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Baseball: Gaynor highest pick in Tops’ history

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Baseball: Gaynor highest pick in Tops’ history

WKU third baseman taken in third round by Detroit Tigers

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wade Gaynor waited years to be picked by a Major League Baseball team. When his time finally came, he never even heard his name called.

The Western Kentucky third baseman and his immediate family were watching the first day of the MLB First-Year Player Draft online Tuesday when Gaynor decided he’d had enough. So he stepped outside his home in Hancock County - but when he did, he was promptly selected by the Detroit Tigers in the third round, No. 89 overall.

“I walked outside because I got tired of watching all these other names get picked,” Gaynor said. “Mom came running out and yelling and I knew somebody took me and she said Detroit.”

In being picked by the Tigers in the third round, Gaynor made some Western Kentucky history. According to WKU sports information officials, he’s the highest draft pick in school history. WKU baseball has produced a pair of fourth-round picks and a fifth-round selection.

Gaynor batted .371 with 25 home runs and 78 RBIs. He also had 21 stolen bases and became the first Hilltopper in school history to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in a season.

“I don’t have words to really explain it - God has blessed my life in unbelievable ways,” Gaynor said. “I’ve been telling everybody since I was about 3 years old that I was going to be a pro baseball player. And today it finally happened.”

It made for a long day in the Gaynor household, but also for an easier night’s sleep.

Only the first three rounds of the draft were held Tuesday. Rounds 4 to 30 are scheduled today.

Just before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Gaynor heard that he had been selected. Gaynor estimated more than 20 family members joined him to celebrate after he was picked.

“It’s a huge relief,” Gaynor said. “I was praying all day. I’d much rather go to sleep tonight knowing rather than not knowing where I’d be tomorrow.”

Gaynor had reason to believe the Tigers were interested him.

He returned to Kentucky on Monday after a workout with the Tigers’ organization.

It was his final workout before the draft. After WKU’s season ended on June 1 in the NCAA Tournament at Ole Miss, Gaynor also worked out for the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees.

“I had it narrowed down to four teams and every time it came time for them to pick, it could be my name,” Gaynor said. “The Tigers were one of them. I had a good workout with them, probably my best workout, with them.”

Now Gaynor waits for a contract to be finalized with the Tigers.

According to Gaynor, his adviser, Nashville’s Hunter Bledsoe, said working out a contract “shouldn’t be a problem at all.”

From there, he’ll attend a mini-camp of sorts for draft picks, then get shipped to a minor league organization. Gaynor speculated it’d be the Short-Season A Oneonta (N.Y.) Tigers in the New York-Penn League.

“It’s just a dream come true,” Gaynor said. “This is something special.”

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