Sophomore third baseman Adam Abraham had a serious problem.
He was just too good at too many things.
When he was 16, Abraham, who excelled in both baseball and hockey at Grosse Pointe South High School, was courted by both collegiate baseball and minor league hockey teams.
In fact, when Michigan coach Rich Maloney was asked when he first noticed Abraham as a potential recruit, the usually mellow, easy-going manager interjected, “10th grade. We noticed him in tenth grade,” before the question was fully asked.
With a hint of excitement growing in his voice, Maloney knew it would be difficult to get Abraham to sign a letter of intent with the Wolverines.
“I knew that if Adam wanted to play baseball, Michigan could be a great place for him,” Maloney said. “I told his coach, ‘If Adam ever decides if he wants to play just baseball, he’s welcome here.’ ”
The problem for Maloney wasn’t whether Abraham could play baseball at Michigan, it was whether Abraham wanted to play baseball at all.
After his sophomore year of high school, Abraham decided to take his talent to the next level, but unfortunately for Maloney and the Wolverines, Abraham’s decision didn’t involve baseball.
Mississuaga IceDogs, a Major Junior “A” Tier I hockey team, became his new team. And with that, Abraham packed up and moved away from his cozy home in the Detroit suburbs to Mississauga, Ontario.
He officially became an IceDog in time for the 2003 season, leaving his friends, family and baseball behind.
The move had an immediate payoff. Abraham quickly showed why he belonged in the league. As a defenseman, the Grosse Pointe Park native earned a spot on the All-Rookie second team, recording 24 points in just 64 games.
And that was just for starters. Abraham scorched through his second season with the IceDogs and soon found himself on the shortlist of candidates vying for positions in the upcoming 2005 NHL Draft.
Abraham said most draft boards projected him to be picked in the fifth or sixth round. That is, until he had a change of heart.
“I spent two years there, played hockey and was looking to play hockey in the NHL,” Abraham said. “But then some things happened, and I decided after a while that I wanted to play baseball at Michigan.”
Although Abraham didn’t delve into what caused his change of heart, but his decision to enter the world of collegiate baseball came in the heat of the 2004-2005 NHL lockout.
After a two-year hiatus from the game, could he still play baseball at a high level of competition?
“We were throwing every day,” Abraham said. “And I was expected to do some stuff in the field and pitch, during that first fall-ball season here. For that whole year I could feel it in my arm, especially in the fall and winter.”
Once 2006 spring season came, Abraham was again used to the rigors of the game. Although he admitted he was a little behind some of his teammates in training, you couldn’t tell once the regular season began.
Abraham hit his full stride just when the team needed him to, taking matters into his own hands when Michigan found itself in the loser’s bracket of the Big Ten Tournament. With his hot bat and ferocious pitching, Abraham collected the Tournament MVP award and a Big Ten Championship ring.
“He’s just cool as nails,” Maloney said. “I think that hockey experience really helped him, because he has no fear.”
Who knows where Abraham could be if he would have continued to play hockey? For him, the answer doesn’t matter.
“I had a great time when I was playing hockey,” Abraham said. “I don’t regret going there or coming here. . In the end I, decided that getting a good education and playing baseball here was a better idea.”