25 No-Hitters By Teen Softball Ace

Thirteen-year-old Jackie Rodriguez is a pitcher from Texas who has thrown more no-hitters than Nolan Ryan. Host Liane Hansen speaks with the child uber-athlete, who also plays the piano and trumpet.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

LIANE HANSEN, host:

Nolan Ryan holds the Major League Baseball record for hitters. He threw six of them in his 27-year career. And that's enough to make 13-year-old Jackie Rodriguez smirk? Jackie is a pitcher, too. Like Ryan, she's from Texas and has thrown no-hitters of her own: 25 of them, to be exact - in four seasons. And when she's not playing softball, you can probably find her playing the piano or the trumpet.

Jackie joins us now from her home in Weslaco, Texas. Hi, Jackie.

Ms. JACKIE RODRIGUEZ: Hi.

HANSEN: Have a busy summer?

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: Yes.

HANSEN: Yeah. What have you been doing?

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: Well, I've been doing softball and also music at the same time.

HANSEN: Uh-huh. How's your softball record?

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: Well, we're good.

HANSEN: Good. And you've been playing your piano and your trumpet.

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: Yes.

HANSEN: What's harder, playing softball or playing an instrument?

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: I think an instrument.

HANSEN: Why?

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: Because you have to read the notes and it's more practice to get everything right.

HANSEN: Uh-huh. So it's more of a head game than pitching?

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: Yeah.

HANSEN: Are you concerned at all that you might get hurt in softball and won't be able to play any instrument?

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: Well, I had already thought about that, but I would get really worried being hurt on my hands, because I wouldn't be able to play the piano or trumpet. But thanks to God, he's helped me and he's kept me safe. And I pray before every game.

HANSEN: So you haven't been hit by a pitch on your hands yet?

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: No.

HANSEN: No. Do you think playing the trumpet or the piano actually helps your pitching?

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: Yeah. Well, it keeps me focused. Like, I have to be focused while I'm playing the piano and, like, getting used to that. I'm also focused on the mound.

HANSEN: Ah.

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: So it's the same thing, being focused in both things.

HANSEN: What else do you think makes you good at pitching? You talked about the focus you get from playing a musical instrument. Is there anything else you think? I mean, you know, you're such an ace.

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: Well, like, playing the piano in front of a lot of people, I get nervous at times and it's also in softball, because the teams get rowdy and you get a lot of stress. So I get used to it.

HANSEN: Yeah. You stay in that zone that you're in.

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: Yeah.

HANSEN: So you're in Sports Illustrated for Kids as one of the sports kids of the month.

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: Mm-hmm.

HANSEN: Yeah. Yeah. Are you a celebrity in your time now?

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: Well, like, everybody's calling my dad and telling me that, oh, she's in the Sports Illustrated and all that stuff. So it's kind of cool.

HANSEN: Yeah. But, again, you know, that's attention that can distract you on the mound.

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: Yeah.

HANSEN: So you're handling it.

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: Yeah, I'm handling it.

HANSEN: Are you autographing your picture in the magazine?

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: Not yet.

HANSEN: Well, be careful about that because you don't want to wreck your hand, right?

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: Yeah.

HANSEN: Pitcher, pianist, trumpeter Jackie Rodriguez joined us from her home in Weslaco, Texas. Jackie, thank you so much. Good luck.

Ms. RODRIGUEZ: Thank you. And this is "Blue Scales."

(Soundbite of piano song, "Blue Scales")

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.