Lerud a first team All-American
June 25, 2003
The honors continue for Steve Lerud as he recently received his most prestigious honor so far — being named as a first team All-American by Baseball America.
Lerud was one of 15 high school players named to Baseball America’s All-American first team. Lerud was chosen as the first team catcher.
But while it’s another honor that Lerud takes pride in, his mind is obviously on a much more important matter. Lerud was the third round pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the 75th overall pick in the Major League draft, and he and his family are continuing to negotiate with the team.
Lerud must decide on if to sign with the Pirates or honor his commitment to attend Santa Clara. Lerud said his decision is still very much up in the air.
“It’s great to be recognized like that,” said Lerud about being named as a first-team All-American. “Just to have the recognition for the season and the career I had.”
Lerud was also named as the Gatorade Nevada Player of the Year this past season. He hit .466 with 21 home runs and 64 RBI and had an astronomical slugging percentage above 1,200. He also set the state record for most career home runs with 60.
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Lerud said he thought he had a chance to be named as an honorable mention choice, but never as a first-team selection. “It came as a big surprise to me,” he said. “it just means a lot to me for all the hard work I’ve done. It’s all so surreal.”
Galena has had several players make their mark in recent years and Lerud had continued that streak.
“It just feels like it’s my turn now,” he said. “It just feels real good to be recognized by so many different people.
“There always seemed to be one guy at Galena who always stood out. It feels good to continue the tradition, definitely.”
Based on what has transpired so far, Lerud could be in line to receive a signing bonus between $475,000 and $500,000. The 69th overall pick, Lou Palmisano, a catcher from Broward Community College in Florida, received a $500,000 signing bonus from the Milwaukee Brewers. Jacob Stevens, a left-handed pitcher from Cape Coral, Fla., the 79th overall pick, received a $475,000 signing bonus from the Atlanta Braves.
“They’re going slow, I guess,” said Lerud about the negotiations. “I’m not sure if we’re far away from a decision. We’re just kind of dealing with it as a family right now.”
Lerud said he couldn’t comment on those picked near him who have signed, but did say about his family, “We’re going to pick our number and stick to it.”
The process has given him perspective, Lerud said.
“It really kind of makes you look at the big picture,” he said. “Not just the present, but what could be.”