WESTMINSTER — Most sports fans are familiar with the National Football League draft as well as the National Basketball Association draft. But what about the major-league baseball draft?
The Thomson family of Westminster knows all about it.
In 1987, Scott Thomson was drafted by the Boston Red Sox after his senior year at Westminster High School.
He declined the Red Sox offer, worth about $40,000, and accepted a full baseball scholarship at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.
Now, four years later, it's again time to wait for a phone call from a major-league team.
The draft will begin tomorrow and run through Wednesday. Scott is expecting a call to come on Tuesday.
The baseball draft is differentfrom others in many ways.
Because players right out of high school are drafted along with junior college students and college juniors and seniors, selections made after the first round are not publicizedunless and until they are signed.
This enables teams to talk withhigh school players they have scouted and learn whether they plan toattend college or go professional.
"Coming out of high school, I was recruited (by colleges) in both football and baseball as well as being drafted by the Red Sox," said Thomson, 22, who is majoring in physical education.
"I knew if sports would be a future in my life it would be baseball, so once I canceled out football I concentrated on finding a school with a good baseball program and it turned out tobe Old Dominion."
The Red Sox had first rights to claim him afterhis junior year but didn't, thus allowing Thomson to re-enter this year's draft after earning his second straight All-Sun Belt team selection by hitting .385 with 10 homers and 55 runs batted in.
All thewhile, Scott's parents, Steven and Janice, have supported him and his younger sister, Staci -- who plays field hockey and will be graduating from Westminster this month.
Sports is simply a way of life with the Thomsons.
"Sports has made them better individuals," Janicesaid of the two. "They've learned about winning and losing, being friends and making friends, and it has really helped in their process of growing up."
The fact is the Thomsons have been around sports all their lives.
Steven was a member of the soccer, basketball and track teams at North Carroll High School (they didn't have baseball and football at that time) before playing football, basketball and baseball while earning a degree in physical education and health at Bethany College in Kansas.
After a two-year stint teaching at Westminster Junior High after graduating, Steven was the head baseball coach and assistant football coach at William Jewel College for five years while he attained his master's degree.
The family returned to Carroll County in 1977, when he started coaching football, basketball and baseball at Westminster High.
"Scott was around it (sports) all the time. He traveled with the college baseball team when I coached andthere was the father thing of playing in the backyard. I also had the opportunity to coach him in football," Steven said.
Staci first became involved as a cheerleader for one of her older brother's teamsand then went on to play basketball and softball at Westminster before concentrating on field hockey.
"Field hockey is more competitive around here than the other sports," said Staci, 17, who will be attending Catawba College in Salisbury, N.C., this fall on a partial field hockey scholarship.
"My field hockey coach here had relatives who went there and when I found out they had my major -- CommunicationArts -- I became interested."
It will be tough for mom and dad seeing their last child leave the nest.
"With our youngest one off to college, our lives are going to change dramatically -- it's really going to be hard," Janice said.
One thing's for sure -- Scott and Staci can always count on their parents being behind them all the way.
"When you can look in the stands and see your parents and other family, it's a great feeling," Scott said. "A very special feeling."