Chase(ing) a dream
Tyler White has always dreamed of playing professional baseball.
That dream became reality Saturday, when the former Chase Trojan was selected in the 33rd round of the Major League Baseball draft by the Houston Astros. White, the 977th overall pick, becomes the first Chase product drafted since Todd Coffey went to the Cincinnati Reds in 1998.
“It’s kind of surreal,” said White, moments after his selection. “It’s a dream come true and I really can’t put it into words. It’s just wild.”
Saturday started out as anything but wild for White.
“I just decided to treat today (Saturday) like a normal day,” he said. “I wasn’t going to sit by my phone or computer all day waiting for a message. I was out coaching the MVP baseball team when my girlfriend texted me with just an exclamation point. I was pretty sure what that meant so I checked my computer when I got home and saw my name. I’ve been dreaming about this day for so long and now it’s here. I can hardly believe it.”
White wasn’t the only one who received a text concerning the pick. Coffey learned of the selection while in Milwaukee and is happy for his alma mater.
“My mom texted me and told me the good news and I am thrilled. It’s great on so many levels, not just for Tyler and his family, but for the whole county, especially the Chase community,” Coffey said. “People think that a lot of talent doesn’t come from this area, but players like myself and Tyler have shown that’s not the case. Hopefully, this will help the Chase program come up and up and up.”
Being drafted is the culmination of a tremendous year on the diamond for White.
During his senior season at Western Carolina, he garnered a .363 batting average and hit 16 home runs on his way to being named the Southern Conference Player of the Year and earning a spot on the Louisville Slugger All-American Team.
Even with all of his accolades, White only drew interest from a pair of Major League teams, the Astros and the San Francisco Giants.
“I knew that if I got drafted, it would be by one of those two because they had corresponded with me,” said White. “I would have been thrilled with either team, but I’m glad it was the Astro’s because their Rookie League team is in Tennessee. I wanted my first destination to be where my family could watch me play. That’s very important to me. I know I’ll be far from home at some point, but I wanted my family to see this first step.”
Family has always been an aspect of White’s baseball career as he was coached at Chase by his father, Brian.
During their time at Chase, father and son enjoyed many successes, including a 2A Southwestern Conference Championship and a trip to the third round of the playoffs in 2009.
“It’s a great day for our whole family,” said the elder White. “To have one of your players drafted is special, but for that player to be your son, that’s just amazing. I couldn’t be more proud.”
“I have lots of fond memories of Chase and I’m proud to be a Trojan and to have come from this community, but I think the best one is playing for my dad,” said White. “I’ll always take that with me no matter where my destination is or what happens in the rest of my career.”
White won’t take time to reflect on those memories just now, however. He is now chasing a different dream. “Of course my goal is to make it to the Majors,” he said. “For now, my focus is on taking everything I’ve learned and just playing baseball. Hopefully, this is just the first of many steps in my career.”