Jonesboro's Brown drafted by Cubs

By Jeffery Armstrong

The hits keep on coming for recent baseball graduates in the Southern Crescent.

Former Jonesboro High baseball player Rashard Brown joins the ranks of other local seniors who were drafted into the major leagues in the 2004 first-year player draft. The former Cardinals infielder and outfielder was selected by the Chicago Cubs Tuesday in the 33rd round, the 996th pick overall.

"I feel real good about Rashard's selection. It's always good for our program when one of our kids get drafted," said Jonesboro head baseball coach Don Corr. "Rashard is a strong young man and he has a good upside. He's a real talented player."

Brown said he was so excited he started shaking after he got the phone call from the Cubs. He said playing pro baseball is his ultimate goal, something he's wanted ever since he started playing at the age of four.

"I was shocked that they called. I couldn't understand the scout at first because our phone had a bad connection," Brown said. "When I called him back, he asked if he needed [Cubs all-star] Sammy Sosa to call me. That's when I knew I was really drafted and I was very happy."

Brown expects to hear from the Cubs by the end of next week, after the organization evaluates all its picks and decides who to sign. If the Cubs don't offer a decent signing bonus, Brown has the option of attending college and he's leaning towards North Florida Community College.

Corr believes Brown has all the tools to become a good professional baseball player, should he decide to join the Cubs organization.

"Rashard has a good shot to become a pro baseball player. He's got great bat speed, a good arm and he's an above-average baserunner," Corr said. "Hopefully, he could handle the everyday grind of pro baseball. It can be difficult at times for an 18-year-old. If Rashard does go pro, I hope he'll be able to take into the world what he's learned here at Jonesboro."

Brown's mother Aretha is very happy that her son is living out his childhood dream.

"I'm very excited for Rashard. All the road trips we went on through the years have paid off," Aretha said. "My heart has been filled with joy today n I've been teary-eyed just about all day."

Aretha said she will be happy with whatever decision Rashard makes in the coming days.

"I just want him to be happy," she said. "I'm behind him 100 percent no matter what he decides to do."