Rich Hill decides to stay at Michigan

BY STEVE JACKSON
Daily Sports Writer
Published September 9, 2001

Many students chose to attend the Classical Civilization 372 lecture on Friday morning.

Paul Wong
Michigan left-hander Rich Hill chose to stay and play at Michigan for another year. He was 3-5 with a 3.84 ERA last season<br><br>Courtesy of the Michigan Athletic Department

But for Michigan pitcher Rich Hill, that choice was a life altering decision.

In Major League Baseball, a team loses the rights to a draft choice as soon as the player attends a college class in the fall.

Hill was drafted by the Anaheim Angels in the 7th round (210th overall) in June"s First-Year Player Draft.

Hill decided against attending his classes on Wednesday and Thursday last week while his contract negotiations continued.

Talks continued until late on Thursday night. But in the end, the Angels" offer just wasn"t enough to lure Hill away from the Wolverines.

"I just didn"t feel comfortable starting my professional career with that amount of money," Hill said. "We were really close. Just a little more and we would have been in my comfort range."

Hill would not disclose any of the figures from the negotiations, but did say that the contract was going to last for three years.

Despite the unsuccessful talks, Hill harbors no ill feelings for Anaheim.

"The Angels are a great organization," Hill said. "They treat their players well. They are a first-class team."

During the negotiation process, Hill received a lot of help from his advisor, Jack Tossey.

"We had a lot of guys call, wanting to represent me if I signed," Hill said.

Tossey currently represents former Michigan State Spartan and current Oakland Athletic"s star pitcher Mark Mulder.

Michigan fans should expect one and only one more season from Hill.

"If things go well next year, and I get a good situation, then I probably won"t be back," Hill said.

Returning for a senior year could cripple Hill chances at a large contract.

"When you are a graduated senior, you have no leverage," Hill explained. "You basically just have to take what they offer you."

Returning for his junior season will make it easier for Hill to get his degree. After next season he will need just 34 credits to graduate.

"I thought about that a lot," Hill said. "Graduating is important to me."

Hill is majoring in Sports Management and Communication in the School of Kinesiology.

As a sophomore last season, Hill went 3-5 with a 3.84 ERA in 10 starts for the Wolverines. He led the team with 72 strikeouts in just 43 innings pitched, but also gave up a team-high 53 walks.

After June"s draft, Hill pitched in the Cape Cod league, which has produced major leaguers like Boston Red Sox"s shortstop Nomar Garciaparra. Hill had a 1-2 record with a 1.91 ERA in 33 innings.

Hill"s former teammate, pitcher Bobby Wood, opted to leave school early when he was signed by the New York Yankees this past June.