Earlier this year, the Houston Chronicle compiled a list of the greatest pro athletes from every Houston-area high school.
Two 1990s Major League pitchers head those lists for East Aldine’s two largest high schools: Aldine High’s Roger Pavlik and for MacArthur, it’s Brian Bevil.
We’ll start with Bevil. A 1990 graduate of MacArthur, the 6’3” righthander was a 30th round draft pick of the Kansas City Royals. Bevil opted to pitch first for the Roadrunners of Lufkin’s Angelina College, which delayed his signing on with the Royals for a year. Bevil enjoyed his finest minor league season in 1996, dividing up a 16-7 record between AA Wichita and AAA Omaha. That punched his ticket to the bigs, where in 1996 he won his first and only Major League decision that year. Bevil remained in the Royals bullpen for the next two seasons and retired after the 1998 season with a 5-3 record and a single save. Ravaged by shoulder injuries, Bevil’s career ERA was a stratospheric 6.28, but bear in mind, this was the pinnacle of the era of Peak Roids, when each team on average scored five runs per game.
On retiring Bevil signed on as a deputy with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and has spent much of that time contracted to patrolling the East Aldine District in the “bike” patrol: a squad that keeps the district’s trails, parks, and parking lots safe not just on bicycles but also aboard ATVs and horseback.
While he’s known today for unenviable landmarks — becoming the first pitcher in American League history to walk the first four batters in a game — and mixed achievements, such as his inclusion on the 1996 AL All-Star team in a season in which his ERA would end north of the 5.0 mark, Aldine High School’s Roger Pavlik still accomplished enough in his six seasons in the Texas Ranger pitching rotation to earn him a spot among the top 50 players to have ever suited up for the Arlington nine.
Or at least he had as of 2006, and Ranger superfan Adam J. Morris was leery of ranking him that high even then.
And yet Morris makes a compelling case:
Yes, yes, I know…I’m sure that some folks (I’m not going to name names) are probably scoffing, laughing derisively, asking how someone like Roger Pavlik could have made the cut. And yes, part of him making the list owes to the fact that the Rangers history is not the most illustrious…barely 30 years of existence, and a lot of those years dark ones.
But nevertheless, Pavlik had some nice seasons in the Rangers rotation, something that seems to be forgotten when people remember him. Pavlik seems to be remembered as the guy with the bad mechanics who couldn’t stay healthy, and who went to the All-Star game with a 5+ ERA because the Rangers scored a ton of runs for him and pumped up his win total. Pavlik’s name is one of those thrown out, along with Darren Oliver and Kevin Gross and John Burkett, to illustrate why those great Rangers offenses of the mid- to late-90s couldn’t ultimately get the team over the hump….
But the more I looked at it, the more I considered, I finally decided he had to make the cut. He had a couple of very good seasons as a Rangers starter, in 1993 and 1995, plus a decent half-season in 1992 and a decent full season in 1996….
[T]here’s something uniquely “Ranger” about Roger Pavlik. The guy had 125 career starts, a 101 ERA+…and yet, he had a whopping 6 starts where he didn’t even make it out of the first inning.
That, to me, epitomizes Roger Pavlik…a good pitcher, sometimes great, but sometimes unbelievably bad. And uniquely “Ranger.”
Pavlik, known for his knee-buckling curve ball, signed to play for the Texas Longhorns but chose instead to go pro when the Rangers drafted him in the second round of the 1986 amateur draft. Among the few pitchers selected ahead of Pavlik were Sharpstown’s future Astro Greg Swindell (a future Astro) and six-time all-star Kevin Brown, a future Astro nemesis. An injury-riddled senior season for the Mustangs likely caused Pavlik to slide to the second round, and it was injuries (many believe brought on by his herky-jerky delivery) that played an outsized role in his equally erratic MLB career.
And not all his landmarks were qualified or simply bad: teaming with fellow Ranger pitcher Ken Hill in 1996, Pavlik became half the first pitching tandem to hurl consecutive one-hitters in the AL since 1919.