Tucson Padres: Reminiscing of draft days past

For Pads manager, 1 moment stood apart from others
2013-06-07T00:00:00Z 2013-06-07T09:33:37Z Tucson Padres: Reminiscing of draft days pastDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 07, 2013 12:00 am  • 

The Arizona State Sun Devils were just a few outs away from the chance to play for the 1998 College World Series championship when then head coach Pat Murphy learned one of his outfielders, Rudy Arguelles, had been drafted.

Arguelles laced a hit to the outfield and Murphy, coaching third base, called timeout and trotted across the field for a chat with his outfielder.

"I said, 'Hey, way to swing the bat and, by the way, the Angels just drafted you,'" said Murphy, now the manager of the Tucson Padres. "His eyes welled up. It was real special."

The former ASU coach had told countless players they had been drafted, but Arguelles, drafted in the 47th round, was a special case. He was a 25-year-old who had gone back to college after three years of working on the docks.

"That's probably the one I remember the most," said Murphy before Tucson's 9-3 loss to Sacramento on Thursday night at Kino Stadium.

In baseball, everyone has at least one good draft story.

With the first two rounds of the 2013 draft completed Thursday and eight more scheduled for today, the Star chatted with members of the Padres to hear their stories.

Catcher John Baker

When he was drafted: Fourth round, 2002, by the Oakland Athletics

In his own words: "I went to college at Cal Berkeley. I was a walk-on there, so going in, I didn't have high expectations. I just figured I'd go to school for four years, play some baseball and then go to law school. But my junior year, the day before the draft, I got a call from the A's scout in the area. He said, 'Hey the A's are interested in taking you in the draft tomorrow, but we'd like to see you take batting practice one more time. Is there any way you can come to the Oakland Coliseum tonight?'

"I got in the car with my dad and headed down. It was one of my first times on a major-league field so I was just trying to hit home runs the whole time. I swung the bat pretty well and got a call that night and they asked if I was available in the fourth round, would I sign for the slot recommendation? I said absolutely. It was my hometown team. The team I grew up watching, going to dollar Wednesday games. I was a huge A's fan my entire life.

"The next day, I was eating breakfast with my then girlfriend, now wife, and I got the call I had been picked by them. I had a good season and won the batting title in the Pac-10, but I just never intended for that to happen.

"It was a dream come true. It was something I'll never forget."

Outfielder Jaff Decker

When he was drafted: First round (No. 42 overall), 2008, by the San Diego Padres

In his own words: "I had a bunch of friends and family over and I was watching it on ESPN when I got drafted. It was one of the better feelings I've ever had.

"I'm from Peoria and went to Sunrise Mountain High School, so when I signed a week later, I showed up to the Padres complex, which was just down the street. Getting acquainted to pro ball was easy for me. I was still getting home-cooked meals and staying at home all summer.

"I had no idea San Diego was drafting me. A couple of teams had called me a couple of picks before. I found out when they called my name on TV. Oakland, the Dodgers, the Mets, they were all hard after me. Then the Padres took me at 42.

"My dad missed my name being announced because he went outside to move some cars. But he said he opened the front door and shut it and I got picked and the door started moving because everyone was yelling and crying and all that stuff. I was starting to get a little stressed out because the picks were going later and later, but my family got me off the couch before it really hit me that I was picked. It was a great day."

Up next

• What: Padres at Sacramento

• When: 7:05 p.m.

• Radio: 1290-AM

¡Tus Padres!

• Highlight: The Padres (33-27) fell into second place in the PCL Pacific Southern Division with a seven-run loss to the first-place River Cats. The two teams came into the game tied for first, but Tucson fell to 1-4 against Sacramento this season. River Cats second baseman Grant Green was 2 for 6 in the win, with a three-run home run in the eighth. Starter Sonny Gray earned the win, tossing 6 2/3 innings and giving up two runs.

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at dberk@azstarnet.com or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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