Former Wartburg pitcher Brad Watson is getting the chance to live out one of his childhood dreams. Watson, an Urbandale native, was selected in the 37th round of the Major League Baseball draft by the St. Louis Cardinals earlier this week. Watson says that while he’s always dreamt about playing professional baseball, he knew the odds were against him as a small-school player.
Watson says he’s always had the dream, and as the years moved on he determined if he kept working and pushing himself he would get the opportunity. Watson says that he had been in contact with the Cardinals for the past couple years and he knew that he was one of the players they were thinking about drafting.
He says he had the opportunity to go for a tryout at Busch Stadium and he says the Cardinals were hoping someone didn’t pick him before they did. Watson is the first Wartburg player to be selected in the draft since Virgil Erickson in 1970, who was also taken by the Cardinals coincidentally.
Watson says he hopes to show other players that it is possible to go from the Iowa Conference to the professional ranks. He says his pitching coach said it has been a long time since someone has been drafted from and Iowa Conference school. Watson says he is glad to be an example that you can do it if you work hard.
Watson leaves for the Cardinals’ training camp in Florida on Saturday. He says that being a professional baseball player probably won’t sink in until he cashes his first paycheck. He says he has been answering calls of congratulations since being drafted.
Watson is a right-handed pitcher who was named the Iowa Conference’s “pitcher of the year” this spring and also received first-team All-Region honors from the American Baseball Coaches Association.
By Jesse Gavin KCNZ Cedar Falls