Normally, a 34th round draft pick would hardly merit notice. But Saturday, the Arizona Diamondbacks selected Cory Hahn, an unexpected choice of a player who will never see a moment of game time.
In 2010, Hahn passed up a chance to sign with the San Diego Padres out of high school. Instead, he decided to go to college, generally considered a smart move for an aspring young baseball player.
But rather than going on to a successful collegiate career and a higher draft pick, Hahn saw his dreams halted in the most tragic of ways. In just his third game for Arizona State, Hahn slid into second base, cracking his head against the infielder's knee and shattering a vertebrae in his neck.
Hahn was paralyzed from the chest down, his career over before it began.
Now 21, Hahn endured vigorous rehabilitation and coaches his former teammates at ASU from his customized wheelchair.
And once he graduates, Hahn will join the Diamondbacks.
"We couldn’t be any more excited," Diamondbacks scouting director Ray Montgomery said. "Talking to Cory, he was thrilled and, as usual, humbled and actually thanked us, which kind of surprised me. All the credit goes to him and his family for what they've endured. We couldn't be more happy about bringing him on board."
Montgomery called Hahn a few days before the draft, giving him a heads up. Hahn was on a flight when his name was announced, but he said he snuck into the airplane bathroom once it reached cruising altitude to check the numerous messages of congratulations pouring in.
"It's something that you can't really put into words, it was very humbling that they wanted to do this for me," Hahn said of being selected. "It's something I'll always cherish."
"No one made them do it, so the fact that they did -- I'll be forever thankful," he said. "They gave up a Draft spot for me. They didn't have to do that. There were plenty of good players still available."
I cannot thank the @dbacks enough for what they have done! So humbled and will be forever grateful! So honored to be a diamondback!— Coryhahn34 (@Coryhahn34) June 9, 2013
The team's president and CEO Derrick Hall, who visited with Hahn in the hospital after his injury, said he doesn't want Hahn's selection to be "just a gesture."
"We want to make this permanent," Hall said. "We don't want to make it just about the selection and about him being a Draft pick, but about working here in full-time employment with the Diamondbacks. Hopefully we'll make that come to fruition for him and his family here soon."
So proud of the @dbacks for selecting Cory Hahn in the 34th rd. Cory, who wore #34 at ASU, was paralyzed sliding head first in his 2nd game.— Derrick Hall (@DHallDbacks) June 8, 2013