Weston Retiree Was Drafted Before Derek Jeter

It's the second day of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, which must bring a wave of nostalgia for a Weston retiree named Jeffrey Hammonds. Eighteen years ago, he was the Stanford University outfielder selected as the fourth pick in the draft. Two picks later, the New York Yankees picked some guy named Derek Jeter.

Hammonds and the five other players picked in front of Jeter are the subject of a terrific article in the New York Times. A native of Plainfield, New Jersey, Hammonds would be the first in that draft class to make the majors.

He had a 13-year career and one appearance in an All-Star game, so it would be wrong to call Hammonds a "flop." But like 99 percent of baseball players, Hammonds' is a flop compared to Jeter.

From the interview, it sounds like Hammonds is getting restless, now five years removed from retirement, and that he'd like to get involved in coaching or scouting. Hammond's only 39 years old, and if he put away any of the $30 million-plus he made during his career, he should be in no hurry to rejoin the work force.

However bittersweet it may be for Hammonds to have his career compared with Jeter's, he was lucky in comparison to two other players selected before the Yankees shorstop -- B.J. Wallace, who was derailed by injuries, and Chad Mottola, who played only 59 games in the big leagues.

Hammonds' only regret is that he wasn't "more thankful" for his opportunity. Mottola, on the other hand:

"The only thing I regret is not taking steroids, as bad as it sounds," he said.

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Thomas Francis