From The Bud to the Big Leagues: Justin Verlander takes pride in ODU baseball

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Justin Verlander is feeling comfortable in the nation's capital during the All-Star Game festivities.

Justin Verlander at the All-Star Game.

"To have it be close to home its a pretty special feeling, I fought hard to get back here."

Being a known commodity and a household name in baseball wasn't always the case for Verlander.

Before he won his first World Series ring, and before going second overall in the 2004 MLB Draft, his name was well known at Old Dominion.

Justin Verlander during his jersey retirement. (Courtesy: ODU Sports)

"I loved my time at ODU, and I have people all over the country, yelling 'Go Monarchs'," Verlander told News 3. "To have my number retired there and to be able to represent the school in this fashion this close to home, it's a great experience."

Fans might know where Verlander, 35, laid his collegiate roots, but his teammates had to do some Google searches.

"I thought he went to like Michigan or something, or signed out of high school," said his Astros teammate Alex Bregman. "Whatever they did over there at Old Dominion worked."

It did, and for that, Verlander takes pride in the Monarch way.