AACC catcher Spiegel eagerly awaiting his draft notice

SIDELINES

June 01, 1994|By PAT O'MALLEY

Earlier this spring at Anne Arundel Community College, catcher Rich Spiegel was taking off his gear when a reporter approached him.

"I'm ready to go, right now" were the first words out of his mouth.

Spiegel, a former All-Metro catcher at Northeast in 1992 with seven homers and 38 RBIs his senior year, was coming to the end of his second season at Anne Arundel Community College.

Thoughts of being drafted by a major-league club have been foremost in his mind for two years and if anybody ever deserved to get picked, Spiegel does.

The first day of the major-league baseball free-agent draft is tomorrow and Spiegel is hoping to hear some good news. It would be a just reward for a guy who has paid his dues.

"I think I'm going to get a chance to go from what some of the scouts have told me," said Spiegel. "I really want to play pro ball."

Spiegel wants to play so badly that two years ago after gaining almost 40 pounds his senior year, he went out and ran the weight off. He took to heart the words of Anne Arundel coach Clayton Jacobson.

"Mr. Jacobson was honest with me and told me straight up," said Spiegel, who is playing in the Washington-area Clark Griffith Wood Bat League for college players while awaiting the draft.

"He did not beat around the bush and told me if I wanted to play pro ball, I had to work hard to get the weight off and, also, that I had to be a better student than I was in high school," said Spiegel, who embarked on an intense running program and improved eating habits to go from 235 pounds to 200 on his 6-foot frame.

In his first year at Anne Arundel, Spiegel hit over .300 with three homers and 20 RBIs and maintained a grade-point average of nearly 2.5 with Jacobson looking over his shoulder.

This year has been unforgettable. Spiegel batted .380 with seven homers, 36 RBIs and a state JuCo record 43 walks, and he put up some big numbers in the classroom.

"I don't think I've ever seen a student so proud as when he hurried in to show me his report card," said Jacobson. "His eyes and smile were so big that I will never forget it. This is a kid a lot of people didn't think would succeed and he did."

Spiegel put up a 3.60 GPA this year and finished his two years at the community college with an overall 2.80.

"I haven't seen many work as hard as Rich did to stay eligible," said Baltimore Orioles scouting supervisor Jim Gilbert.

Spiegel did well Monday in an invitation-only pre-draft camp conducted by the San Diego Padres and regional scout Jerry Wargo and several clubs reportedly have put him on their list.

Other Marylanders who may get a call this week are Old Mill right-hander Ken Pumphrey, who some say could go in the first seven rounds, and Spiegel's former Northeast and AACC teammate, outfielder Craig Everett.

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