Todd Van Poppel's career didn't start as fast as he or anyone in the Athletics organization had hoped.
His pitching coach at AA Huntsville in 1991 Bert Bradley believed those early troubles had been to Van Poppel's benefit, according to The Associated Press.
"He's had to learn a lot of lessons that he may not have learned if he'd been winning all the time," Bradley told The AP. "The most significant thing he's learned is how to control himself through adversity. . . . He's pitched well enough to be 12-5 rather than 5-11."
Bradley that year used the lessons he'd learned in a career that dated back to 1979. He played in nine of those seasons, making the majors for six games.
Bradley has since used those lessons in a career that continues in 2015. He's spent that last decade teaching lessons to young pitchers in the Giants organization as the team's minor league pitching coordinator.
Bradley's career began in 1979, taken by the Athletics in the 27th round of the draft out of Brigham Young University.
Bradley played his first season between three levels, including five starts at AA Waterbury and six outings at AAA Ogden. He played his second season at AA New Haven. He went 3-15 in 24 starts there.
He returned to AAA in 1982, getting 17 outings at Tacoma. He then played all of 1993 back at Tacoma. It was that September that Bradley made the majors.
Bradley got into six games in relief for the Athletics. He gave up six earned in 8.1 innings. He debuted Sept. 3 and played his final game Oct. 2. That was the extent of his major league career.
Bradley returned to the minors. He played parts of the next three seasons at AAA, He was traded to the Yankees for 1985, sent there with Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson. His final time came in 1987 at single-A Madison back with the Athletics.
His time with Madison also marked the beginning of his coaching career. He served as the team's pitching coach that year. He stayed at Madison for four seasons. He made AA Huntsville in 1991 and then AAA Tacoma 1993.
By 1999, Bradley had moved to the Giants system. He coached that year at high-A Bakersfield.
He moved to the minor league pitching coordinator spot for 2004. He's continuing in that role in 2015, helping the team develop the pitchers to win three championships.
Since 2010, he's gotten to watch over his son Ryan Bradley. In 2011, he got to spend more time with his son as fill-in pitching coach at single-A Augusta, according to The Augusta Chronicle.
"I miss being on the field all the time some," Bradley told The Chronicle. "I like doing what I'm doing in my job, but I like this, especially with my son here pitching. That's awesome."
- Deseret News, Associated Press, Aug. 3, 1991: A's still pleased with Van Poppel despite his slow start
- Augusta Chronicle, May 27, 2011: Suspension is up for Jackets' coach