A native of Wharton, Texas, Kansas University senior Josh Dimmick grew up a fan of the Houston Astros.
``I actually have been to five or six games since I've been home from school,'' said Dimmick, who on Tuesday was selected by his favorite team in the 24th round of the major league draft.
``(As a youth) we'd go 10 times a year to the Dome. When I was real young, I loved Jose Cruz. Lately (Jeff) Bagwell,'' he added, noting it's a 45-minute drive from Wharton to the Astrodome.
Dimmick will report to the Astros' short season Class A league team in Auburn, N.Y., in two weeks. He'll play there until classes begin at KU in late August.
Dimmick, a two-time first-team academic All American, is 17 hours shy of a degree in genetics. He is a Rhodes Scholar candidate and should know by December whether he'll receive that honor.
``I think I'll go at baseball hard,'' Dimmick said. ``They'll probably give me one or two years. If they don't think I'll make it all the way up, they'll tell me. I'd say after two years if it's not looking great, I'd call it quits.''
After all, Dimmick has the brains to become a doctor or work in research, trying to cure life-threatening diseases.
``The Rhodes Scholarship could change things. If I get that, I'd have to really think hard about what I want to do,'' Dimmick said. ``I've always liked to compete whether in sports or class.''
Dimmick was a bit surprised he was the 722nd overall pick in the draft. He thought he'd be tabbed a bit lower, perhaps between rounds 30 and 60.
``I wasn't home when they called,'' Dimmick said. ``I was out fishing in the morning and then went to my fiancee's house and took a nap. My mom took the call. It was really exciting to hear I was drafted so high.''
Dimmick hit .337 as a senior with team-leading nine homers and 60 RBIs.
``The Astros told me they're starting to lean more to college players,'' Dimmick said. ``They don't have to put as much work into them. It's not such a big risk. They already know how to play the game.
``I wouldn't say I will go play in the big leagues. I am confident I can get better. I've not peaked yet. We'll try different theories and see how good I can be.''
-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.