Draft week is upon us and as the tension mounts let’s go back in time to an interview I had with former Yankees #1 pick Slade Heathcott. This article was originally published on Bridget Mulcahy’s “Cheap Little Swing” Blog:
Slade Heathcott was drafted in the first round of the 2009 draft by the New York Yankees and spent 10 years in professional baseball with the Yankees, White Sox, Giants, and A’s. He retired on January 15, 2019. Below is a transcript of this interview:
DE: When were you first considered a prospect and start having scouts get in contact with you about the possibility of being drafted?
SH: My junior summer after having lived in Dallas and playing for a travel team, teams started coming to see me that summer and throughout the rest of the year.
DE: You were as they say a “bonus baby.” How did that impact the life you knew, and how did it help shape who you are today?
SH: I was a mess right after being signed. I was bouncing in bars the first couple weeks after signing, staying out all night partying, and so many other opportunities all of which I am very thankful for because they were a part of the process to get where I am today. I think it definitely gave me a sense of entitlement that was quickly calmed due to all my injuries and surgeries.
DE: Who told you that you were first going up, and how did they do it?
SH: My manager Miley, I was holding my son feeding him late after a game one night. I didn’t have phone on me, so they actually called one of my roommates and relayed that I needed to call.
DE: Can you tell me about your first day up, and what your favorite memory is of your time with the Yankees?
SH: It was surreal, it happened all so fast. I packed overnight and was in DC the next morning. My time with the Yankees was full of so many incredible moments; my first roll call, first home run on Memorial Day of all days, and the home run to put us ahead in Tampa Bay.
DE: What was it about your Minor League experience that made you want to get involved with More Than Baseball?
SH: Jeremy and I had something in common, in that we wanted to make the lives of Minor League players better right now. Minor League players are in the top one percentile of their profession and get paid as a season intern title. Food and equipment are some of the biggest challenges when you are getting $7,500 a year before taxes and expenses. Other challenges are paying for an apartment at your affiliate, living on the road eating fast food because that is all players can afford, and the worst is guys having to retire because they do not have a bat to play with.
DE: Looking back at your experience, what advice would you give to this year’s and future draft picks, and would that advice change if they went in either the 1st
or 40th round?
SH: Go to college, get prepared for life and then come out ready to tackle the world and to tackle the game of baseball. Baseball allows for an amazing opportunity for players to build their own personal brands and use connections around the game to make things happen on the entrepreneurial front. Take full advantage of that and use your platform to impact as many lives as possible.
You can follow Slade Heathcott at @heathcott_slade. For other projects that Slade is involved with and that support the betterment of Minor League Baseball and its communities, please check out and follow:
MoreThanBaseball.org — @MTB_org
Thank you to Slade Heathcott for his time and cooperation. This interview was conducted by David Espinoza in May 2019. Published by Bridget Mulcahy on Cheap Little Swing.