I had limited opportunities out of high school and to be able to compete at a school of that caliber as a walk-on produced memories I will never, ever forget.
When I first arrived at the campus, I was probably a little bit naive about the process, but I think being a little naive was a good thing, as it turned out. I didn't really understand the limited opportunities that might be available to me as a walk-on at USC. Looking back now, I would say my success there was a little unexpected.
At that time, though, I really did believe that I could pitch and have success doing so. What I did there blew away everybody's expectations, including my own. Being at school for all four years instead of turning pro after my junior year has something to do with my holding the all-time wins record, but I wouldn't change it for a minute.
Some people around the nation think of USC as a football school, but we have a lot of success there in baseball, too. A lot of good players from USC have terrific professional careers. I was a part of some great teams there from '94 to '97. My teammates included guys like Aaron Boone, Geoff Jenkins and Jacque Jones. We had a great run there.
As a group, we don't talk much during the season, but when we see each other, it's great to see old friends again and reminisce a bit. I'd say there are about six of us from my years at USC here in the big leagues now.
Randy Flores went 3-0 with one save over 70 games in 2007. He has pitched the last four seasons with St. Louis and had brief stints with the Rockies and Rangers. He has also pitched in 12 postseason games and is 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA over those contests.
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