I spent a fascinating All-Star game in Covington talking to a scout. One of the topics of conversation was a ballplayer's appearance. Does a player's appearance or attitude, I asked, sometimes affect how he is rated by scouts? The scout didn't think so, really, but his next comment was telling: "Why risk it?" My thought exactly. If a mohawk and five earrings, for example, might keep one from being drafted, why show the "individuality?"
Our #11 hitter, Liberty's Jeff Jefferson, doesn't have this problem. He's as straight-laced and humble as they come. Everything with this young man is "Yes, sir," or "No, sir." The couple times I talked to him, he shook my hand and looked me in the eye.
Oh, by the way- he can hit a little bit, too. Probably the most consistent performer in the Luray lineup, the rising sophomore hit 307/365/490 in 192 at-bats, with 8 doubles, 9 home runs, 38 runs, 29 RBI, and a 9/33 BB/K ratio for the Wranglers. These numbers do not reflect the two home run game in the exhibition game against Vienna, either. The media recognized Jeff at the end of the season, naming him an All-League first teamer in the outfield.
At the aforementioned All-Star game, Jeff took another award: Home Run Derby Champion. Of the feat, he said, "Winning the home run derby was unexpected. This summer was the first time I had ever swung a wooden bat and I didn't know how I would react to the transition."
Jeff came into the season with modest goals. He said, " I was hoping to hit over .300 and develop my swing into a better one." I would say that he accomplished his goals.
I don't know what Jeff's future might hold in baseball, but with his attitude towards others and hard work, he'll be a success in whatever he might choose to do. (Picture below by Haymarket Joe Cashwell)