I will start a new series detailing times a East Coast baseball player has been drafted by a Major League organization.
Imagine being drafted by your favourite teams arch rival? This happened to Joel Irvine back in 1991. Irvine, a Dartmouth native, was a huge Red Sox fan but was drafted in the 74th round (1550th overall) by the New York Yankees. Irvine played junior college baseball at Des Moines Area Community College in Boone, Iowa that spring. He was drafted as a catcher, but also played in the outfield. As a catcher, he hit almost .300 with five home runs.
Irvine, who was 19 at the time, received word that he was drafted by telegram, after all this was 1991. Irvine would later play several seasons with the Dartmouth Moosehead Dry of the Nova Scotia Senior Baseball League. His first NSSBL season came in 1990, when he was a member of the Dry’s Nova Scotia and Atlantic championship teams.
Some quotes from Irvine about the draft:
- “The Red Sox are the Yankees arch enemy, but I could become a Yankees’ fan real fast”.
- “I’m kind of ecstatic, but I’m trying to keep it low key”.
- “I was told I had a good camp, but I’ve only had one year catching and catching is one of those positions you just can’t learn it in a day. It takes years and years of practice”. He has attended an evaluation camp just two weeks prior to the draft. The quote also gives some solid advice to all young catchers out there.
- “I figure if they drafted me on Wednesday, it was pretty late (The draft started on a Monday). But still, just getting drafted is pretty good”.
Unfortunately, Irvine would never sign with the Yankees. He would later play NCAA Division 1 baseball at the University of Toledo, a member of the Mid-American Conference. As a member of the Dry he would win the 1997 and 2010 NSSBL batting titles. He would win MVP awards in 1997, 2003, 2007 & 2010. Irvine would also be NSSBL home run champion in both 1997 & 2007 (sharing the title on both occasions). He would add RBI titles in 2007, 2009 & 2011. Irvine would also lead the league in stolen bases from 1995 to 1997 and from 2000 to 2004.
The next time the Yankees drafted an Atlantic Canadian was Jake Sanford in 2019.