Athlete of the week: Kevin Markham

Frankie Leal

Nearly two years ago, every baseball player’s worst nightmare became a reality for UTSA centerfielder Kevin Markham. “I tried to throw a guy out at home and it felt like somebody had just shot me in my elbow,” said Markham. The dreaded Tommy-John injury had claimed another victim in the world of baseball. “It’s a long process,” Markham said about his recovery period. “You’re in a sling for about three months, and it was an entire six months before I could throw a baseball again,” he said.

After months of doctor appointments and tedious rehab, Markham was physically ready to return to the diamond. However, the injury still affected him psychologically. “For about four months after I was cleared I was so scared every time I threw the ball. I just never wanted to go through that pain again,” Markham said.

The UTSA baseball team returned to action mid-February. For the first time since 2015, Kevin Markham’s name was in the lineup. After a long and excruciating 635 days, he was finally able to lace up his cleats and put on his Roadrunner uniform again.

Watching him play in the opening series against the Quinnipiac Bobcats, you would have never guessed he was coming off a serious injury. In the four-game series, Markham hit .450 with seven doubles, And in his very first game back, he blasted a homerun over the right field fence to put a stamp on his return.

Markham grew up and went to high school in the small town of Willis, Texas. “My grandpa went to high school there and so did my dad. “It’s a small town,” Markham said. He has an older brother whom he claims is a better athlete than he, but after suffering injuries from football, Markham’s brother Justin stopped playing and now works in the oilfield.

Markham also has an uncle who played with the Texas Rangers organization in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s.

After high school, Markham spent two years as a starter under the direction of Scott Harp and Erik Wright at North Central Texas College. Before his junior year, Markham decided to come to UTSA because it was the only Tex. college he got an offer from.

“I could’ve gone to Lafayette or North Carolina, but it was easier to come here because it’s only three and a half hours from home, and my family could come and watch me play,” Markham said. “One of my best friends out of junior college committed here as well, and once he did that, it felt right to come here too.”

Markham graduated this past semester with a degree in economics, but he still isn’t completely sure about what he wants to do with his degree. He wants to focus on baseball and see where that takes him before anything else. “If baseball doesn’t work out, I want to go to the Navy and go from there,” Markham said about his future.

Seven games into the new season and Markham is off to an incredible start, batting .516 with one homerun, nine RBI’s, eight doubles and two triples. He has wasted no time making an impact. He looks to make the most out of his final season.

“Sitting out last season made me realize how much the game really meant to me,” Markham said. “And it’s just been fun. I’ve had more fun playing baseball here than anything else.” With his final season underway, Markham aims to make up for lost time. The Roadrunners centerfielder is finally back in the orange and blue, and he’s already making a huge difference.