Former Baylor all-American Kelly Shoppach, now with the Boston Red Sox, is one of two Bears currently in the major leagues. But he hasn’t forgotten his roots. With spring training approaching, the BoSox catcher swung by Waco Tuesday to visit with his old team and take a few swings at Baylor Ballpark.
“I love coming back, and always have.” said the 2001 consensus first-team all-American, now in his eighth year in the big leagues. “I’m just fortunate that I had the opportunity to move my family back to Texas and Fort Worth, and get a chance to come down here a few times a year now.”
Shoppach received the Johnny Bench Award as the nation’s top collegiate catcher after his junior season at Baylor in 2001. That summer, he was drafted by the Red Sox in the second round. He briefly made it up to the majors with Boston in 2005, then was traded that offseason to the Indians. He spent four years in Cleveland before a trade took him to Tampa Bay, where he spent the last two seasons. Shoppach, one of eight Bears to have reached the big leagues after playing for head coach Steve Smith here at Baylor, returned to the Red Sox as a free agent this winter.
Sic ’em, Kelly!
Previously on Baylor Proud:
* Baylor alums in the field, front office and owner’s box for back-to-back AL champion Rangers (Oct. 2011)
* Rangers’ Murphy shares thoughts on faith, baseball in ‘I am Second’ video (July 2011)
* Newest Yankee makes it a trio of Bears in the big leagues (May 2010)
* Trio of baseball alums in the big leagues begin 2009 season today (April 2009)
* Fifth Bear in the big leagues homers in his first at-bat for hometown Astros (Sept. 2008)