Change-UpFebruary 25, 2009
Glory Days
By Patrick Sullivan

"I had a friend who was a big baseball player back in High School." - Bruce Springsteen

I played high school baseball with three players who went on to play at Princeton University and others who played at smaller, Division 3 schools such as Brandeis, Williams College and Trinity College. I faced Big Leaguers Rich Hill, Mike Smith and Jonah Bayliss and was invited to participate in regional combines and team tryouts like the Area Code Games. All in all, I think I was exposed to some decent baseball.

But Jesus of Nazareth, I could not imagine facing the Long Beach Poly baseball teams of the mid 1990's with one potential future Hall of Famer, Chase Utley, and another standout, Milton Bradley, who is coming off a 163 OPS+ season. Bradley was taken in the second round of the 1996 Amateur Draft and signed immediately with the Montreal Expos. The Dodgers selected Utley in the 2nd round the very next season but Utley chose to go to UCLA instead of signing. Since, Bradley has shown flashes of greatness when he could stay on the field while Utley has had a steadier developmental timetable. He was never truly spectacular until his breakout 2005 campaign. Since, he's been as good as most any other second baseman in baseball history.

There have been other notable, productive high school teammate combos in the Major Leagues. Jason Giambi and Jeremy Giambi played alongside the late Cory Lidle, Shawn Wooten and Aaron Small at South Hills High School in West Covina, California. That's right, FIVE Major Leaguers on one high school team. Recent first rounders Mike Moustakas and Matt Dominguez played on the same team at Chatsworth High School; they were the first pair of position player teammates to be drafted in the first round since 1972, when Jerry Manuel and Mike Ondina were taken out of Rancho Cordova High School in California. High School teammates were also selected in the first round in 2002 (Scott Kazmir among them), 2000 and 1997 (including Michael Cuddyer).

Now, however, there is a new premier duo ready to take their talents to the Bigs. Baseball America released their top-100 prospects yesterday and numbers 1 and 23 batted 3 and 4 for Stratford High School in Goose Creek, SC. Matt Wieters is a 23 year-old, switch-hitting catcher who has hit .355/.454/.600 in his brief Minor League career. He might be the best player in the American League right now. Justin Smoak hit .304/.355/.518 in a brief Minor League stint after being drafted by the Texas Rangers last year but to give you a more complete sense for his potential, he is a former Cape League MVP who hit .383/.505/.757 in his final year playing for the University of South Carolina Gamecocks. Both should be contributing to their respective Major League teams this season.

Gregg Zaun currently stands in Wieters's way as the Baltimore backstop, but that won't last long. Wieters will be starting for the majority of the year. The path for Smoak is a little less clear. Chris Davis has earned a shot as the starting first baseman and Texas has moved veteran Hank Blalock to designated hitter. Smoak stands to begin the season down on the farm but will get his chance at one point or another. He will have to make the most of it if he wants to stick for good at the outset.

What I am interested in is some of the high school teammates that I am missing. Who are the best high school teammates to come out of your local area? Are there other Major Leaguers who played high school ball together going back further that I am not considering? Please feel free to share in the comments section.


Definitely not the best all time, but I think Mark Prior and Carlos Quentin were on the same University of San Diego High School team for a year or two.

Locke High of Los Angeles in 1973 had a pair of Hall of Famers on it in Eddie Murray and Ozzie Smith.

Darrell Jackson and Rich Murray were also on the team and played in the majors.

I believe Murray and Smith are the only high school teammates to make it into Cooperstown.

El Dorado with B. Boone, Nevin, Luke and Tomko. Boone was a couple of years ahead of Nevin and Luke in school, Tomko was a couple of years behind those two.

Don't forget the Los Alamitos Griffins of 1986. Seniors J.T. Snow and Rob Katzaroff, Junior Robb Nen, Sophmores Mike Kelly and Greg Pirkl. Everyone should know about Snow and Nen, whose father's were both professional athletes, but Katzaroff played at UCLA and made it to AAA. Kelly was the Golden Spikes Award winner at Arizona State and the second player drafted in 1991. Pirkl was a second round pick out of high school in 1988. As an aside, there were other Division I college players on this team. I can't confirm this but I think the 1986 team didn't even make the CIF Playoffs. Nice coaching job...

Not great players (at least not yet), but Ben Francisco and Ryan Garko were high school teammates and are now major league teammates.

Eric Chavez and Eric Munson, Mt. Carmel High School, San Diego County, 1996.

A-Rod and Doug Mientkiewicz played together at Westminster Christian High School in Miami in the early 90's and the reunited for a short time on the Yankees. I have to imagine they had quite the athletic infield back then...

David Wright, Ryan Zimmerman, BJ Upton, Justin Upton and Mark Reynolds played on the same AAU team in the Tidewater VA area. There's a picture of their team floating around somewhere.

Perhaps you'd care to explain, revise, or retract your "Jesus of Nazareth" interjection. As a Christian, I was offended--not surprised, but offended.

I believe Vada Pinson and Frank Robinson played for McClatchy High School in Oakland, but I'm not sure if they overlapped. Pinson was born in 1938 and Robinson in 1935.

You know Dan, its those sorts of remarks that really pit people against one another. Personally I don't care if you are a Christian or were offended, its obvious the author meant no harm in using that turn of phrase.
I'm an atheist, does that offend you?

However claiming that Weiters may be the best player in the American League right now IS offensive to Mr. Joe Mauer and Mr. Alex Rodriguez

No Hugh, Christians are accused of being intolerant (yet Jesus said, "Love your neighbor"), but for whatever reason, it's perfectly acceptable to criticize Christians/Christianity... Dan stood up for his faith, Patrick made the comment that showed insensitivity...

By the way Hugh, you're perfectly within your rights to believe whatever you want, and anyone who criticizes you for it is being similarly insensitive.

George Brett and Scott McGregor were high school teammates.

Ummm... Mr. Springsteen? It's called a "fastball," not a "speedball".

Just as a correction, Justin Upton didn't play on any of those teams with Wright, ZImmerman, Reynolds & BJ Upton. He was much younger and the tag-along little brother. The rest did play together though:

While they're certainly not great players, it's worth noting that current Indians teammates Ryan Garko and Ben Francisco were high school teammates at Servite High School in Anaheim, CA. How often have two players been teammates in both high school and the major leagues?

Moses Lake High School, Moses Lake, WA, had Ryan Doumit, Jason Cooper (Cleveland AAA), and B.J. Garbe (made it to AA, 1st round draft pick) in 1999. Not bad for a public high school in that part of the country.