While the first-round selections of Mark Appel, Jonathan Gray and Kris Bryant were certainly exciting moments of this year’s MLB Draft, easily the best and most inspiring moment came not in the first round, but in the 34th, when the Arizona Diamondbacks drafted the paralyzed former high school standout, Cory Hahn.
Formerly drafted in the 26th round by the San Diego Padres back in 2010, Hahn had always dreamed of going to college so he chose to delay his professional career. Instead, the former “California’s Mr. Baseball” award winner, decided to play baseball at Arizona State University.
It was a decision that forever altered his life and all but shattered any chance he ever had of joining a major league baseball roster again.
In just his third game with the Sun Devils, Hahn, who had batted .411 in his final year of high school with a 14-1 record on the mound, reached base safely in the first inning of a game against New Mexico. With Hahn on first and one of his teammates on second, the coach called for a double steal.
Hahn slid into the bag but collided with the second baseman on the way. It caused a freak accident and devastatingly left the former high school star paralyzed from the chest down.
And for many players, this would have been it. Depression, denial, heartbreak; that all would have set in. Any player in that situation would have been shattered, watching their dream fade away without any ability to save it.
But Hahn wasn’t just any player and like the inspirational Eric LeGrand, the Rutgers football star who was paralyzed making a tackle, Hahn never gave up. He refused to listen to the prognosis that he would never walk again and put all of his effort into rehabilitation. While he still is unable to walk, Hahn’s spirit has not wavered and it is clear it never will.
Just like LeGrand did when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drafted him in a touching gesture back in 2012, Hahn saw his dream realized as the Diamondbacks made him their 34th round pick.
It wasn’t a coincidence but rather an incredibly touching gesture. In his short time at ASU, Hahn proudly wore the No. 34 on his jersey.
While there is no guarantee that Hahn will ever walk again, let alone step on the baseball diamond, his story is inspiring and the fact that the Diamondbacks chose to draft him, tells us that sometimes organizations do put the player ahead of the dollar signs.
So with the 1,020th pick in the 34th round of the 2013 MLB Draft, the Arizona Diamondbacks made Cory Hahn the happiest person in the world and reminded us all that we should never give up on a dream, no matter how impossible it might seem.