Chicago native Corey Ray makes history in the first round of the MLB Draft
CHICAGO – It only took about a half hour to make a little Windy City baseball history on Thursday night.
You won’t find it at Wrigley Field or anywhere else for the Cubs since they had the day off. While picking up a win, the White Sox’s greatest accomplishment on Thursday was ending a five-game losing streak.
Instead history came from a player about five hours south of Chicago. A Louisville Cardinal, as it turns out, gave local fans a bit of pride.
Outfielder Corey Ray, a Chicago native who played his high school baseball at Simeon, was selected fifth overall in Thursday’s MLB Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers. He becomes the first Chicago player to be selected in the Top Ten of the draft since Jeff Jackson was taken fourth overall by the Phillies in 1989.
Ray becomes just the fifth player in Chicago history to be drafted in the first round and is the highest selection in the history of the highly successful Louisville program. This year he’s been a big part of the second-ranked Cardinals success as he’s batting .316 with 15 home runs and 60 RBIs along with 44 steals.
He’s helped them to the NCAA Super Regional against UC Santa Barbara, which begins this Saturday in Louisville.
His selection is a major point of pride for the White Sox, even Ray is headed to another team. The Amateur City Elite team run by the MLB franchise is where he called home for six seasons as he grew up in Chicago, developing his skills as he prepared for Simeon, Louisville and now the majors.
“I am so proud of Corey,” said White Sox director of youth baseball initiatives Kevin Coe in a release from the team. “Since the first day I met him, he has always wanted to be great. He knew he had to outwork everyone on and off the field. Today is a reward for all of his hard work and passion. This couldn’t have happened to a better kid.
“Congratulations to Corey and the entire Ray family.”
Ray is the 15th player from the ACE program to be selected in the draft. Initially Ray was taken by the Mariners in the 33rd round of the 2013 draft but opted to go to college instead. That was a good decision as Ray was an All-ACC First Team selection, a Baseball America second-team pick along with a Louisville Slugger All-American in 2016.
“I’m a firm believer in hard work,” said Ray in a release from the White Sox. “Playing for the White Sox Amateur City Elite, I learned that hard work pays off. The ACE program was very instrumental in my development and growth as a student athlete. The facility availability and instruction is unparalleled.
“I cannot thank Mr. Jerry Reinsdorf and the Chicago White Sox enough for everything they provided for me.”
As for Ray, he provided the City of Chicago some baseball history on a June Thursday night.