Sports -- June 07, 2007

Published on Thu, Jun 7, 2007
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SPORTS
by Jack Kintner

Slivers from the bench

Paciorek in first televised baseball draft

One reason Sehome high school dominated this year’s county high school all-star baseball game last week, putting pitcher Jordan Chambers and shortstop Kai Hatch into the state all-star game, was that the best athlete wasn’t even on the field.

Blaine’s Joey Paciorek, who excelled as a pitcher and shortstop and was the leading hitter this year among all county schools, was back in Milwaukee, Wis., as one of the Brewers’ top 20 prospects for this year’s draft.

Paciorek’s been seen by most of the Brewers front office, and the group he was invited to join – which included both high school and college players – is expected to form the core of this week’s amateur baseball draft, the first ever to be televised live. The first round begins Thursday, June 7, at 11 a.m. on ESPN 2.

The connection between the Brewers, arguably the best team in baseball this year, and Blaine is two-fold. Paciorek’s dad Jim was the Brewers eighth-round draft pick in 1982, although he spent most of his major league career playing in Japan, a country he first visited while an undergraduate at the University of Michigan (class of ’81). He’s served as an assistant baseball coach to Gary Clausen for the past few years.
Blaine high school principal Dan Newell’s son Brandon, northwest scouting coordinator for the Brewers organization, invited Paciorek back to Milwaukee Stadium for the tryout. “He swung the bat very well, showed them what he had,” said Newell, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

Indeed. Three of Joey’s uncles and three cousins have all played professional baseball, including long-time Seattle Mariners outfielder, first baseman and DH Tom Paciorek.

“They’re known chiefly as good hitters,” Newell said. Joey’s uncle and Tom’s older brother John, in fact, has the highest major league batting average ever recorded, a perfect 1.000, earned in the only major league game he played in when he went three for three for Houston in 1963.

“What Joey has is a good combination of size and agility. I’d compare him to [Cardinals third baseman] Scott Rolen or [Phillies outfielder and DH] Pat Burrel,” Newell said.