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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Patton-led Aggies streak into Huntsville

 
 

For most elite college baseball players, careers are finished in three seasons instead of the usual four. With professional contracts awaiting them in the minor leagues, once that third collegiate season is finished, they’re usually gone.
Once in a while, a player will finish out his eligibility in hopes of increasing his draft status, but when a player is drafted in the sixth-round after being projected much lower, the response is usually “Where do I sign?”
But that wasn’t the case with Texas A&M senior outfielder Cory Patton. Patton declined a sixth round pick from the San Diego Padres to return for his senior season as an Aggie.
“It was a tough process,” Patton said. “I was kind of stressed out about it. Nobody told me I was going to be drafted that high, so I was kind of shocked.”
The prospects of having Patton’s bat in the third spot of the Aggie lineup after hitting .331 with 13 home runs and 58 RBIs is a pleasant surprise to Aggie faithful, but A&M head coach Mark Johnson said Patton’s return is also valued because of the leadership Patton provides in the clubhouse.
“I think it’s huge (to have Patton back),” Johnson said. “We lucked out, and I think Cory is going to have a great year.”
Patton has been the star everywhere he’s gone. At Owasso High School in Owasso, Okla., Patton led his team to the Oklahoma Class 6A State Championship his junior season and to a state runner-up finish his senior season. He hit .380 and .388, respectively.
Patton then moved on to Seward County Community College in Liberal, Kan. In the 2002 season, Patton hit .465 and led the nation with 31 home runs and 119 RBIs. He was also named National Junior College Player of the Year and NJCAA Male Athlete of the Year in the 2002 season.
With an impressive junior campaign after transferring to A&M, Patton proved that he could put up big numbers no matter the competition.
But playing for a national championship and increasing his draft status weren’t the only reasons Patton stayed at A&M, nor were they the main ones.
This past August, Patton got married, and now that he is starting a family, he said getting a degree became more important than an early paycheck.
Although Patton hopes baseball can pay the way in the future, he knows that the odds of making the major leagues are long.
“After my second semester last year, I was really close to getting my degree,” Patton said. “I had the opportunity to stay and play and finish my degree, and getting married definitely had a lot to do with it too.”
Junior agricultural development major Bobbie Patton, Cory’s wife, said she wasn’t influential in Patton’s decision but she knows their future together weighed in.
“Playing ball is what he wants to do,” Bobbie Patton said. “If something happens, then he has to support us and he knows that.”
Patton said he had nights where he would lie awake in the summer pondering his decision, but in the end, his love for A&M’s baseball program and for his new family, proved to overcome the money that came with his signature.
“It was difficult with the money, but he just wanted to come back so bad,” Bobbie Patton said.
Now with the decision behind him and sitting in the A&M clubhouse still wearing his No. 15 Aggie jersey, Patton is confident he made the right call. A&M is thankful that he stayed too.
“(San Diego) let me know they wanted me bad,” Patton said. “I didn’t want to have to call coach Johnson and tell him I had decided to go pro. I had told the coaches that I was going to come back, so Iwanted to stick to my word.”

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