#MLBPlayers411: Inspired by dad, Matt Shoemaker is rising in Angels' rotation

With Father's Day rapidly approaching, this week's #MLBPlayers411 looks at Matt Shoemaker, who has risen to the top of the Los Angeles Angels' rotation these days, and who acquired his passion for baseball from his dad.

The 29-year-old right-hander, runner-up in Rookie-of-the-Year balloting in 2014, is now making his dad prouder than ever. Following a slow start this season, Shoemaker has a 2.28 ERA and 0.92 WHIP with 53 strikeouts and just three walks over his last six starts.

David Shoemaker took his son to see Tigers games when Matt was a kid growing up in Toledo, Mich., and watched baseball become a passion in the young pitcher's life.

Shoemaker's father recalled a game in August 2007 when his son didn't want to leave during a long rain delay at Comerica Park and was rewarded when Carlos Guillen hit a walk-off home run at 3:30 am to beat the Yankees in the bottom of the 11th.

"See," Shoemaker told his father that night, "I told you we needed to stay."

Shoemaker went on to pitch for Eastern Michigan University, posting a 3.97 ERA and 14 saves -- the most in the Mid-American Conference. Yet, Shoemaker wasn't selected in the 2008 draft and signed with the Angels as a free agent.

Five years later, on Sept. 20, 2013, Shoemaker made his Major League debut. After learning that he was being called up, Shoemaker called his dad late at night.

"Dad, we made it," Shoemaker said, according to Yahoo Sports.

Half-asleep, his dad replied, "Made what?"

"The big leagues," Shoemaker said. "We're going to the big leagues."

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More from #MLBPlayers411:

  • Shoemaker had a poster of Cecil Fielder on his childhood bedroom wall.
  • He had aspirations of being a power-hitting corner infielder.
  • Shoemaker has been a man of many facial hair styles; first rocking a goatee, then a handlebar mustache and now a full jet-black beard.
  • He and his wife, Danielle, had their first son, Brady, on Jan. 8, 2015.
  • Shoemaker can be found on Twitter @MattShoe52