Darryl Monroe's wildly successful college baseball career quickly turned into a mildly woeful professional career.
Monroe, a second-team All-American center fielder for Kansas a year ago, just returned from his first summer of pro ball. For the Detroit Tigers' short-season Class A team in Jamestown, N.Y., of the New York-Penn League, Monroe hit .194 with eight doubles, one homer, 17 RBIs and eight stolen bases.
In comparison, during his senior year for the Jayhawks, Monroe hit .360 with 15 doubles, 11 homers, 71 RBIs and 28 steals.
"It was a little rough as far as stats go, as far as me hitting," said Monroe, who returned to Lawrence last week to enroll at KU, where he's a semester away from his degree in human biology. "I got to play quite a bit. I enjoy it a lot. It was real positive."
Monroe even found a positive to his hitting slump -- the worst he ever encountered.
"It was good I went through that," he said. "It will help me in the future. I never had a season where I wasn't successful hittingwise. I know how to handle it now. I think I was doing all right toward the end of the season."
The sights around Jamestown were pretty fair, too. Monroe visited Cleveland's Jacob's Field and Niagara Falls.
"I got to see quite a bit," Monroe said. "It's close to Buffalo and Cleveland. I enjoyed the league a lot. I got to see a lot of nice scenery, and it's one of the more competitive leagues in short-season A-ball."
Monroe wasn't the only former Jayhawk toiling in the New York-Penn League. Pitcher David Meyer was 3-4 with a 2.90 ERA for Oneonta before his promotion to Greensboro of the South Atlantic League, and Chris Corn was 1-1 with a 3.73 ERA for Oneonta, an affiliate of the New York Yankees.
Monroe ran into his former teammates a few times, and he even faced them in the same game.
"They were in the different division," Monroe said. "We played them four times. In one game, Meyer started and Corn relieved. I hit against them, but I didn't get a hit. I did get to talk to them during BP and after the games."
Monroe still is entertaining the notion of post-graduate school.
"Basically, I just want to see what baseball has for me first," he said. "I never doubted that I belonged there. I always thought I'd start hitting. I know I can hit, I know I can play. I never doubted my skills.
"And I don't think they ever get down on anybody after one year. I think they like the things I do and they like my skills."
Former Jayhawks update: Jeff Berblinger hit .296, seventh in the South Atlantic League, while playing second for the Class-A Savannah Cardinals...
Steve Renko was 3-8 with a 5.03 ERA for the Double-A Wichita Wranglers, an affiliate of the Padres...
Curtis Schmidt went 6-2 with a 1.88 ERA for Double-A Harrisburg, an affiliate of the Expos...
For Triple-A New Orleans, a Brewers' farm, Scott Taylor was 14-9 with a 4.29 ERA...
Curtis Shaw was 2-6 with a 6.91 ERA for Class-AAA Tacoma, an Athletics farm team...
And Jim Walker, pitching for Frederick, a Class-A farm club for the Orioles, was 5-5 with a 4.35 ERA.