I should come clean and state right off the bat that I never went to a high school baseball game. Hell, I don't think I've ever been to any amateur sporting event apart from high school trackmeets I participated in. That includes college sports, too.
But getting older and moving away from my hometown a few years ago has made me sentimental for certain ties to my younger days. When I got back into card collecting, one of the first purchases I made was for an eBay lot of cards of a guy I went to school with (stay tuned for that post). I eventually started poking around some more, looking for other ballplayers who walked down the same halls as me when they were teenagers.
And so this series of posts is a culmination of that.. a place to dump all the info I've gathered and pictures of cards I've hunted down thus far. It might not have broad appeal, but I'm excited about it and I hope you guys will find it entertaining regardless of where you went to high school. Some of these guys have pretty interesting stories!
This "preface" post isn't covering any of those magnificent seven who made the show. Nope, we're kicking off by paying tribute to those who gave it a go in the minors, but weren't able to break through to the big leagues. So here we go!
The school mascot is the Eagles, and this is sort of the school's semi-official anthem.
Granite Hills High School grads who played in the minors, but called it a career without playing MLB.
This corner infielder was a 22nd round pick by the Atlanta Braves in 1998, but didn't sign with them-- I guess he probably went to college or something instead-- and 4 years later Sean played independent ball, with his career lasting from 2002 until 2005. His best year was probably 2002, hitting .290 with 12 homers in 65 games. He doesn't have any baseball cards that I know of. I might've went to school with him, since he was a couple years behind me. Let's look for him in the old yearbook... Bingo!
Signed as an outfielder with the Dodgers' 2nd round pick of '87 thanks to a strong high school career at Granite that saw him set a county record with 50 hits in a season, Donald converted to pitcher after a couple years in the minors. But after a couple years on the mound, he was done. Had a comeback for 1 inning in 1999 for an independent club. He doesn't have any baseball cards that I could find.
Ok, now we've come to a guy with cards! Drafted by the Mariners in the 21st round of the 2003 draft, Casey had some solid seasons in the minors, averaging .285 with good speed and some pop, but he never made it passed AA. He wrapped up his career in 2008 after a year in the Mets organization. He was included in 2006 Bowman and has some minor league cards.
o 2004 Everett AquaSox Grandstand #6
o 2005 Everett AquaSox Grandstand #24
o 2006 Midwest League All-Stars Western Division Multi-Ad #10
o 2006 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Grandstand #3
x 2006 Bowman Prospects #B55
x 2006 Bowman Prospects Gold #B55
x 2006 Bowman Prospects Blue #B55 (/500)
o 2006 Bowman Prospects White #B55 (/120)
o 2006 Bowman Prospects Printing Plates (4 x 1/1)
o 2006 Bowman Prospects Red #B55 (1/1)
o 2006 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BC55
x 2006 Bowman Chrome Prospects Refractor #BC55 (/500)
x 2006 Bowman Chrome Prospects X-Fractor #BC55 (/250)
x 2006 Bowman Chrome Prospects Blue Refractor #BC55 (/150)
o 2006 Bowman Chrome Prospects Gold Refractor #BC55 (/50)
o 2006 Bowman Chrome Prospects Orange Refractor #BC55 (/25)
o 2006 Bowman Chrome Prospects Red Refractor #BC55 (/5)
o 2006 Bowman Chrome Prospects Printing Plates (4 x 1/1)
o 2006 Bowman Chrome Prospects Superfractor #BC55 (1/1)
Here's the first "vintage" guy on the list. Tim was an infielder originally drafted out of Granite Hills by the Cubs in the 4th round of the 1970 draft, but chose to attend UCLA instead. The Reds picked him up in the 18th round in 1974, and he spent his pro career in their system putting up decent numbers before hanging it up after 1978 with AA Nashville. No baseball cards of him out there, as far as I know.
The Pirates took Damon as their 2nd pick in 1985, tabbing him to be their catcher of the future. He was named the San Diego Section baseball Player of the Year that year, but his success as an amateur didn't carry over. He switched to first base after a rough start in rookie league. He continued to struggle and only lasted 3 years as a pro. Bummer. At least one card exists of him, and I recently grabbed it off eBay for a couple bucks.
x 1987 Macon Pirates ProCards #18 Damon Hansel
Mark signed with the Phillies in the 14th round of the 2000 draft. A catcher-turned-outfielder, he had trouble keeping his offense consistent. The Padres picked him up in the minor league 2003 Rule V draft, but he was done by the end of the 2004 season. It seems he's got 3 cards out there, none of which I own.
o 2002 Batavia Muckdogs Team Issue #1
o 2003 Lakewood BlueClaws Multi-Ad #14
o 2004 Eugene Emeralds #12
Here's another oldie. Drafted by the Reds in the 12th round of the 1974 draft, this guy was a RHP who spent a couple years in Cincinnati's system, then called it quits after a year in the Twins organization. Though always a pitcher, seems Charles wasn't a bad hitter, putting up a .333 average in 31 professional plate appearances. No cards.
This guy was an outfielder signed by the Cubs in 1970, going to the Expos system a couple years later. He made it as high as AAA, but after a down year in 1973, Don was done. No cards.
Another guy with cards! Scott was drafted several times as an undergrad, but stayed in school instead, attending Long Beach State University, later transferring to SDSU. He eventually went pro with the Red Sox in 2004. He pitched well enough to reach AAA, but never got the call up top. Spent some time in the Rangers system before closing out his career with a stint at AAA Tacoma (Mariners) in 2008. Overall, he was 30-16 with a 4.63 ERA over 5 years on the farm. He was included in 2007 Bowman Chrome and has some minor league cards.
o 2004 Lowell Spinners
o 2005 Greenville Bombers Multi-Ad #22
o 2006 Wilmington Blue Rocks Choice #26
x 2007 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BC138 Scott Shoemaker
x 2007 Bowman Chrome Prospects Refractor #BC138 (/500)
x 2007 Bowman Chrome Prospects X-Fractor #BC138 (/250)
x 2007 Bowman Chrome Prospects Blue Refractor #BC138 (/150)
x 2007 Bowman Chrome Prospects Gold Refractor #BC138 (/50)
o 2007 Bowman Chrome Prospects Orange Refractor #BC138 (/25)
o 2007 Bowman Chrome Prospects Red Refractor #BC138 (/5)
o 2007 Bowman Chrome Prospects Printing Plates #BC138 (4 x 1/1)
o 2007 Bowman Chrome Prospects Superfractor #BC138 (1/1)
Oh, and thanks to my yearbook, I just now realized I went to school with him! He was a freshman when I was a senior.
|LOL at the caption. He never had a plate appearance as a professional.|
Another guy I went to school with, Brian J. Smith was a year ahead of me and I have no memories of him, or even knew he went pro till just now researching these guys. He was a late draft pick by the Mariners in '95, but only lasted a couple years splitting time between second base and the outfield in their system before winding up on an independent team, and was done playing by 2002. He seems to have a couple baseball cards out there (such a common name makes it hard to search).
o 1997 Everett AquaSox Grandstand #24
o 1999 Newark Bears Multi-Ad #19
Let's dive into the old yearbooks and see if we can dig up any pics...
Oh yeah, I remember him now. He was also a co-captain on the football team. Prototypical high school stud.
Shawn was drafted by the White Sox in the 12th round in 1982. He was a RHP who put up decent numbers in the low minors, but for whatever reason, only stuck around for 4 seasons. No cards I'm aware of.
Michael has the distinction of being the only Granite grad to be drafted by his hometown San Diego Padres (El Cajon is in East County San Diego), who took him in the 7th round of the 1977 draft. Another RHP, he had a decent '77 at Walla Walla (playing alongside Ozzie Smith!), but struggled in '78 and that was it for him. No cards.
Michael James Wilson signed with the Phillies in the 1998 draft. He was a RHP who put up solid numbers for a few years, but couldn't get past AA, wrapping up his career in 2003 with a couple games in the Giants' chain. Similar to Brian Smith, his very common name makes it hard to search for his cards. (He is not the same Mike Wilson who appears in some 2002 Bowman and Topps products and 2011 Bowman, an outfielder with Seattle.) He's got at least a couple minor league cards I've found out about, one of which I grabbed off eBay.
x 1999 Batavia Muckdogs Team Issue #40
o 2001 Batavia Muckdogs Team Issue #35
Let's see if he's in my yearbook.. Yep, that's him with both arms up:
Two years below me, checks out. He's featured as being on the basketball team, but no mention about baseball. I vaguely remember him, mostly just for being a tall, gangly guy. (Baseball-reference has him listed at 6'7", further corroborating it being the same Mike Wilson.)
Now, here's a list of guys who were drafted out of Granite Hills, but apparently didn't sign and instead followed a different lifepath than that of a ballplayer.
Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 45th round of the 2001 MLB June Amateur Draft.
Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 44th round of the 1987 MLB June Amateur Draft.
Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 36th round of the 2005 MLB June Amateur Draft.
Drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 33rd round of the 1988 MLB June Amateur Draft.
Drafted by the Houston Astros in the 98th round of the 1994 MLB June Amateur Draft. I was at Granite in 1994, so I must've went to school with this guy. Let's look him up in the yearbook...
|Ha, whoever wrote these captions probably didn't know much about sports.|
Drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 69th round of the 1989 MLB June Amateur Draft. I wonder if he was the younger brother of the aforementioned Shawn Stacey?
Drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 37th round of the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft, but instead chose to attend Stanford. As far as I can tell, he's still pitching in college, so he might find his way off this list at some point. Good luck, Daniel!
There are two more guys I want to mention in this post who don't fit into either of the above lists. Guys from Granite Hills who are still active in the minors as of 2014.
Brian was first drafted by Boston in the 19th round of the 2008 draft out of Granite Hills, but chose to attend Pepperdine instead. Then the Rockies signed him in the 14th round of the 2011 draft. An outfielder who bats lefty, he's been putting up solid numbers in the minors. In 2013 at A+ Modesto, he hit an even .300 with 8 homers and 14 stolen bases. This past season at AA Tulsa, his numbers went down a little, but still respectable. As for baseball cards, he was included in 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects, so he's got several cards there, counting parallels, plus a few minor league cards.
x 2011 Tri City Dust Devils
x 2012 Asheville Tourists Grandstand
x 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP180
x 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects Refractor #BCP180
x 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects X-Fractor #BCP180
x 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects Green Refractor #BCP180
x 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects Blue Wave Refractor #BCP180
x 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects Blue Refractor #BCP180 (/250)
x 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects Purple Refractor #BCP180 (/199)
x 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects Gold Refractor #BCP180 (/50)
x 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects Orange Refractor #BCP180 (/25)
x 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects Red Wave Refractor #BCP180 (/25)
x 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects Red Refractor #BCP180 (/5)
o 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects Printing Plates #BCP180 (4 x 1/1)
x 2012 Bowman Chrome Prospects Superfractor #BCP180 (1/1)
o 2013 Modesto Nuts
o 2014 Tulsa Drillers
(Red x indicates I've obtained the card since this post was originally published.)
After graduating from Granite Hills, Johnny attended Cal State San Marcos, where the Marlins took the RHP as their 35th round pick in the 2011 draft. I guess Miami wasn't impressed with his progress, and cut him loose after a couple years in their system. In 2013, he pitched well enough in independent ball-- 3.36 with 78 strikeouts over 115 innings in 21 games-- to get his contract purchased by the Diamondbacks organization. This past season, he reached a career high of 91 strikeouts (vs. just 25 walks) and looks to advance up to AA in 2015. He's got at least a couple minor league cards out there that I've found out about, picking up one so far.
x 2012 Greensboro Grasshoppers Multi-Ad #11
o 2012 Greensboro Grasshoppers Multi-Ad #11 Cone Health Stadium Giveaway
o 2013 Traverse City Beach Bums
All the best of luck to Brian Humphries and Johnny Omahen in their quest to become the 8th Granite Hills Eagle to reach the majors!
And so there you have the list of guys from my high school who attracted the interest of a major league team, but weren't able to make it to the MLB (at least as of 2014).
If you have any baseball cards of any of these guys that I don't have, I'm definitely interested in trading! Autographs would be cool, too.
The rest of this series of posts will feature the 7 guys who did make it. I'll be going in ascending order of MLB games played, working our way to the most successful Granite Hills alum ballplayer. So we'll see you next time, when we'll learn about a guy who saw very little action in the bigs, but became a star in Japan. Stay tuned.