When the Angels were in town playing the Tigers and I saw Hank Conger in the lineup, he seemed familiar to me. After a little thinking and research, Conger was familiar to me because he was a highly thought of prospect in the Angels organization. I’m not sure how I knew that, but I watch a lot of baseball, and read just about anything related to the game.
Anyway, I was correct. Conger was a first round pick of the Angels in 2006. Before the draft he made a deal with his Mom. If he was not drafted in the first round, he would accept his full ride scholarship to USC. If he was selected in the first round, he’d play professional baseball. Well the Angles selected him with the 25th pick in the first round.
In June 2006, shortly after graduating from Huntington Beach High School and just before the First-Year Player Draft, Hank Conger struck a deal with his mother: If he didn’t get picked up in the first round, he’d accept his full ride to the University of Southern California, and — for the time being — put aside his dreams of professional baseball.
“They don’t pick up high-school catchers in the first round,” Conger’s mom, Eun, said, laughing as she recalled her thought process at the time. “In my mind, I was thinking, ‘OK, you’re going to school.'”
And then, with the 25th overall selection — six picks before the first round came to an end — the Angels took a chance on the switch-hitting backstop.
Eun, born and raised in South Korea until immigrating to the U.S. in 1986, came from a culture that preaches studying hard, going to college, obtaining a degree and ultimately working a normal 9-to-5 job.
Draft night brought mixed emotions.
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“God, I love baseball.” – Roy Hobbs | The Natural