I remember getting an urgent phone call from my cousin back in 1997. He was a baseball fan and loved attending his college team’s games every week.
That night his team had been crushed by the visitors 17 to 4. It was clear by his speech that he was a bit tipsy but one could not ignore the excitement coming from his mouth.
“This kid hit two Canseco-type home runs to Center!” he practically yelled. I listened for as long as I could before I began to snooze. It was at least 1 A.M, maybe even later.
I politely did my best to try and get rid of him but not before he could get out one last Nostradamus prediction. “He’ll be a superstar!” Goodnight, Jorge.
That was the kind of hype J.D Drew created from just one game. He was without a doubt, perfection on a diamond as a collegiate baseball player. For starters, he was the first player in the history of college baseball to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in a single season. He won five major awards in college, including the Sporting News Player of the Year and all before reaching “the show”.
You can imagine the kind of buzz this kid was creating with his near-perfect swing. Scott Boras, super agent and perhaps Lucifer himself, quickly snagged him up before the 1997 M.L.B Draft and released an announcement to every team that J.D Drew would not play baseball for less than $10 million dollars. Despite the threat, the Philadelphia Phillies chose Drew as the second overall draft.
That was the day J.D spit in the face of the Baseball Gods.
As expected, J.D’s demand was the real thing and the Phillies, who wasted an incredibly important draft pick would not budge, especially not on an unproven rookie.
In the end, both J.D Drew and the Phillies lost out. The Phillies wasted their #2 pick on Drew while Lance Berkman & Troy Glaus were available at the time of their fatal error in judgment.
J.D lost out as well when he accepted much less money to play with the St. Paul Saints, an independent baseball league where he wasted away in 1997 and some of 1998.
Also, he may have been a legend in college but in 10 seasons in the Majors he’s hit 30 home runs and driven in 100 runners just one time. The most bases he’s ever swiped is 19 and he scored 100 runs or more just once.
J.D has also managed to somehow land on the Disabled List more times than Jose Canseco. Does that sound like Karma to you?
It seems that J.D Drew was a cursed man the second he took for granted an opportunity many men would sell their souls for. He was blessed with talent and for some reason chose to exploit it for greed instead of living up to a potential not many are lucky enough to own. He could have been a legend by now.
It’s 2008 and J.D Drew is finally a star. He’s hitting .317 with 10 home runs and is on the first-place Boston Red Sox. Still, you have to wonder if Drew will be able to finish out the season without another injury.
Much like Jose Canseco’s road to 500 Home Runs was blocked by trips to the D.L and old Father Time, something tells me that the Baseball Gods won’t be as forgiving to J.D. Something tells me that when all is said and done, David Jonathan Drew will be forgotten once his career is over.
I guess my cousin had one too many beers.