Drafting hope

The 2013 baseball amateur draft finished this weekend.  1,216 young men were drafted, and 1,215 of them dream of playing for a Major League Baseball team someday.  They dream of running out onto a perfectly manicured green field, shagging fly balls out of the clear blue sky, swinging for the fences, and tipping their hat to the crowd.  Most of them will never make a big league roster, and still they dream.

One however, has no such aspirations.  The 34th round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks was one of the top high school prospects in 2010.  He was drafted then by the San Diego Padres, but chose instead to attend college and play baseball for Arizona State University.  Cory Hahn played only three games for the Sun Devils.  In his third game he slid head first into second base.  During the play he collided with the second baseman, who was lunging for an errant throw.  Hahn’s head struck the second baseman in the knee, breaking Hahn’s C5 vertebrae.  The injury left Hahn paralyzed from the chest down.

Major League Baseball rules stipulate that players drafted out of high school have to wait three years to be drafted again.  When the Arizona Diamondbacks selected Hahn in the 34th round of the draft (Hahn wore number 34 at ASU), they were not drafting a five-tool player that would hit soaring home runs or make diving plays in the field.

Yet the draft was about more than a heart-warming publicity stunt.  Hahn has spent the last three years as a student coach at Arizona State.  In that time he has inspired many with his courage and tenacity.  The Diamondbacks plan to put him to work.

Diamonbacks President  Derek Hall told the Associated Press, “It’s not about us. It’s really about Cory and his family,” Hall added. “I was able to spend time with them right after the injury in his hospital room and he’s a wonderful kid. We want to make this permanent. We don’t want this to just be about the selection and him being a draft pick, but about him working in full-time employment with the Diamondbacks and hopefully we’ll make that come to fruition for he and his family here soon.”

I know a lot of people will be cheering for Hahn to make an impact for the Diamondbacks, even if it is never with a bat or glove.

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