Draft Day Memories

As part of Baseball America’s draft coverage this year, we have launched our All-Time Draft Database at BaseballAmerica.com. It’s a fun tool that inevitably leads down memory lane. For example, you can see every shortstop drafted in 1992, from Derek Jeter at sixth overall to Torry Zerilla, the 1,411st pick. You can see every player drafted from your alma mater, or see which team had the best 10th-round pick in the 1980s.

Baseball America subscribers will also be able to see pre-draft scouting reports for numerous players, as well as signing bonus information and signing scouts.

But the draft is more than just a database of names and numbers. Every draft pick has a story behind it, and here are some of those stories. . .

Brett Jackson, of, Cubs

1st round (31st), 2009, California

“I remember everything about the day I was drafted. It was a wonderfully perfect and terrible day all in itself, all wound up into one day. I spent it with my family, and the first round was a stressful time. It got down to 31, and I had a few teams that told me they were going to draft me and they didn’t. I was obviously disappointed the Giants didn’t draft me being my hometown team. I thought it was a longshot that they would, but there’s still disappointment there. It got down to 31 and I was sitting in a small office room with my dad in our house. My family was down the hallway because, let’s be honest, moms can stress you out. But I wanted to be alone with my dad. We were down in the office and 31 was up and it was the Cubs. I hadn’t gotten a call from my agent, hadn’t gotten a call from anyone. I always figured that whenever someone got drafted they knew they got drafted before it happened. There were about 15 seconds on the clock, no one had called and my agent had told me he’d call me when he knew what was going on. I wasn’t even looking at the TV when my name was called. I had to do a double-take and look back at the TV. It was an outpour of emotion. My family came running down the hallway, and it was an exciting night. We had I think five or six Cal players drafted that day, so it was an exciting day for me college friends and I, Jeff Kobernus and Blake Smith, Dylan Thomason, a few guys, they came over to my house and we had a little grill in the back. It was a good relief and an exciting day for me. I couldn’t be more proud to have been drafted by the Cubs. If there was a team that wasn’t going to be the Giants, I’m glad it was Chicago. I was so proud to be able to join the tradition of the Cubs with a history so deep. That will be a day I’ll never forget.”

Mark McGwire, hitting coach, Cardinals

8th round, 1981, Damien HS, Claremont, Calif.

1st round (10th), 1984, Southern California (Athletics)

“Well, we’re going back quite a few years. It was one of the most exciting days of my baseball career. I remember there was talks between the New York Mets and my parents about being the first pick of the draft, but technically we wouldn’t agree to a certain amount of money, so they ended up taking Shawn Abner and then we got a call from the Oakland A’s when I was the 10th pick, so it was very, very exciting. It was just a phone call back then, I didn’t have a party or anything. But the phone call could have been from Walt Jocketty, because he was the assistant general manager at the time for Oakland, or it could have been from Dick Wiencek who was the scouting director.”

Adam Reifer, rhp, Cardinals

11th round, 2007, UC Riverside

“It was more disappointing, because I mean I was hurt the whole year. I was supposed to be a higher-end guy and that was the first year they did the top five rounds on day one. So, when that didn’t happen, I was just like, ‘All right, whatever. We’ll see how it goes tomorrow.’ And then my agent called me and told me the Cardinals were going to take me at 11. So, they drafted me in the 11th round and obviously I was excited. I knew the Cardinals were a very good organization. It was ’07, so I knew the year before they won the World Series. So, I was excited to come here, I signed a couple weeks later and now I’m here. It was a good deal and it all worked out in the long run. Not many people get to get drafted, so it was cool.”

Mike Olt, 3b, Rangers

1st round supplemental, 2010, Connecticut

“I was asleep for some of the draft. I was exhausted. We had our game against Oregon in Regionals and I had to pack up all of my apartment. I feel asleep for some of it, but I woke up just in time and then I really woke up real quick. I didn’t have any service where I was, so I couldn’t see anything. But my little brother was in the kitchen downstairs watching it on the computer. When I got drafted he came upstairs and started going nuts. I said ‘If this is a joke you’re going to be in big trouble.’ But when I saw my name on mlb.com I knew it was for real.”

Kolbrin Vitek, 3b, Red Sox

1st round (20th), 2010, Ball State

“It was a really tense night. I was trying to have as much fun as I could in the picks before me. But every time I was watching a pick go by me, especially the high school guys, I was like ‘What’s going on here?’ Once I got picked it was really busy with all the calls and texts. But it was very enjoyable. The night was kind of a blur. It was definitely what I expected. I always heard stories of guys who had gone through it, so I had a good idea of what was going to take place. It lived up to everything I had heard.”

David Wright, 3b, Mets

1st round supplemental, 2001, Hickory HS, Chesapeake, Va.

“The biggest thing was that I had school that day. I was obviously a senior and I had a big anatomy and physiology test I remember I had to go to. Because if it wasn’t for that class, or that test, I probably would have stayed home and listened to the draft. I was a pretty good student, but it was hard to prepare for that test, knowing that you’ve got the draft the next day. There was a lot of uncertainty as to where I was going to be drafted, but I knew that it was going to be a big day for me, one way or another. So, I went to school in the morning and took the test and got an A in the class, so the test must have gone pretty good. I probably did a lot worse on the tests I took after that day, but the draft actually started before I got home. I missed the first 30 picks, but I was home with my family and some coaches and close friends and stuff like that and got to hear my name called on the computer when I was picked 38th. The whole room erupted and for the next 10 years, I’ve kind of been floating on cloud nine and just enjoying the experience. It’s right up there as one of the best days in my young life, so far.”

Colby Rasmus, of, Cardinals

1st round (28th), 2005, Russell County HS, Seale, Ala.

“I remember everybody coming over to the house. We had a good little get together and just celebrated a bit. I was just proud to be drafted as high as I was and was just thankful for the opportunity. It was a crazy feeling and I didn’t know what was going to happen, just that I was going to go play some baseball somewhere.”

Christian Friedrich, lhp, Rockies

1st round (25th), 2008, Eastern Kentucky

“I remember fondly having my two coaches from college actually making the trip up to Chicago and coming over that day and some neighbors being over and just being able to spend the day with family members and friends. I was just ecstatic, but also nervous at some points. I had to go up into my parents’ room and watch the TV by myself after a couple picks were going by where I thought I was going to go. Before the day my agent was telling me where he thought I was going to go, but unless you have a deal set up, it doesn’t mean anything. So I thought the Brewers at 16  would be the latest. After that passed, I had to turn off the TV or else I would just keep sweating it out. My little sister came upstairs with me and was trying to calm me down and after it got past (pick) 20, I turned off the TV. I was just trying to not think about it and tell myself everything was going to be OK and stop freaking out. Then five picks later, I heard the roar from downstairs and I scrambled to turn the TV back on and see which team I was actually drafted to. But, as soon as I heard my name called, I heard cheers from downstairs and I could barely talk to Karl Ravech on the phone because I could barely hear him. I was trying to say that I was excited and happy, but people were trying to congratulate me at the same time. Afterwards, friends just told me over and over again that I’m going to have the best job in the world and i’m just thankful for the process and those that helped me out along the way. I only had one meeting with the Rockies and the scout, Scott Corman, had only talked I think twice. He told me that he told their guys that he didn’t think I was going to be available. So I don’t even think he came to my last two starts because he said if I was on the board, they were going to take me. It was exciting knowing the Rockies weren’t a team I grew up watching, so it was something new to go into and the success they had in the previous year and that they’re really homegrown and they care about their players and they stay within their system for the most part.”

Delino DeShields, manager, low Class A Dayton

1st round (12th), 1987, Seaford (Del.) HS (Expos)

“I’ll never forget. We were playing William Penn High School in a state playoff game. Our little yellow school bus pulls up to the field, and there are four or five camera guys and reporters. That’s when I found out. I didn’t get a call from anybody. Honestly, I didn’t know what was going on. I knew it was a big game. I didn’t really know about the draft. I was oblivious. I was going to play point guard for Rollie Massimino at Villanova. Baseball I could take or leave to be honest . . . When money started being discussed it started getting real.”

Rick Riccobono, Director of Development, USA Baseball

6th round, 1998, Commack (N.Y.) HS (Red Sox)

“I remember it being a disappointing day. The information I had was I would go in the supplemental to second round. But I fell to the sixth. In hindsight, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that I was considered one of the top 200 prospects in baseball. It’s a great memory and an awesome thing to have achieved.”

Albert Pujols, 1b, Cardinals

13th round, 1999, Maple Wood (Mo.) CC

“I just remember when I got that call. I was a little disappointed because I thought I was going to go in a higher round than I went, but I got an opportunity to play, and that’s what I took advantage of. I did a couple workouts for teams, but I didn’t know which team was going to draft me.”

Logan Morrison, of, Marlins

22nd round, D/F, 2005, Maple Woods (Mo.) CC, D/F

“I remember I was at a summer ball practice with the Bill Hood Broncos in Hammond, Louisiana and my coach came up to me and said, ‘Congratulations, you’ve been drafted in the 22nd round!’ and I was just like, ‘Oh. . . all right, cool.’ I didn’t think much of it, you know. They had called and offered in the eighth round, earlier that day, and I told them it probably wasn’t going to be a good fit for us to go then, so then they draft and followed. Once they did that, I knew I was going to go to junior college and stay draft eligible. Me and my parents went to Copeland’s, a little chain in New Orleans, and got some dinner, but that was it. No big draft day party for me.”

Lance Berkman, of, Cardinals

1st round (16th), 1997, Rice (Astros)

“We were in Omaha and we had just gotten beat. The team flew home, but we stayed an extra day in Omaha because the draft was the next morning. Actually my uncle is the one that called me because they invented this thing called the internet about that time and I didn’t know how to use it and of course the draft wasn’t on T.V. You just waited for a phone call, basically, so my uncle called me and said I got drafted by the Astros in the first round and that was the first I heard of it.”

Zach Lee, rhp, Dodgers

1st round (28th), 2010, McKinney (Texas) HS

“The actual draft day was a little bit of a surprise to me. I was actually, at that point, packing up my things to head down to LSU the next day to start football workouts. So when I realized I got drafted, I was actually loading the car. My mom told me I got drafted, then I got a few phone calls afterwards from front office people. It was exciting to an extent, but at the same point, I kind of had something else going on as well to fall back on in case something didn’t work out. So, I was a little surprised that I actually got drafted on the draft day. Kinda the whole experience throughout the whole entire summer, it wasn’t really what I think a lot of people thought it was. I didn’t really hear anything from the Dodgers until the day of the deadline, and then I was kinda surprised then. But ultimately, the day of the deadline came. Me and my family had a long discussion about it. We just kinda picked the thing that was best for me. And obviously I think that was going with the Dodgers and the offer they had on the table. At that point, I was real excited, I kinda tried to put some stuff behind me and just focus on one thing. I think kinda the overall experience, it was a neat experience, but it wasn’t as exciting or as inspirational as lot of people thought it was. It was a really tough decision, coming down to the two decisions I had, but ultimately we made the decision that we felt was best for me and my family.”

Matt Dominguez, 3b, Marlins

1st round (12th), 2007, Chatsworth (Calif.) HS

“It was an exciting day, a life-changing day. I expected to go pretty early in the draft and it happened to be 12th to the Marlins and it was a life-changing event. I just had family and friends over at an uncle’s house, that was about it. I heard my name called over the T.V. and then my phone started going off. I didn’t answer at that second, I was just hugging family members, but I eventually got ahold of the front office guys for the Marlins and that was it.”

Matt Holliday, of, Cardinals

7th round, 1998, Stillwater (Okla.) HS (Rockies)

“I remember being fairly disappointed. I talked to a couple different teams and thought I was going to go in the first round, but didn’t end up going until the 7th round. I went to a workout with the Pirates and I thought that might be a possibility, but I think they ended up drafting a lefthanded pitcher or something (Clint Johnston). And then my uncle (Dave Holliday) works for Colorado, who ultimately ended up drafting me, but they had a couple different picks in the first round and the sandwich round. I was excited to be drafted, but at the same time I was a little disappointed and thought that I would have been higher. But it’s definitely a unique experience, especially for a 17- or 18-year-old kid. That’s the one thing that stands out, but ultimately it worked out.”

Trey McNutt, rhp, Cubs

32nd round, 2009, Shelton State (Ala.) CC

“I watched it the first two days. The Pirates called me in the eighth or ninth round and said they wanted to take me. They said, ‘How much to sign you?’ I was like, ‘$100,000.’ They said that’s fair, we’ll be in touch, and then I never heard again from them that first day. Then I listened to it the second day and I didn’t get a phone call, so I was like, ‘Well, I guess I’m not getting drafted this year.’ So after that day I just went signed up to start taking my summer classes and everything. I was working on a golf course that summer to make some money and then playing summer league ball on the weekend. But then that third day I was working on the golf course and I got a call from my mom and she said I’d been drafted. I was excited. It was the 32nd round, so I was like, oh crap, I’m not going to get any money, they haven’t seen me pitch. They saw me out in Grand Junction in the College World Series and I was throwing 91-94 there. They wanted to see me pitch in that summer league I was playing in and they came and watched me a couple times, really liked me a lot. Pretty good money, $115,000 as a 32nd-rounder is a pretty good deal. So I just I took it, I left the golf course that day, went home, saw my family, got congratulations and everything. It was a big deal for me, I’ve always wanted to get to pro ball, get drafted, have that experience. It was a good time for me and they signed me two weeks later after they saw me pitch a couple times in a couple games. Went to Arizona, that’s where my journey started and I’m still chasing a dream.”

Jed Lowrie, ss, Red Sox

1st round supplemental, 2005, Stanford

“I wasn’t drafted out of high school. I was a small guy out of Oregon. I had a good average, but my power numbers weren’t that impressive. We didn’t have a fence at my high school field, so every home run I hit was an inside-the-parker, essentially. It was a city park with fields that shared an outfield, so if you hit the ball hard enough, you hit it into the JV game. So, I went to Stanford and then I was on a flight back from Baylor from regionals after we lost, so I never heard my name called. I got off the plane and had about 10 new voicemails and 14 new text messages, so I knew something had happened. At that point I realized that my college career was over and it was kind of the start of my professional career. It was mixed emotions. I had three good years at Stanford, but now it was time to focus on my professional career.”

Brian Harper, manager, Double-A Tennessee

4th round, 1977, San Pedro (Calif.) HS (Angels)

“I was in high school, so there was no Internet or cell phones or anything like that. It was 1977, so I think, to be honest with you, I think they called my high school. They announced it over the loudspeaker that I was drafted by the Angels in the fourth round. That was the first I heard of it. I was thrilled. Everybody congratulated me and all that. It was a pretty fun day. I was from southern California, the Angels were my favorite team, so it was fun.”

David Bell, manager, Double-A Carolina

7th round, 1990, Moeller HS, Cincinnati

“I just remember not really having any idea what was going to happen. I had the fortune of playing on a good high school team and I knew we had some good players who were being scouted and I was hoping that I was noticed during that time, but really I had no idea. I knew it was a possibility to get drafted, but no idea what round or by what team. I was hanging out at home, waiting and hoping for a call, and I ended up getting one from the Cleveland Indians, they drafted me in the seventh round.  It was good. We lived in Cincinnati, we’re from Cincinnati, and my dad had a long history with the Indians. He played there, so there was some familiarity to it, and I felt like it was a good place to go. Then I had the tough decision ahead of me of whether to sign or go to college and all that, but really in the end it was a pretty easy decision. I knew what I wanted to do, and that made it easier.”

Josh Vitters, 3b, Cubs

1st round (3rd), 2007, Cypress (Calif.) HS

“I was just honored to be invited to the draft in the first place because it was the first ever televised draft. I think it was only me and a couple other guys, actually, Phillippe Aumont and Ross Detwiler. So it was awesome. It was just like basically a dream come true to be drafted into pro ball. It’s always been a dream to be drafted out of high school, so it was exactly what I wanted and it was an amazing experience. My mom and my dad were there, my sister was too. My brother was in the middle of his season because he played at Fresno State so he couldn’t attend, but we had a really good time. It was really surreal being on stage with my jersey up just being like you imagined how it would be. It was just an amazing experience. We went out to a nice dinner at a seafood restaurants right at the Orlando area. I had a little draft party after the fact when I got back home to California with some close friends and family, my high school coaches, a few other people came. It was a great time.”

Kyle Gibson, rhp, Twins

36th round, 2006, Greenfield (Ind.) Central HS

1st round (22nd), 2009, Missouri

“It was a whirlwind, man. A lot of guys going into the draft kind of know what’s going on and they’ve talked to a lot of teams and they know who likes them and who doesn’t, but for me it was an interesting situation because I wasn’t completely healthy. But, at the same time, it wasn’t a really serious injury. But there were still probably 8-10 teams that had questions about it and they didn’t really know what all was going on with my arm. I went to get an MRI about a week before the draft or so and after that let some teams know what was going on. We talked to the doctor that made the X-Rays and had some films made and put on discs so that we could send them out. Five or six days before the draft, we were overnighting these CDs and pictures of my arm out to as many teams as we could. Before I got my MRI, I was talking to most of the teams in the top 15 and then after my MRI and more questions came up, I didn’t talk to anybody before pick 15 except for maybe one or two teams. It was chaotic, but at the same time it was a great experience. We had a lot of people there, a lot of friends and family out in front of my house, in our cul-de-sac, under a tent watching it. It got a little nerve-wracking and a little tense underneath the tent a little bit in some situations, after 20-some picks had gone by and I hadn’t been taken. But, then pick number 22 came around and the Twins took me and I had no idea, because I hadn’t gotten a call or anything from the Twins in a while. I talked to the scout maybe a couple days before, but the pick came around and they took me. Everybody started yelling and it was one of the most exciting times in my life.”

Christian Yelich, of, Marlins

1st round (23rd), 2010, Westlake HS, Westlake Village, Calif.

“Draft day for me, it was insane. Pure crazyness. All the way up until you get drafted and that whole night, it was crazy. It’s also one of the coolest days. Everything that you’ve worked for since you were four or five years old starts coming to a realization. I just remember I had graduation practice that day for high school. I left my phone at home for three or four hours. I just didn’t want to deal with it. And then you come home and you think you know where you’re going, but you don’t know for sure, and so I just remember watching the draft on tv. I wasn’t even paying attention when my name got called, and I heard it, and I was drafted by the Marlins, which was pretty cool. Just my family (was there). I didn’t have any of my friends come over. I was just so stressed out and I didn’t know what was going to happen. (After the draft) your phone blows up. You do all these interviews with the local newspaper. The owner will call you, which was pretty cool. If I could go back and re-live that day, I would do it in a heartbeat. It was probably one of the coolest days.”

Mark Canha, of, Marlins

7th round, 2010, California

“My draft day was a little uneventful, almost. I did get drafted. I didn’t end up getting drafted where I wanted to get drafted, actually. The whole draft day, it was weird because it was kind of unfinished. I didn’t know if I was going to sign or not, so there was a lot of uncertainty on that day. So, it wasn’t the big draft day that I kind of hoped for, but it turned out to be a great thing because I’m here now and I’m with an organization that I’m very happy with. Living the dream. I was actually following it on the computer and I followed the first three rounds, which is where I expected to drafted in, and I didn’t get drafted in those three rounds. So I just stopped watching it actually, and I left and started hanging out with my girlfriend. Later on in the day, I just got a bunch of phone calls and a bunch of texts and stuff when I got drafted, and I didn’t really know what happened. I had to go home and see what happened.”

Garin Cecchini, 3b, Red Sox

4th round, 2010, Barbe HS, Lake Charles, La.

“I was coming off the knee surgery and was projected as a high rounder, so I was sold on going to LSU, but then I saw my name pop up with the Boston Red Sox in the fourth round and I was just like, ‘Oh my goodness, are you kidding me?’ It’s crazy to get picked by a team with that much history and all that. I thought I should have definitely been picked higher, but being picked in the fourth round coming off a major knee injury, you have to think about it like that, too. That’s really cool. The Red Sox saw me hit off Wade LeBlanc and off of former first-rounder Jacob Marceaux, who was with the Marlins. So they saw me hit off a righthander and a lefthander in a private workout a week before I got hurt and I did well against them. So they saw me do that and then stuck with me. They came at the right time. There were other teams that were on me in the supplemental and second round, but I turned them down and told them, ‘I’m not going to sign for that, I’m not going to sign for that.’ And then I heard from a team that said they were going to draft me in the third round, but didn’t. So the Red Sox drafted me in the fourth round and it all worked out.”

Kevin Randel, hitting coach, low A Greensboro

48th round, 2001, Riverside CC  (Cubs)

13th round, 2002, Long Beach State (Marlins)

“The first time I was drafted, I didn’t even know I was drafted. I think I was drafted really late by the Cubs. A phone call came to me that day. I was in an apartment in Riverside with a bunch of my roomates. They were drafted the first day, and I just wasn’t expecting to get drafted, and I was drafted and they called me and I had no idea what to do. I was like, ‘Well, I think I’m going to go back to school, but thanks for the offer.’ I had no idea about pro ball. Going back to Long Beach (the next year), that whole draft process was new to me. All my roomates were drafted. I got a call from the Marlins, Robby Corsaro, long-time guy who I’ve known through high school, and he said I was drafted by the Marlins and I was like ‘Hey, that’s great.’ Then two minutes later, the Colorado Rockies asked me if I’d sign in the 14th round, and I was like, ‘Well, I was just selected by the Marlins. Thanks for the offer.’ He said ‘Thanks.’ I think a couple minutes later the Houston Astros called and said, ‘Hey, would you be willing to sign in the 14th, 15th round?’ I was like, ‘Well I was just drafted by the Marlins.’ I know that draft goes really quick, and it gets really crazy. My junior year, I followed it on the computer with my best friend Jeremy Reed—drafted in the second round, he was a pretty high pick. We were following round by round, looking at all the guys we played against. Finally the round came, 13th round, and they gave me a call and I was selected. It was a good experience.”

Brant Ust, Director of 18U National Team, USA Baseball

11th round, 1996, Eastlake HS, Sammamish, Wash. (Yankees)

6th round, 1999, Notre Dame (Tigers)

“I had just flown back to Seattle after being bounced from the regional at Notre Dame. This was before it was all streamlined in the media. The Tigers called in the sixth round. I was ecstatic and happy, but no one was home. My parents were at work and my sister was still at school. My mom is a nurse and I had to leave a message with the receptionist.”

Max Walla, of, Brewers

2nd round, 2009, Albuquerque (N.M.) Academy

“I just remember my family had some people over, just some close friends and family. Whether it happened or didn’t happen, it was just kind of a gathering to celebrate that it was even a possibility, I guess. What I remember most is just being surrounded by all those people that are close to me and when it happened, the whole place just went nuts. There were probably 25-30 people and everyone just started shouting and like dog piling on me. I was sitting on the couch, watching it on the computer. I know pretty much who was interested and kind of where I was probably going to go. I did a pre-draft workout with the Brewers in Milwaukee and went 1-for-3 in the scrimmage that we had up there and I had a pretty good BP round. I put a couple balls in the upper deck in the BP round and kind of showed off what I’ve got going for me. And then my signability kind of dictated that I was going to be in the second or third round, somewhere around there. The Brewers texted me before their two picks in the late second round—73rd and 74th—and they asked if I would sign in that spot and I texted back and said, ‘Yeah!” So I got taken and then got a call from my scout to congratulate me. I was on cloud nine, so I couldn’t tell you what he said.”

Chuck Crim, pitching coach, Double-A Chattanooga

3rd round, 1979, Thousand Oaks (Calif.) HS (Cubs)

17th round, 1982, Hawaii (Brewers)

“In high school when I played, I didn’t even think about the draft. I just loved to compete and loved to get people out. When the draft came, it was actually a dream come true even though I never really thought about it. It was a surprise being drafted so high out of high school and, granted, I was a very, very good high school pitcher. It was probably only my size that kept me from going in the first round—the 5-11, 150-pound righty just doesn’t get drafted in the first round. Then coming out of college, I thought about it. I was very surprised I wasn’t drafted on the first day and I was very disappointed. Then the second day came around and I was drafted in the 17th round. It wasn’t as exciting as the first time. It’s just one of those things to prepare yourself for. I had already shipped my stuff from Hawaii to the mainland because I knew I was going to get drafted and sign and go play pro ball, but I was definitely surprised to be drafted so late after having a great college career and being drafted in the third round out of high school.”