Have you ever imagined a millionaire baseball player living in an old Volkswagen camper parked behind a Wal-Mart? Probably not, but that’s exactly where Detroit Tigers pitcher Daniel Norris lives.
It’s not that the 25-year old former AAA top prospect old fell on hard times or filed for bankruptcy. His career and bank account has never been healthier.
So why the Move?
As far as money goes, he bought his van, Shaggy seven years ago after receiving a $2 million bonus. It only cost him $10,000, barely enough to dent his bank account. In addition, he recently signed a deal with Nike.
While his last season wasn’t his best, he still has a solid spot in the Tiger’s dugout. Norris throws 96 and has a 92 Mph fastball. So, what would possess someone this wealthy and talented to live in a camper?
How it All Begun
In 2011, the Toronto Blue Jays gave the then 18-year old Norris a $2 million signing bonus. And what did he do with it? If you were in his shoes at that age, you’d probably have your dream car first on your shopping list. That’s exactly what Norris did.
However, that’s where the story takes a turn. Apparently, his dream car was the one he currently lives in – a 1978 Volkswagen Westphalia Microbus. So, when he received more than enough money to buy one, buy one he did. But how did he start living in it? This is where the story gets interesting.
The Camper as a Temporary Home
When he first bought Shaggy, Norris neither intended to live in his beloved camper nor did he imagine ever living in it. Instead, he drove from his Tennessee home to Florida for spring training. Since he was always a camping and hunting fan, he preferred the back roads and trails to the interstate.
When night fell, he would write in his journal, look up camping gear, hunting rifles and handguns at woodburyoutfitters.com and other sites before sleeping in the van. So, to make the camper more comfortable, he added a few necessities – a bed, surfboard, and a sleeping bag as well as some pots, pans, and solar panels. When he got to Florida, he still slept in Shaggy during breaks.
The Camper Becomes His Permanent Home
In the beginning, he simply parked on a Florida beach and spent the night there. But soon, the local cops got wind of his illegal camping and tried to evict him. Fortunately, they were also kind enough to direct him to the Wal-Mart.
From here, he would drive to practice in the morning, to the amazement of the store’s staff and customers. However, the staff quickly became accustomed to Norris’s presence, even nicknaming him the Van Man, but the customers still stare at him in disbelief.
As for his teammates, they regularly drop by in their flashy cars to see him. Like the customers, they cannot understand his lifestyle. His family does, especially his dad in whose footsteps Norris follows. Apparently, Norris, Sr., traveled a lot, but used the family bike. His son simply upgraded to a van.
Earlier, we asked the question: What would possess someone this wealthy and talented to live in a camper? Norris gives us the answer – freedom. And according to Norris, he wouldn’t trade this lifestyle for anything.