Ohio State first baseman Nick Swisher said good-bye to the scarlet and gray yesterday as he became the first round draft choice of the Oakland Athletics in the 2002 Major League Baseball player draft.
“I’m just soaking up the day right now,” Swisher said. “I’m super excited to be an Oakland A and the GM (Billy Beane) called me and said he was glad to have me aboard.”
Swisher, the 16th overall pick in the draft, will leave after three years with the Buckeyes. A two-time All-American and All-Big Ten selection, Swisher was the Big Ten Freshman of the year in 2000.
This season he hit .348 with 10 home runs and 52 RBIs. His .620 slugging percentage was tops among all Buckeyes and he was second in walks with 43.
He played the first 44 games in center field before moving to first base for the remainder of the season.
Swisher became the highest draft pick under coach Bob Todd in his 15 seasons at OSU.
“Nick is an extremely talented player, and I look forward to follow his progress,” Todd said. “I hope he reaches his goal to play in the big leagues. We wish him the best.”
Swisher hopes to follow in his father ‘s footsteps. Steve Swisher was an all-star catcher for the Chicago Cubs.
“I was happy to share this moment with him and my family,” Nick Swisher said.
The junior from Parkersburg, W. Va., may not be the only Buckeye on his way out.
Redshirt Sophomore Doug Deeds was also drafted yesterday by the Minnesota Twins in the ninth round.
“It’s a great feeling to know I get a chance to follow my dream of playing professional baseball,” Deeds said. “I’m excited to have this opportunity.”
Deeds led OSU with a .386 average this season. The 2001 Big Ten Freshman of the year also was the team leader with 81 hits and 12 home runs and has hit .365 over his two-year career. Deeds was named second-team All-Big Ten this season and made the Big Ten Tournament team as well.
As for now his future with the Buckeyes remains uncertain.
“Doug is an extremely talented player and showed the potential the scouts like,” Todd said. “I will have to sit down and talk with him and his parents about his future.”
A press conference is scheduled at 2 p.m. today at Bill Davis Stadium as both draftees will talk about their selections and their respective futures.
And although Deed’s departure is uncertain, Nick Swisher is extremely grateful for his time at OSU.
“This has been the greatest three years of my life,” Swisher said. “I’m just thankful I got the opportunity to play here but it’s time to move on. It’s something I have worked for all of my life and now that it’s here I have to take full advantage of it.”