A Dubuque native is pursuing his dream to play baseball in the Major Leagues.  Tommy Specht who recently graduated from Wahlert High School in Dubuque was drafted by the Texas Rangers with the 169th pick in the 6th round of today's Major League Draft.

Specht at 6-foot 3 and 200 pounds spent time with the Clinton Lumberjacks of the summer collegiate Prospects League.  He batted .262 and went 11-32 with 4 doubles and 9 RBI in 11 games.

PHOTO CREDIT USA BASEBALL
PHOTO CREDIT USA BASEBALL
loading...

For as long as I can remember, as a kid, I too dreamed of playing baseball in the Major Leagues. I did play summer little league for several summers spending time as a pitcher and left fielder. Needless to say at 4 foot 9 and 94 pounds as a freshman, I was way too small to have a chance at the Major Leagues.  But that never stopped me from trying. I would play catch every chance I got.  If I couldn't find someone to play with, I would practice throwing a rubber ball against the cement wall at my house. (I'm sure my Mom loved the constant "bang" as the ball would hit the side of our front porch.  I would even throw the ball at weird angles to practice catching from every direction and every position.

And I didn't just play with a hardball.  I'd play with softballs, whiffle balls, anything that would get me out on the ball diamond. If we didn't have enough players for 2 full teams, we'd close off right field (it was a foul ball if you hit there) and play 3 on 3 or 4 on 4.  if we had an odd number, one of us would be "all-time" pitcher.  That way everyone got to play. I watched baseball every chance I got.  I also read baseball books.  I wanted to do anything and everything I could to help make my Major League Dream come true.

If I could have made the big leagues on pure desire, I would have made it.  But I just didn't have the skills or physique to make it to the BIG SHOW.  The closest I came was playing the Team of Dreams at the Field of Dreams in Dyersville.  The highlight of those games was meeting Hall of Famer Cal Ripken

attachment-KEN WITH CAL RIPKEN
loading...

As a Baltimore Orioles fan (that's a story for another time), I was stoked to meet Cal.  I was really looking forward to playing on the same infield with Cal, but the game got rained out that year so I had to settle for a picture and an autographed ball.

Congrats to Tommy Specht for being drafted by the Rangers.  Hopefully, we'll see him at the BIG SHOW sometime soon.

Iowa Born Sports Stars

What do each of these stellar athletes have in common? They all hail from the Hawkeye State.