By Kyle Brandenburgh
Big 12 Campus Correspondent
From taking practice swings in his batting cage back home to getting up early for morning track practice with his mother, Baylor junior Brooks Pinckard's sports-oriented family and childhood has shaped his raw talent and built his character.
Pinckard's father, Casey Pinckard, who played third base at Texas Lutheran, and his mother, Dede Pinckard, a state champion in the triple jump in high school, both passed sports and a competitive attitude on to Brooks. Even at the competitive high school level at Hays High School in Buda, TX, Brooks lettered in track, baseball, and football.
"My parents helped me out a lot since they had been athletes as well," said Pinckard. "They always pushed me and helped me to get better."
Pinckard is amongst the NCAA leaders in stolen bases, and attributes much of his speed to his experience in other sports, particularly track, where he set the Hays High School triple jump record and was a member of the record-setting 4x200 relay team. His speed has created havoc for opposing teams while Pinckard is on the base paths. It's an asset Baylor head coach Steve Smith does not take take for granted.
"His great speed creates offense for us more than anything," said Smith. "He has phenomenal raw talent that is very hard to find."
This raw talent is evident through his 95-mph fastball and 6.4 seconds 60-yard dash time. Because of this, Pinckard serves as the Bears' centerfielder and closer. In 2010, this unique combination landed him on the watch list for the Olerud Two-Way Player Award.
"He has probably the rarest combination of skills I have seen," Smith said. "You just don't see someone throw 95 mph and have that kind of speed at the same time."
Pinckard serves as a team captain and possesses a reputation for his effort and business-like attitude on the field. Despite not being the team's vocal leader, he finds ways to inspire teammates.
"He leads by example, and always gives 110%," said senior infielder Landis Ware.
This attitude is what has gained him so much respect from his teammates in the locker room. He continues to take the responsibilities of losses and team struggles on his own shoulders.
"He takes losing harder than anyone, and puts a lot of it on himself, rather than the team," said Smith. "He still gets over it and puts that stuff behind him."
Pinckard feels that it is important to stay level headed in these situations especially since he could be called in from the outfield to pitch at any time.
"I try not to think too much about the past or whether I'm about to pitch or not," said Pinckard. "I just stay in the moment."
Despite his serious, business-like demeanor on the field, Pinckard keeps the mood in the locker room up-beat and fun.
"He's a goofball and makes the locker room and apartment an exciting place to be," said senior pitcher and roommate Jon Ringenberg. "He always has fun, and is fun to be around."
Coach Smith feels that with Pinckard's combination of an upstanding attitude and raw talent, there is much potential for the two position star. In 2010, Pinckard was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 18th round of the Major League Baseball draft. All the while, he stays cool-headed and humble in regards to his talent and prospective future in the game of baseball.
"I have a great love for baseball, and God has blessed me to be able to play it for so long and hopefully at the next level," said Pinckard. "I will just play as long as I am able to."