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Getting to Know 2X NL Cy Young Award Winner Jacob deGrom

New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom was named the National League Cy Young Award winner last year, receiving 29 of 30 first-place votes. He became the seventh NL pitcher to win the award at least two years in a row. DeGrom, 32, joins Randy Johnson, Tim Lincecum, Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, Greg Maddux and Sandy Koufax on the list of NL back to- back winners.

Full Name: Jacob Anthony DeGrom

Born: June 19, 1988

Major League Debut: May 15th, 2014 vs NY Yankees

Hobbies/Interests: Hunting & Fishing

Favorite thing to do on an off day: I enjoy the big city; I’m from a small town. I like walking in Central Park and other parts of the city.

Favorite Ballpark: Right here, Citi Field. It’s a good park to pitch in.

Boyhood Idol and favorite athlete: Chipper Jones of the Braves. I grew up a Braves fan and Chipper lived near me. I looked up to him.

Biggest Influence for your career? My dad, growing up he would always be having a catch or be hitting with me. I was always working with him, great work ethic.

Favorite team growing up: Atlanta Braves.

Favorite athletes today: LeBron James and Phil Mickelson.

Who were your favorite pitchers growing up? Again being a Braves fan, I liked Smoltz, Glavine and Maddux. I really liked Maddux, with his location and stuff, he wasn’t overpowering but threw pitches where he wanted to every time.

Meal I enjoy most: A good steak dinner

Drive: The opportunity to put on a big league uniform every day is awesome. Many people dream of that, but very few get to do it. I am thankful every day I get to put on that uniform.

First Job: I worked in a fernery with a guy I knew. Most people have no idea what that is, but its working in a specialized garden for the cultivation and display of ferns.

How did it feel to start the first game of this crazy 2020 season? It’s an honor. It’s awesome to be out there for the first game. It’s something that means a lot and definitely something I enjoy doing.

How weird is it going to be for you this season not playing in front of the fans? You definitely feed off the fans. It’s going to be a little different. But I think just being out there competing is what we want to do, so that’s the main thing.

How do you stay focused & not think about being the third pitcher to win at least three straight Cy Young awards? Knowing what I did last year, I was dwelling on kind of the year before — just knowing that didn’t help me much last year in those three starts. As long as I can look myself in the mirror after the game and say I gave 100 percent and not dwell on what happened in the past, then I feel like I’ll like where I’ll be at.

What is the best advice you’ve ever recieved? Trust yourself and your abilities.

Most Embarrassing Professional Moment: Walking out to pitcher’s mound to pitch and wearing the wrong hat, I was wearing our batting practice hat.

What’s the hardest part about preparing for a game? Calming myself down. The day of the game I get nervous and I’m tired. But once I get on the field I’m usually good to go.