Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Zimmerman, Wright & Upton--Teammates

As amazing as it seems today, 6 years ago, during their High School Days in the Tidewater/Virginia Beach, Virginia area--Ryan Zimmerman, David Wright and BJ Upton all played one summer for the same Semi-Pro Tidewater Mets All Star team that toured against top ranked competition. For 3 players of this caliber to play together is not a common occurrence. You might see this more in Southern California, Texas or Florida, where you can play year round, but VIRGINIA!?? Not Common. I played on a Alexandria, Virginia High School Team (T.C. Williams) in 1976 that sent 9 of its 13 players to college and 3 to the pros (myself, my brother and a 3rd teammate) but none of us made the Big Leagues--Although, in the same '76 Season, Mike Brown, then from Marshall High in Tysons Corner was drafted in the first round and did pitch for Boston and other teams for quite a few seasons. Later, Brown became a pitching coach. His brother, Bill is the LONG TIME George Mason University Baseball Coach. Sorry for the disgression. Anyway,Zimmerman, from Kellam High School, went undrafted out of High School before going on to star and develop his game at The University Of Virginia. David Wright attended Hickory High School in Chesapeake, Virginia and BJ Upton graduated from Great Bridge High School, also in Chesapeake. These 3 players, 2 on the fast track to stardom with Upton the heir apparent star shortstop for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays grew up playing against each other their entire youth days. When they played for the barnstorming Tidewater Mets, Upton batted 3rd, playing shortstop, Wright batted cleanup and played the hot corner, while Zimmerman, tall, lanky and not filled out yet in size, mostly played second base, switching occasionally with Upton. All were drafted in the first round, Wright in 2001, Upton 2002 and Z in 2005. The Tidewater Mets only lost one game that summer these 3 played together. Interestingly, Nationals Lefthander, Bill Bray, is also from Virginia Beach, but played high school ball at Ocean Lakes, with prep career games against all 3 of the above players. Says alot about Tidewater area baseball. David Wright is arguably the BEST ALL AROUND PLAYER IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE--I would take him over any player today to start a team, even Albert Pujols. Zimmerman has had a terrific first half season of rookie Major League Baseball and is on pace to be a GREAT PLAYER. Upton has all the tools, but the Devil Rays have been slow to bring him on board. Should be in the Majors by September. 10 years from now, it would be interesting to look back to see if there were, at one time, 3 potential Hall Of Fame players on the same Prep Team. That would be PHENOMENAL!!

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