Make your own free website on

Mark William  Prior was born on September 7, 1980, in Bonita, California.
He has two siblings,Jerry III and Millie,named after each of his parents.
Mark grew up in the San Diego area.
His father,Jerry was as a financial consultant,  and his mother,Millie
was the vice principal at a local middle school.
His Father Jerry, was raised in Chicago as a  Cubs fan.
The first time he visited Wrigley Field, as an eighth grader in 1959,
Ernie Banks hit a grand slam.
Jerry was also an athlete,
he was a high-school football star at Vanderbilt in the 1960s.
Mark's brother and sister,Jerry and Millie were both excellent tennis players
who competed at the Division 1-A level, at Villanova and San Diego.
Although Mark liked Basketball,and by the tenth grade he could reverse Jam,he preffered to play  baseball.
He liked  the San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants,
and the Chicago Cubs.
Mark's  idols were Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens.
Mark's family was always in his corner offering support.
His grandmother Marion played catch with him.
and his older brother showed him how to throw a curveball.
His father took him to the San Diego School of Baseball when he was 12.

In Mark’s freshman year, he learned a changeup.
Coach Dick Serrano promoted him to the varsity the following spring.
In one of his games, he surrendered 10 runs in a third of an inning.
In the stands during that game was former major league hurler Tom House, whose son, Bryan, was opposing Mark on the hill.
He saw tremendous potential in Mark, and offered to take him under his wing.
Much of their work focused on the mental and physical preparation necessary
before taking the mound.
The only mechanical change House suggested was raising Mark's
glove to his face during his motion.

In 2001, the Twins owned the first overall pick, and the Cubs selected second.
If ever a player prayed he would not go #1, it was Mark, who could think of no better way to write the next chapter of his baseball career than to be taken by Chicago.
When Minnesota opted for Joe Mauer, there was jubilation in the Prior home.
The Cubs, who had known for months they would take Mark if the Twins didn’t, were also very happy.JohnBoggs, Mark's agent, would demand a record-breaking contract.
Mark was too good for the Cubs to pass up.
As Mark's agent John Boggs and Chicago began their negotiations, Mark joined Team USA for his final summer of amateur competition. Several weeks into the schedule, he found himself in a rut.He lost two of this three starts,He asked for a three weeks off  to attend his brother's wedding. By then Boggs and the Cubs had come to an agreement, settling on a five-year deal worth $10.5 million, the largest contract ever for a draftee.
Chicago wanted Mark to pitch in the Arizona Fall League, but he chose instead to work out on his own while earning credits toward his business degree. The team didn't fight him, trusting he would report to spring training in great shape. The Cubs planned to get a feel for where Mark was in the preseason, then farm him out to a level where he could start his climb to the majors.
Mark pitched well in spring training, and felt right at home in the clubhouse.
The guys were excited about their future ace.
The Cubs assigned Mark to the Class-AA West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx, and prayed they wouldn't need him in 2002.  Figuring he wouldn’t be around too long, the Diamond Jaxx took full advantage of Mark’s celebrity. The team estimated that he boosted merchandise sales by more than $15,000.
In early May the Cubs promoted Mark to Class AAA Iowa, where he continued to dominate.
Mark was called up in late May for a start at Wrigley Field against the Pittsburgh Pirates. With 49 friends and family members in the stands, he whiffed 10 in six innings to record his first big-league victory.
Mark was not a disappointment to them.
Perhaps most impressive was how he bounced back from bad outings.
At 6-5 and more than 220 pounds, Mark has the perfect build for a power pitcher.
He generates most of his strength from belowhis waist.
He is still learning to use his legs when he pitches.
He benefitted tremendously from the lessons of Tom House,
who taught him to think his way through each start.
Mark works hard on his mechanics.
Mark was married to Heather Gora,his high school sweetheart on November 16th,2003.
They honeymooned in Hawaii,and ran into Dusty Baker while there.
Mark has earned his business degree and the following is a transcript of his commencemnet speech:

Graduation Speech from USC's Marshall School of Business
(May 14,2004)
"I promised my parents I would'nt wing this speech but since uh,I've lost half of my speech,I'm gonna wing,
I'm honored and priviledged  to be standing here in front of you on one of the most special events in your life. As Dean Ellis  said, getting married, having kids and graduating from college are the three events that you always remember. Well,I graduated and I'm married, so I  only got  one more to go,... I guess.
As I thought about what I should say to the  class of 2004, I was suggested  I talk about what my degree  means to me or how USC has been a big part of my life, and when I think back about it, I'm sure that we all have similar experiences.
We all dreaded dressing up,and going over to USC where you're riding on your bike and sweating,showing up and doing mock presentations.I know for a fact that I was very unfortunate to schedule a 8:00 am,Friday morning discussion by accident.I'm sure everybody has had simular experiences, hopefully more positive than negative. Well,some of the things that I've faced in my last two or three years, being at professional baseball, hopefully I'm able to express to you and might help you in the long run.
Even though I don't....not going to go out and I don't put on a suit every morning at 8 a.m.,
we all have one thing in common and that's fear.
Call it fear of the unknown, fear of failure or just fear that you can't schedule
your social life anymore around your classes.
(crowd laughter)
Anyway you look at it,new things are always intimidating
and everything seems to scare you at first.
When I was drafted out of high school by the New York Yankees,
I decided to turn them down to pursue an education.
(crowd applause)
I was scared that I really didn't want it.
It was by far, the hardest decision I ever made, but I figured I would like to to see where the next three or four years would take me.
I attended Vanderbilt University,  unfortunately, things didn't work out.
And raised in a Notre Dame family, I decided to transfer to USC to pursue my education....
Degree in Business. I'm sure we all remember that first day on campus that we attended USC. Where would we live? Who would be our classmates? And how would we eat somewhere else besides Café 84? All of those things scared me. Fortunately, I was drafted by the Chicago Cubs and given a chance to play professional baseball  again.
It was a dream come true .I was  given a second chance. I was pitching at Wrigley Field against players that I had grown up idolizing my entire life. You talk about being nervous and you talk about being scared? All of these feelings I had are natural and I know a lot of you are sitting out there going 'well, I don't play baseball' and
'I have to find a job' and 'I have to make it on my own" and
I understand these differences, but just because I'm not...I'm playing baseball and you're going out
and you might be doing a county project,or some sort of marketing,we all have our fears of the unknown.
My message to you today is to trust your abilities and take each day one at a time. You are not becoming..
not going to become the chairman of Disney overnight
(referring to Dick Cook, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, who spoke following Prior)
and I'm sure Mr. Cook can relate to this. Trust in your abilities. You would not be sitting here today if you were not qualified to make it in the real world. You have worked hard, just as I have, to be where you are today. Many of you have jobs lined up and many of you are still looking . Either way, there are going to be times where life kicks you down, when things aren't exactly
the way you envisioned coming out of college. Be confident positive. Let your abilities carry you to success and take it one step at a time. It's what I tell myself every day. It's what gets me through the tough times of stress and anxiety. Having a degree from USC is a major accomplishment for me, as well as it should be for you. (USC Associate) Dean Ellis alluded to the fact that  only  17 players  have their  college degrees.
 Greg Maddux told me yesterday, 'Boy, you are overqualified for you're job.' (crowd laughter)
You think I'm proud of what I've accomplished? You bet I am. Your degree is something that no one can take away from you. Your degree will open up doors that would never be offered otherwise. I will always remember where I come from. So trust in our SC family cause we are always looking out for each other. Thank you."