"It's an unbelievable honor," Scherzer, who is also a member of the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame, said. "For me, playing in the Fall League, I remember when I was here in 2007, the guys getting retired were Torii Hunter, Albert Pujols and Jermaine Dye, so it's kind of crazy to think that I'm even part of that type of legacy because those guys are some of the best players in the game."
Scherzer is one of three Major League players elected to the Fall League's 2017 Hall of Fame Class, along with Angels outfielder Mike Trout and Mets third baseman David Wright, who were not at Thursday night's ceremony. The right-hander is the fifth pitcher (Troy Percival, Derek Lowe, Roy Halladay, Chris Carpenter) inducted into the AFL Hall of Fame. The 33-year-old had his Scottsdale Scorpions No. 51 jersey retired in a pregame ceremony.
In addition to the jersey retirement -- which is signified with a banner in right field -- Scherzer was presented with a bronze plaque that will be on display on the concourse at Scottsdale Stadium.
Before he was routinely carving up Major League lineups, Scherzer spent two seasons in the AFL, pitching for the Scottsdale Scorpions (2007) and the Phoenix Desert Dogs ('08).
In '07 he posted a 2.13 ERA in eight games and in '08 he put up a 3.38 ERA over four starts.
"To have it be 10 years later, this type of recognition, I was pleasantly happy to come back out here in the Fall League and have the ceremony," Scherzer said.
The AFL -- as it so often does -- served as a springboard for Scherzer, who has become one of the best starting pitchers in baseball.
"This is a steppingstone to the big leagues, when you have to come to this league, there's a lot of really good players that you have to play against," Scherzer said. "This is another opportunity that you take when you're at the end of the year of getting the best talent together and you have to try to separate yourself again."
The Nationals' right-hander went 16-6 with a 2.51 ERA in 31 starts last season and has amassed a career record of 141-75, with a 3.30 ERA over his 10-year career.
Scherzer has led the National League in strikeouts twice, had an ERA under 3.00 in four of the past five seasons, and is one of just four pitchers in history to have thrown two no-hitters in the same regular season.