Northwestern junior Jake Goebbert was on his way to batting practice Wednesday when he received the phone call he has waited for his entire life.
On the other end of the line was a scout from the Houston Astros telling Goebbert the organization had just selected the 2006 Hampshire graduate in the 13th round (401st overall) of the 2009 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.
"I had thought about it a lot, but I tried to downplay the possibility in my mind as much as I could," Goebbert said of being drafted. "But when it happened it was pretty emotional. You work so hard for so many years to have a dream come true and this really is a dream come true."
Goebbert had been talking to "five or six teams" and knew his name was out there, but he said "interest died down a little bit" after he was injured on April 12. Playing left field in a Big Ten series against at the University of Minnesota, he lacerated his right kidney when he ran into the Metrodome outfield wall at full speed. He missed the remaining 27 games of the season after hitting .280 in 30 games with 12 doubles and 25 RBI.
As a sophomore Goebbert, the 2005-06 Daily Herald Male Athlete of the Year, was named second team all-Big Ten after hitting .353. He set a Northwestern single-season record with 22 doubles, hit 10 home runs and drove in 48 runs.
Cleared to swing a bat three weeks ago, the 21-year-old said he is healthy and back at 100 percent as he prepared to leave today for the Cape Cod wooden-bat summer league. He will play for the Harwich (Mass.) Mariners beginning Saturday.
Goebbert was unable to say immediately whether he will sign with Houston or return for his senior season in Evanston.
"There are a lot of factors that will play into that," he said. "It depends on what I get and what they feel my role in the organization would be. I'm more than prepared to come back for my senior year. I was expecting to in a way and was looking forward to it. But if the opportunity presents itself in the right manner, you have to take advantage of it because it may only come around once."
Goebbert is the 56th player in Northwestern history selected in the draft and the 44th under current head coach Paul Stevens.