When the Yankees selected pitcher Ty Hensley in the first round of Major League Baseball Draft on Monday night, his hometown rang more of a bell in my head than his actual name.
That’s not because Hensley isn’t a talented pitcher – he was the Gatorade High School Player of the Year in Oklahoma last year, after all – but more because in compiling our draft coverage over the last couple weeks, I’ve seen the name “Edmond Santa Fe High School” many, many times.
Santa Fe High School was the alma mater of Brandon Weeden, the former Oklahoma State and current Cleveland Browns quarterback that the Yankees drafted with their top pick in 2002. Although he’s now on the road to becoming an NFL star, a decade ago Weeden was an 18-year-old pitcher with a killer fastball and a Yankee contract getting ready to tackle the Minor Leagues.
It’s likely that you may not have known that (before reading our draft coverage, of course), nor even heard of Santa Fe High School or even Edmond, Oklahoma; while some high schools are noted for being national powerhouses (like the Harvard-Westlake School in greater Los Angeles, which this year produced a pair of first-round picks), to most, Santa Fe is simply one of three high schools within the city of Edmond.
But in a fun fact I discovered while looking a little deeper on Tuesday morning, it may be one of the only high schools (if not the only one) to have produced a first-round pick in each of the MLB, NFL, and NBA Drafts over the last three years.
There’s Hensley, of course, and there’s Weeden, who may have graduated in 2002 but was selected by the Browns in the NFL Draft this past April. But there’s also Ekpe Udoh, the former Baylor Bears center who led Santa Fe to a state title in 2005 and was the No. 6 overall pick of the Golden State Warriors in the 2010 NBA Draft.
That’s not a bad resume, especially for a high school that has only been open since 1993. Heck, my alma mater, Seymour High School in Seymour, CT, has been around for almost 130 years, and we’ve only ever had two players selected in the MLB Draft period, both of whom were catchers.
The first one, Joseph Simbolick, went No. 211 overall to the Tigers in 1973, and the other, Jay Perez, went No. 55 overall to the Astros in 1999. Simbolick never played professionally and Perez never advanced beyond Rookie ball, but in addition to being the Little League teammate of a certain YESNetwork.com writer, he at least has two fun MLB claims to fame: he was drafted two spots ahead of Brandon Phillips (and three behind Carl Crawford), and was taken with a pick the Astros got as compensation from Arizona for losing a free agent pitcher named Randy Johnson.
Impressive? Maybe not, unless you graduated from SHS at least, but it’s something.
Having the most successful franchise in pro sports make two of your alumni their top overall draft pick in different years is, however, an impressive feat, so a big congratulations goes out to the entire Edmond Santa Fe Wolves community – especially to Ty Hensley, who we hope to see in the Gulf Coast League or even on Staten Island later this summer…and maybe someday in the Bronx.
Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES