The unofficial beginning of the baseball season for the Mississippi State Diamond Dawgs took place Saturday as they held the annual First Pitch/Meet the Team Celebration in the comfort of the Palmeiro Center on the MSU camps.
The voice of Bulldog baseball, Jim Ellis, served as the master of ceremonies setting the table for former MSU hurler and current Chicago Cub Paul Maholm to share his stories and thoughts on baseball and his days at Mississippi State.
“I’m humbled, honored, and blessed to be back here to visit with everyone,” said Maholm.
Maholm, who was selected with the 8th pick of the 2003 Major League Baseball draft, has a career 4.36 ERA in major league baseball in 185 career starts. The former MSU lefty spent his first six seasons in the big leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirate organization but recently inked a contract to play in the windy city for the Chicago Cubs.
“I’ve been blessed beyond belief to be able to continue to play and now being able to play the Chicago Cubs, I’m looking forward to that,” Maholm said.
As a Bulldog, Maholm recorded 273 strikeouts, third most in MSU history and turned in 27 wins during his MSU career, a career that almost never was.
“I moved down here about a week before classes had started and my mom came down because she knew it was going to come down to the wire and she was pushing me to come to school,” said Maholm. “But I told her I decided I was going to sign (with the Minnesota Twins) and I called the coaches, but that night I didn’t get any sleep because I knew that just wasn’t right.
“Looking back on it I can see that God had a plan for me and it wasn’t to play professional then. I met my wife here. I had a great career here and I enjoyed every minute of it. I don’t know if I would still be in baseball if I hadn’t made that decision.”
As Maholm wrapped up his question and answer session, he was presented a gift by MSU assistant Tyler Bratton, a gift every MSU golfer would love, an MSU golf bag.
Over the course of the evening, MSU head coach John Cohen introduced the 2012 version of MSU baseball as well as presenting this year’s DOGSBY Awards.
A good time was had by the over 300 State fans on hand. Now they await the season opener against Washington State on Friday at Dudy Noble Field.