As a 17-year-old I thought that I was all grown up and ready to tackle the world. Looking back now, I realize that I was just a youngster then, still wet behind the ears.
The childhood memory that still lives with me to this day occurred on graduation night.
Following the graduation ceremony, I was all pumped up for the parties that I knew would follow.
There was just one other matter that I had to attend to before joining my friends in the festivities.
I needed to return home and meet with a gentleman from the St Louis Cardinals baseball organization.
To this day I can still see Joe Garland's face, the baseball scout with the Cardinals, sitting across from me as I listened to his proposal to sign a minor league contract.
I had been drafted by the St Louis Cardinals as a pitcher and all I needed to do was put my signature on the dotted line and I would be boarding a plane in the morning.
Here is a link to the 1970 Baseball Draft published by Baseball Almanac.
I was drafted as a junior and the time to make a decision was now upon me.
Being so young, the whole idea of leaving home, especially a day after graduating from high school was a little overwhelming.
After Mr. Garland left our home that evening, my Dad and I once again went over the pros and cons of signing the contract presented to me.
I was drafted at #816 overall in that year's baseball draft.
Being so young, we both felt that if I attended college and played baseball while there, my draft status would only improve, if I was truly capable of playing a game I loved, for money.
After playing college baseball for my first two years in school, things were going as planned. Every time I was on the mound, more and more baseball scouts were in attendance and my status was climbing with every pitch I hurled.
Well, as they say, The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
I also played college basketball and halfway through my junior year of school I experienced a very unfortunate accident while playing hoops. While in the air, trying to secure a rebound, I had my legs taken from underneath me. While trying to break my fall I came down on my right arm, shattering my ulna with the other bone in my forearm, the radius, sticking out of my arm.
Game over, from that day forward I never threw another pitch.
My dream of one day playing professional baseball was shattered, along with my arm.
There would be no more professional scouts beckoning for my services.