The Texas Rangers offered Matt Purke the kind of money that some people won’t earn in a lifetime.
T.R. Sullivan, the Rangers’ beat writer for MLB.com, said the 14th overall pick in the 2009 draft turned down a $4 million proposal. That’s the same amount that fan favorite outfielder Josh Hamilton accepted when he was chosen as the top pick in the 1999 draft.
Not only did Purke turn down the cash, but also a chance to pitch under the eyes of Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan in his home state. For many people, this would be a dream come true.
But don’t call this freshman greedy.
One misconception is if this kid was drafted so high, there’s no way that he pays a cent for college. However, baseball scholarships work differently than football scholarships.
Brandie Davidson, athletics media relations assistant for TCU baseball, said the team has less than 12 scholarships to give, and none are full rides. If his only scholarship comes from the baseball team, he will be paying tuition just like the rest of us.
You just can’t call a person who willingly gives up millions in order to pay for school greedy.
Some people called him greedy because he would’ve been given a chance to pitch in the majors right away. However, it is rare for a player, especially one straight out of high school, to get called into the big leagues the same year he is drafted. Even the player taken first overall and former San Diego State ace, Stephen Strasburg, who signed a first-year draft record $15 million deal, started the season in Double A.
Yes, Purke would’ve had the title of a professional baseball player, but the minors are different from the big leagues. Minor leaguers don’t take private planes to each game. Instead, the team and coaches cram into a bus and travel from city to city.
College ball also lets Purke get comfortable with a team. College players don’t have to worry about getting promoted or demoted to a different league or traded to another organization. College teams grow closer.
Along with not being greedy, that is just plain smart.
Finally, choosing college over the pros will help him perfect his game. Head coach Jim Schlossnagle is no rookie to baseball. He’s produced major league players before and will continue to do so.
Purke is already performing well for the team. Currently, he has a 3-0 record, including this season’s only complete game for the Frogs, and leads the team with 48 strikeouts. He will be draft-eligible again in two years, and if his strikeout numbers hold up and he doesn’t suffer a devastating injury, don’t be surprised to see him picked first in the draft and break Strasburg’s record.
I am definitely envious of the perks he was offered, but you will never hear me call this Purke greedy.
Justin White is a senior broadcast journalism major from Richland Hills.