The Region's Team Of Northwest Indiana


Former Oilmen James Meeker Can Call Himself a Big Leaguer

06/28/2024 3:18 PM -


Contact: Don Popravak

1500 119th Street

Whiting IN  46394


Whiting, IN - The 29-year-old relief pitcher, whose career included a stop with the Northwest Indiana Oilmen, threw a scoreless inning for the Milwaukee Brewers on June 7 in Detroit. It was a long time coming. 

“Playing catch with my dad in the backyard, starting from there. Traveling to baseball games when I was younger and then college, then playing Indy ball, the long bus rides, all that stuff is well worth it for that moment,” he said. 

Meeker played for the Oilmen in 2014. At the time, the Wexford, Pa. native was a third baseman. He became a pitcher after transferring from Akron to the University of Delaware when the Zips baseball program was dropped. 

That was just the start of Meeker’s circuitous route to the show. 

After college, he went undrafted in 2018 and headed to the Washington Wild Things of the independent Frontier League for four years. 

“I was realistic, knowing that it was going to be a little harder than some other people’s journey, but (the MLB) was the goal the whole time, and I believed I could do it,” he said. “It was definitely a little harder sometimes, but that’s what I was playing for, so I always knew in the back of my mind that I could get up there.” 

He signed a minor league deal with the Brewers in 2021 and worked his way through the system over four seasons before the moment he’d spent virtually his entire life waiting for. 

“I was just trying to enjoy my time (with the AAA Nashville Sounds) and obviously be successful here when I got the call,” Meeker said. “It flipped everything 180. I was trying to grasp that I’m going to be a big leaguer, call some friends and family to let them know. Then just make sure I’ve got everything when I get to Detroit.” 

Meeker threw 16 pitches at Comerica Park. He faced four batters, allowing one hit and one walk but no runs to finish a 10-0 Brewers win over the Tigers. He said the moment was difficult to describe as the Milwaukee infield recorded the final out with a double play. 

Catcher William Contreras shared a laugh with Meeker before the postgame handshakes. 

“He was just like ‘You can take a breath now. Way to get out of that inning,’” Meeker said. “He was super happy for me.” 

That joy was short-lived, though. Meeker was designated for assignment after just that one appearance for Milwaukee. For a week, he had to wait and see if the Brewers would trade him or if he’d pass through waivers. He did, and was sent back to Nashville. 

Now, life is about getting back to the bigs. That’s Ok, though. It’s the only thing he’s ever known. 

“You get a taste and you know you can be successful up there. I don’t think you need to change anything to try to get back up,” Meeker said. “Just keep getting your work, keep trying to do your job and just hope to get back as soon as possible.”