John Mayberry, Jr.
April 19, 2005
|John Mayberry, Jr.|
It seems like just yesterday when John Mayberry, Jr. was a fresh-faced and very highly touted youngster on the Stanford Baseball team. Now, he is nearing the end of his third season with the Cardinal and one of the team's most experienced veterans.
'As they say, time flies when you're having fun, and I've had a lot of fun during my three seasons here at Stanford,' says Mayberry. 'With all of things going on, it makes you focus on other things besides time.'
Indeed, a lot has gone on for Mayberry since he arrived on The Farm back in the fall of 2002. He immediately jumped into the team's starting lineup in his rookie collegiate season in 2003, earning Freshman All-American honors from Collegiate Baseball while hitting .299 with four homers, 33 RBI and five stolen bases. Stanford won the Pac-10 title and advanced all the way to the inaugural College World Series Championship Series before dropping two-of-three games to CWS champ Rice.
Mayberry's freshman campaign was only a sign of bigger and better things to come. He had a very productive sophomore season, drilling 16 homers and driving in 62 runs to go with a .333 batting average and nine stolen bases to earn First Team All Pac-10 honors. The Cardinal won its second straight Pac-10 title and spent most of the season ranked No. 1 but was upset by Long Beach State in NCAA Regional action.
Despite a sophomore season that ended sooner than he had wished, Mayberry didn't stay idle long, spending the summer of 2004 playing for Team USA along with current Stanford teammates Jed Lowrie and Mark Romanczuk.
'Playing for Team USA was one of the most gratifying experiences in my lifetime,' remembers Mayberry, who helped lead the Americans to an 18-7 record and the FISU World University Baseball title. 'To wear USA across my chest was such a privilege.'
The privilege of watching Mayberry's powerful stroke at the plate and slick defensive abilities in the field has continued this year as he is having another solid season with a .338 batting average, five homers and 40 RBI, while fielding at a .997 clip. But Cardinal fans also realize that the inevitable is drawing near when Mayberry, ranked No. 12 by Baseball America on the list of top prospects for the 2005 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft this June, will take his talent to the professional ranks.
Stanford can be thankful it wasn't quite as inevitable as many thought it was nearly three years ago when Mayberry kept the Cardinal faithful waiting until the last minute before choosing to attend Stanford rather than sign a professional baseball contract with the Seattle Mariners.
'My goals have not changed,' explains Mayberry, who was the highest selection in the 2002 MLB First-Year Player Draft (first round, 28th pick overall) to attend a four-year college. 'I still want to be a professional baseball player, but I just took a different route.'
It's a route he can look back at now and be happy he chose.
He's made tons of friends with former and current teammates, had interactions with all sorts of interesting people he may never have met during long bus rides in the minor leagues, and is on track to graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science this December.
Mayberry also thinks that the intensity of the Stanford Baseball program has helped him prepare for what lies ahead in professional baseball.
'I'm definitely a better ballplayer now than I was three years ago,' he says. 'I've been able to make a lot of progress from a developmental standpoint. I also feel that I'll be more prepared mentally for baseball on a daily basis.'
Before the inevitable occurs and Mayberry applies the lessons he has learned at Stanford to the next level, he would love to provide Stanford fans with one more thrill.
'Despite our struggles this season, the goal has never changed,' explains Mayberry. 'We expect to win every game, get to Omaha and win a national championship. We can't feel sorry for ourselves just because we may have underachieved by Stanford standards to this point. We have the makings of a great team and the ability to put a run together that would get us back to Omaha.'
That would be almost like time standing still.
by Kyle McRae