Goodson's main contributions to the team this year will probably come from the mound, but pitching was not always his forte. Hitting is something that he enjoys doing, and he hopes to get some plate appearances this year as well. He said, "I've always wanted to hit, but since I'm doing better pitching I'm doing that. I'd really like to do both." Do not be surprised to see Robby making a couple of plate appearances throughout the year as well.
Goodson has been recognized in the past for his hitting prowess. During his senior year in high school, he hit .489 with 15 doubles and six home runs, earning him a Dandy Dozen selection from the Clarion Ledger.
Robby was high school teammates of another Bulldog, senior Michael Brown. Goodson said playing with Brown in high school really pushed him to improve his game. "A lot of the reason I got a lot better in high school was because of Michael Brown," Goodson said of his teammate. "I was always competing with him when I was a freshman and sophomore. I would just try to do what he did because he was about the best player around so if I could do what he did I was doing pretty good."
During his junior season Goodson's pitching talent became evident as his fastball was being clocked in the low 90's. It looked like he might have a chance of becoming a major league draft pick after his senior season. However, injuries caused his velocity to drop, and Goodson was unable to be as effective.
Robby talked about his injuries. "I sprained my wrist sliding into home plate. I couldn't get any snap on my fastball so that dropped a few miles per hour. After that got better, I pulled my hamstring, so I couldn't really get any drive and couldn't hit very well either."
These injuries only strengthened Goodson's resolve to improve. He said, "I had to work real hard to just get back to where I could play. I got where I wanted to be just in time for the start of playoffs."
After high school, the choice of schools was easy for Goodson. Again his family played a role in helping him to decide because his dad went to State. Aside from that Robby, had grown up a Bulldog fan and said it was his goal to go to State.
Coming into this year, Goodson is looking to be a relief pitcher. He said, "I know I'm going to pitch, I'll be a reliever. I might be a closer, but we are not sure about that. I'll just try to do the best I can wherever they choose to use me."
As it seems with all the players, Robby is really enthusiastic about working with new head coach Ron Polk. "He knows what he is talking about," said Goodson of the skipper. "I think he is going to help this team a lot. He's been there and he knows what to do and when to do it. I think he is a good influence on all the players and he is going to make all of us better."
With Polk back at the helm, Goodson gets to work with the man he grew up watching in the dugout for the Dawgs. He is really looking forward to becoming part of the Bulldog tradition and said, "the fans are great for one thing. Just coming up here and playing for Coach Polk, who I saw at State my entire life, after playing for Coach McMahon, was a really big thing for me. I'm just glad that I can get a chance to play for Mississippi State."
Goodson said his goals for the year are to work hard and help the team out in any way he can. From what he has already accomplished, it is obvious that the working hard part will not be a problem. Judging by his performance this past fall, helping the team should be an equally attainable goal.
Hank Allen is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. Hank is a student at Mississippi State University. He is also a reporter for the student newspaper, The Reflector. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.