Major League Baseball finished the 50th round of its 2001 First-Year Player Draft on the afternoon of June 6.
When the San Francisco Giants made Central Missouri State pitcher Patrick McGinnis the 1,485th and final selection, Michigan senior captain Scott Tousa”s dreams of professional baseball came crashing down.
His name was never called.
But before Tousa could begin his post-baseball life, the phone rang. It was Mark Monahan, the Detroit Tigers” area scout. One hour after the draft ended, Tousa had agreed to terms with the Tigers.
Monahan was at Tousa”s door the next day, and Tousa filled out the necessary papers to bring him into the organization.
“It”s neat that I got to sign with the Tigers,” said Tousa, who is a native of Dallas. “I”ve been living here for four years watching those guys. But I am just glad that someone gave me a chance to play.”
Although Tousa has played both middle infield positions in the past for the Wolverines, the Tigers consider him to be a secondbase prospect.
“I am really happy for him,” Michigan coach Geoff Zahn said. “I felt really bad when he didn”t get drafted. But things worked out in the end.”
Tousa”s situation is commonly known as a “senior signed.” While the Tigers” scouts saw value in Tousa, the senior did not have the national appeal needed to warrant a draft choice.
Signing Tousa as a free agent also allows an organization to send him to its Single A club in Oneonta, N.Y. instead of the rookie league this season.
Tousa departed for Lakeland, Fla. yesterday. He will go through two weeks of workouts (hitting, fielding, 60-yard dashes etc.) with the other first-year players before a decision is made on where Tousa will play for the duration of the summer.
After his first summer of minor league baseball has ended, Tousa will return to Ann Arbor for fall semester. He plans on completing his degree in Communications at that time.
Michigan”s senior captain and thirdbaseman from 1999 Mike Cervenak followed a similar track. He joined the New York Yankees after being bypassed in the draft. He currently is hitting .310 for the Yankees Double A affiliate, the Norwich Navigators.
Tousa hit .325 this season for the Wolverines, but it was his defensive prowess and leadership abilities that set him apart. Tousa led Michigan with a .987 fielding percentage and 172 assists. He did not commit a single error during the Big Ten season.
This season, Zahn adopted a new system where captains, like Tousa, would carry additional responsibilities.
“That worked out great,” Tousa said. “We did whatever we could to help all the young guys on the team. We really felt like we were the leaders of the team.”
Tousa saw significant playing time in all four seasons at Michigan. He finished in the Wolverines” top 10 in at bats (fourth), hits (seventh) and runs scored (ninth).
“Playing at Michigan has been one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Tousa said.