Looking Back at the 1992 Draft: Hammonds Remembers

June 5, 2010

New York Times sports writer Tyler Kepner looked back at the 1992 Draft and the four players chosen ahead of University of Michigan's Derek Jeter. Part of that story, relating to Stanford outfielder, Jeffrey Hammonds appears here:

Finding Meaning
(From Tyler Kepner, NY Times Article on 1992 Draft)

Jeffrey Hammonds was the first player from the 1992 draft to reach the majors. He did it the next June 25, for the Orioles against the Yankees at Camden Yards.

Hammonds knew the game was being televised back home to Scotch Plains, N.J., and when he singled in his first at-bat, he met his childhood idol, Don Mattingly, at first base.

“What took you so long?” said Mattingly, who told Hammonds to tip his helmet to the crowd.

“I just wanted to look at Don and say, ‘Can I get something signed?’ ” Hammonds said. “That’s a memory that will never be duplicated.”

Hammonds was a star outfielder at Stanford who signed with the Orioles for $975,000, the biggest bonus of the draft class. His career was similar to Nevin’s: a .272 hitter for six teams over 13 seasons, Hammonds was an All-Star once, in 2000, and earned more than $30 million.

Now 39, Hammonds is a father of three living near Weston, Fla. His grandfather lived to be 101, he said proudly, and awoke every day determined to do something meaningful. Hammonds says his challenge is to do the same. He would like to help prospects or perhaps become active in the players’ union, and he is interested in working for a digital media company.

“It’s easy to contribute with money and say you’re part of something,” Hammonds said. “I really want to learn it.”

The only regret of his career, Hammonds said, is that he was not more thankful for all he had. Hammonds said he listened too much to his detractors, to the whispers that he was satisfied being a good player without the drive to be great. He laughs at the label now.

“I believe God has a plan for me, and I can still achieve that greatness,” Hammonds said. “Not to say that there’s anything wrong with being good at the major league level. If that’s my knock, woe is me, huh?”

Full Story at NYTimes.com Here

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