When the New York Mets made Old Mill's Ken Pumphrey their fourth-round draft pick in Thursday's amateur baseball draft, the 6-foot-5 right-hander became the third-highest player drafted in June in county history.
Drafted later were catcher Rich Spiegel of Northeast High and Anne Arundel Community College, Glen Burnie High left-hander Keith Volkman and Broadneck right-hander Sean Ryan.
Volkman, who did not have a great senior year but has good potential, was chosen on the 25th round by the Chicago Cubs. Ryan, a 6-foot-7 pitcher who went 8-3 this season, was selected in the 31st round by the Texas Rangers.
Spiegel, an All-Metro catcher in 1992, hit seven homers and drove in 38 runs for AACC this spring and was chosen Friday on the 22nd round by the Atlanta Braves.
"I'm very excited, so is everybody around here," said Spiegel, referring to his aunt and uncle, Dot and Bill Hornberger, with whom he has lived since high school. "It's been a long, hard road."
Braves regional scout Alex Smith was expected to talk business with Spiegel on Friday evening.
Mets supervisor Rob Coons plans to talk finances with Pumphrey this weekend. If Pumphrey doesn't sign, he says he may attend UMBC where he has given the Retrievers a verbal commitment.
Pumphrey, who consistently throws in the high 80s, ranks as a draft pick behind Jim Spencer of Andover High and Joe Andrezjewski of Chesapeake. Spencer, a first baseman who played 14 years in the majors, was the No. 1 pick of the California Angels in 1965.
Andrezjewski, a hard-throwing right-hander, was the Milwaukee Brewers' third-round pick in 1988. He later was released by Milwaukee, signed with the Orioles in 1993 and was released again.
Currently, Andrezjewski is doing missionary work in Europe but still thinking about professional baseball.
The June draft always has been the biggest, but at one time there was also a draft in January. It was limited to players previously drafted and eligible again, but no high school players were eligible.
Brooklyn Park's George Kazmarek, who played first base at Mount St. Joseph, was the Mets' first pick in January 1968 after dropping out of the University of Maryland to be drafted. Kazmarek, a power hitter, was the second pick in the nation.
Right-handed pitcher David Grier of Severna Park was Oakland's No. 1 pick in January 1978 and was chosen No. 1 again by Cleveland in the secondary phase (players previously drafted) in June 1978.
Neither Kazmarek nor Grier made it to the majors.
Pumphrey is in a select class and expects to discuss signing with the Mets this week.
"I'm going to wait for their offer and make a decision, but I'm in no rush to play pro baseball," said Pumphrey, an All-County pitcher who was 7-2 with 85 strikeouts in 51 1/3 innings for the Patriots this spring.
"Baseball is something I've always wanted to do down the line, but you can't do that forever. I need to get an education for what I will do the rest of my life."
Pumphrey was surprised that the Mets selected him.
"They didn't seem like they were that interested in me," said Pumphrey, who was ranked No. 77 in Baseball America's Top 100 Prospects for the pro draft.
"The Mets only talked to my dad [Mel] once this season and I really thought that either San Diego or Houston would draft me."
The Mets see a lot of potential in Pumphrey because of his velocity, size, loose body and arm speed. The Mets see him getting better and made him their second drafted pitcher behind 6-foot-5 right-hander Paul Wilson, the No. 1 pick in the nation.
Wilson is a 21-year-old from Florida State University currently pitching in the College World Series. He has been clocked at 95 mph.
It really says something about Pumphrey's potential that the Mets, who had the No. 1 pick each round, chose him as the 85th player overall.
Two former teammates of Pumphrey with Gunther's Little Orioles last year also were drafted: Northern (Calvert County) left-handed pitcher Kasey Richardson (16th round, Minnesota) and outfielder David Crutchfield (11th round, Chicago Cubs) of Richard Montgomery High in Rockville.
The third annual Friends of Joe Cannon High School Senior Baseball All-Star Game will be played at noon today at Cannon Stadium in Harmans.
Behind the mike to introduce the players (at least one player each from the 13 county baseball-playing high schools) will be Bill McCafferty of Pasadena.
McCafferty's work at the state finals last weekend was lauded by many after the fiasco that occurred in the semifinals. Two local announcers staged a "homer job" that drew criticism from many.