Shepherd University consistently puts competitive athletic teams into competition. To do that, teams have to be able to recruit and sign some of the best athletes that do not head off to Division I institutions. In baseball’s regard, enter alumnus Nathan Minnich.
Minnich no longer competes for Shepherd. That is because this past June he was selected in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. The Boston Red Sox selected the Waynesboro, Pa., native in the 8th round. The first baseman spent much of the season in Lowell, Mass., playing for the Lowell Spinners.
Last year, Minnich told boston.com, “A lot of people were hoping I’d get picked up by the Nationals,” said Minnich. “I was like, ‘Boston does have a team that will go there and play and you will get an opportunity to come and watch me.’” In fact, before the draft, the Nationals’ minor league affiliate, the Hagerstown Suns, honored the Tino Martinez Award winner (Division II Player of the Year) by having him out to sign autographs. He expected it to only take 30 to 45 minutes but ended up only watching about an inning of the game.
During the past football season, Minnich was given a tremendous honor. During halftime of the football team’s victory over Fairmont, he had his number retired. Therefore, no Rams player will ever wear the number 34 on the baseball diamond at Shepherd ever again. No doubt, having a number retired is a tremendous honor.
As February approaches, you may very well begin to hear about pitchers and catchers getting ready to report to spring training. Not long after, the entire squads will report. Minnich will head down to Fort Myers, Fla., for about a month and a half before learning where he will begin the 2013 season. Nathan is around campus right now and can often be seen working out in the Wellness Center. If you see him, be sure to wish him luck.