Williams to test the waters of professional baseball
York College senior inks contract with Cubs

y Ken Kush

Sports Editor, York News-Times

YORK -- When York College senior Jeremy Williams came to York College three years ago, signing a major league baseball contract may have been the farthest thing his mind, his main priority was making changes to his life.

On Sunday afternoon on the second floor of the York College Mackey Center, Williams realized what every boy who loves the game of baseball would love to experience, inking a major league baseball contract, and taking that next step.

"Three years ago the road I was on was a tough one. The life I was living was in and out of things I wasn't suppose to be doing, then I came here and the experience changed my whole life," Williams said. "Coach Harlan (Nick) and coach Walth (Brian) helped me tremendously, and words can't express what they have done for me. They have helped me out through everything and right now I am overwhelmed. I have built a friendship with coach Harlan that will last a life time."

This is the first time in the history of York College that a player has signed a professional major league baseball contract, and along with the contract Williams will receive a $7500 bonus for signing early.

Harlan said there is an upside to signing prior to the draft.

"Tom (Schaefer) with the Cubs has been very persistent, and he's been very loyal as he has been around here three or four times and has shown the most interest. He came to us and said he wanted to sign Jeremy to a free agent contract before the draft," explained Harlan. "This gives Jeremy a little more incentive because the Cubs give him a $7500 signing bonus for signing early. With Tom coming in and saying this is the value we place on you, says a lot, and they don't want to take the chance of not getting him in the draft. Jeremy talked it over with his family and they all thought it was the best thing for him."

Sometime next week Jeremy will board a plane for Phoenix, AZ where he will join the Cubs rookie team in Mesa, AZ. Schaefer said that Williams has the tools that they look for in a player. Over the next several weeks he will work with Cub's coaches refining those tools and becoming an even better ball player.

"Jeremy is a player that scouts look for. He has the tools, he can run, he can throw, he can hit for power, and he can obviously field in the outfield, so he has everything we look for," Schaefer said. "He has the raw tools that we look for and we just hope he can continue the success with the Cubs that he has had here. Since he's in the unique position of signing now, rather than around June 6-7, he will be ahead of the game a little bit. I think he played around 40 games or so here in three months, over the next six weeks he will have that under his belt professionally. He is a physical specimen and definitely warrants coming out. The way that coach Harlan has his program going now, I'm sure this will be a place where I will be looking for more talent."

The signing of a professional contract at York College has it's benefits in other areas of the recruiting game as well.

"Your high level kids, your very talented kids, want to go somewhere where they will have the opportunity to play at the next level," Harlan stated. "Now that they understand they will get that exposure here, it makes the selling process and the recruiting process so much easier from our point. You can get more talented players and I think that will continue to be the trend."

Williams said the whole thing is still kind of a blur, and right now he's really not taken in all of what has happened in the past few days.

"It really hasn't sank in yet. I'm excited and living every kids dream, and I am looking forward to the privilege of playing for the Cubs organization," said Williams. "This is a brotherhood here at York College and we help each other out. All my teammates have been 100 percent behind me on this, and I really can't say enough about them. I'll never forget the friendships I have built here."

When asked if the Cubs were one of his favorite teams growing up, Williams adjusted the new Cubs hat he was wearing, and said, "They are now, no doubt about it."

Williams, a native of Dyer, Arkansas, transfered to York from North Arkansas Community College.  He led the team this season in batting average (0.438) and in homeruns (12).  He was the unanimous choice by the conference coaches for MCAC Player of the Year, he was voted Region IV Player of the Year, and recently was named to the NAIA All-American Team.

We congratulate Jeremy on this monumental event and wish for him a fantastic career and future in the Major Leagues.

Pictured above is Jeremy and Tom Schaefer, scout for the Cubs
Coaches Brian Walth and Nick Harlan with Jeremy
Teammates: Marcus Walberg, Angelo Tavelli, Jeremy, Dutch Lawson, Terrell Harbin, Alonzo Rivera, and Brett Walberg