As far back as Brady Dragmire can remember, he has wanted to play Major League Baseball. After spending his youth building up quite an impressive prep athletic resume in 2011, his dream took a giant leap into a foreseeable reality. The recent Bradshaw Christian High graduate got the call from the Toronto Blue Jays after the 17th round of the MLB first year player draft earlier this June.
"The day that I got drafted, I was hanging out with a friend and I didn't have my phone on me," said Dragmire. "When I went to check my phone, I had a ton of messages saying 'Congratulations!' I had to ask my dad if I'd been drafted and he thought I was joking." Dragmire was selected with the 526th overall pick, coincidentally on his mother Jackie's birthday. "I was extremely happy and excited about getting drafted but then I had to go out and try to find my mom a birthday present."
Hearing that her son would get the opportunity to live out his dream and play in the big leagues may have been the perfect birthday gift in itself. Happy birthday, Mom.
Even with the shot of playing in the show within his reach, Dragmire will likely choose to sharpen his tools in the Western Athletic Conference with a few years at the University of Nevada, Reno under the tutelage of Coach Gary Powers, a former pitcher for the Wolfpack from 1970-71. Dragmire chose Nevada over schools like Long Beach State, Miami and close-to-home Sacramento State.
"Long Beach just seemed like a commuter school and Miami was, well, Miami. I wanted to make sure I stayed focused on baseball and school," very wise and mature words to come from an 18-year-old's mouth. "I could have gone with Sac State but I really wanted to try to get away from home. I really like what Nevada's program was all about and it's far enough to get away but still close enough to home so that my family could come and watch some games."
Dragmire projects himself to be a no. 2 or 3 starter in the Wolfpack rotation next season. His repertoire of pitches includes a slider, changeup and a four-seam fastball that reaches the low 90's that has helped him record over 250 strikeouts over his four-year varsity career. The combination of his prowess on the mound, his presence at the plate (a career .511 hitter) and his leadership of the Pride earned him Sierra Delta League MVP honors in 2011.
"Brady is just a great athlete," explains BC assistant coach and former Major League all-star Greg Vaughn. "He's basically a football player playing baseball. He refuses to give in and he doesn't make excuses. He's just one of those special kids who are blessed with a great arm and he really competes."
"When you have a phenomenal athlete such as Brady, it makes my job as a coach much easier," said BC head coach Drew Rickert, who also played college ball in the WAC at New Mexico State. "He knows how to make the game fun while at the same time showing a lot of mental toughness. He knows how to lighten the mood in the dugout but when he's on the mound, he has a 'hit me if you can' type attitude. He's done things that most athletes only wish they could do."
Rickert's words maybe a bit of an understatement. On the gridiron, Dragmire rushed for nearly 5000 career yards and over 70 touchdowns while winning two Sac Joaquin Section championships at the D-VII level and the SDL MVP in 2010. As a four-year guard on the hardwood, Dragmire averaged double digit scoring and was an All-league selection for his '09 SJS title squad. Throughout his tenure at Bradshaw Christian, Dragmire only suffered a total of 13 league losses in all three sports.
On the diamond, the Pride baseball team continued to exceed the successes from the previous year. During Dragmire's freshman year, BC scratched out one playoff win and two in his sophomore campaign before claiming the D-VII SJS crown during his junior year—which Dragmire admits as being the most gratifying section title (must be nice to have so many to choose from). To put an exclamation point at the end of his baseball career, Dragmire led the Pride to a second straight Sac-Joaquin Section Championship in 2011—this time at the D-VI level.
"My career at Bradshaw Christian has been amazing," said Dragmire. "I think the best part of the whole experience was that our team worked so hard to improve every year and it showed with us winning back-to-back section titles."
So what lies ahead for someone who has more or less done it all in the athletic realm? What kinds of wizardry does Dragmire have in store for his immediate future?
In one word, "Omaha."
Dragmire is motivated and ready to step up his level of play to try and help the Wolfpack reach the College World Series in Nebraska. Should the Wolfpack earn a postseason berth, it would be the first time since 2000 that they've reached at least an NCAA regional game.
"Brady is used to being the big fish in a small pond and now, at Nevada, he'll be a smaller fish in a really big pond," said Vaughn, who has helped build the Bradshaw Christian baseball program over the past eight seasons. "But baseball is universal and I think that Brady can play anywhere. Everyone is good at the D-I level, but as Yogi Berra once said, '95% of baseball is played above the shoulders'. Maturity wise, Brady is just one of those special breeds."
In the meantime, Dragmire has been playing summer ball and helping out with some of the younger BC athletes. His younger brother Grant will be a freshman this fall and looks to fill his big brother's cleats.
"It feels pretty rewarding to see these kids respond to what I try to teach them," he said. "I'm really excited to see what my brother's going to do. I really like helping him out and seeing where he's going. I try to tell him to keep a level head because you never know who'll be out here watching. As long as he plays his game each day and does what he needs to do, he'll be fine."
If history is any indication of what the future might look like, Wolfpack baseball tickets maybe punched into Omaha very soon. As would Brady Dragmire's ticket to the big show.