FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — In a brief moment Thursday night, all of Colby Suggs’ baseball dreams and aspirations came true.
As baseball Hall of Famer Andre Dawson, team executive of the Miami Marlins, spoke into the microphone announcing Suggs as the 73rd overall pick and the last pick of the second round, the waiting was over for the 21-year-old Sulphur Springs graduate and his family.
Suggs, a 6-foot junior right-handed pitcher for the Razorbacks, was the second Hog taken in the draft. Another pitcher, Ryan Stanek, went in the first round - pick No. 29 to Tampa Bay.
“When I heard I got picked, I just stood up - took a deep breath and started hugging people,” Suggs said. “I watched the draft on television at Arkansas with some team members and my family. It has been a crazy time. This is just awesome. I had talked with the Marlins scout and this just shows how highly they think of me. I am really excited about this new adventure.”
The newly dubbed professional baseball player said he has gotten a “ton of texts” from friends and well-wishers.
“Everyone is so excited. I am excited and relieved,” Suggs said. “I thought I was going to get the chance get drafted out of high school when I played at Sulphur Springs. But that did not happen. It was for the best. My three years at Arkansas have been great. The coaches have helped me improve and learn the game.”
“I am feeling great now and happy to be a Marlin,” Suggs said. “I will probably go to one of their minor league teams in Florida. Mostly likely the advanced Class A in Jupiter, Fla. Things will move very quickly. The deal with the team is just about worked out.”
Suggs said he is happy with the deal which also includes money for him to use to complete his college education.
“Getting a degree is important and I want to finish that,” Suggs said.
Suggs is a communications major, with aspirations toward radio or television sports broadcasting.
But right now Suggs is still living in Arkansas awaiting his assignment.
“The Marlins are a team rebuilding and I want to help. I feel like I can progress through the minor leagues,” Suggs said. “I have seen and competed with the teams in the SEC. I have gone against good competition. I think the Marlins made some good picks and the future is very bright with that franchise. I am ready for my new adventure in life.”
While Colby was sitting and waiting, he was surrounded by teammates and family.
Colby’s dad, Joe Suggs, described the scene.
“At the start, Colby was relaxed, he was cutting up, telling jokes,” Suggs said. “He was trying to make others feel relaxed. Then as it went on and got into the second round he got nervous. By the time his name was called, he was sitting on the edge of his chair. He was not joking. Then he got his name called and it was a big relief.”
Joe Suggs continued, “We had a celebration and some applause, but it quickly died down. We wanted to hear what the announcers on television were saying about him. Now we are just happy that is over. He has put in the work and the coaches at Arkansas the last few years have really helped him.”
The proud dad admitted watching his son pitch last year, he allowed himself to project Colby as a possible Major League pitcher.
“Colby impressed me last year and did well this season. But you don’t want to get caught up in all that and get carried away,” Suggs said. “I saw he had the ability to be a professional player. I always knew he had the desire for a long time.”
Suggs said he remembers his son in T-ball and the beginnings of his career at age five.
“We were always playing catch and hitting,” Suggs said. “He has the desire and has put in the work. Waiting on the draft and all that has been stressful on the family. But it’s a good stress. He is passionate about the game, he loves baseball.”
Suggs added, “I’m becoming a Marlins fan and I am going to get on the internet and read about them so I can talk intelligently about the Marlins. I feel like Colby will progress in their minor league system fairly quickly. Being drafted by a team which is not a top contender might be a good thing. I am just excited that he will get to continue playing baseball.”
Greg Owens, Sulphur Springs head football coach said,“Colby is an outstanding young man whose dream was to pitch for the Razorbacks and play professional ball. He is half way there. This is a great experience for him and his family. It is great seeing a young person's dreams become a reality. We wish him the very best and are so proud of the way he has represented Sulphur Springs High School. Colby’s got a pretty good resume: Texas State Football Championship, he’s pitched in College World Series and now is a pro baseball player.”
Wildcats head baseball coach Jerrod Hammack said, “I am very proud of Colby and happy for Colby and his family. Colby was blessed with a lot of talent; however, he has worked harder than anyone to develop that talent and he deserves the great things that are coming his way. Colby is a leader who plays the game the way it was meant to be played. It would not surprise me one bit to see Colby in the big leagues very soon. He is a fine young man with high character which, to me, is even more impressive.”
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