The Arizona Diamondbacks honored Arizona State outfielder Cory Hahn with a 34th-round selection in the MLB Draft on Saturday, a selection that seemed inevitable three years ago and then impossible just three games into Hahn's career.
Hahn fractured the C5 vertebrae in his neck in the third game of his Sun Devils career, sliding into second base on a double-steal attempt, in 2011. He was paralyzed from the chest down. He undergoes hours of physical therapy hoping that he'll walk again someday, according to MLB.com's Tyler Emerick, but his playing days ended in 2011.
Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall called personally to make the selection — a rare touch for such a late pick. The timing of Hahn's selection was significant, too -- No. 34 was his Sun Devils jersey number. From Emerick's story:
"It was a very emotional selection for us to make," Hall said. "But it's not about us. It's really about Cory and his family."
Said D-backs scouting director Ray Montgomery: "There were a lot of choked up tears in the room. I'm a father and I have children, so I have the utmost respect for the Hahn family and what they've gone through. To be a small part in their lives, it was something that'll stay with me the rest of my lifetime."
Hall said he's interested in employing Hahn within the organization in some capacity, making the draft pick even more than a warm-hearted piece of symbolism. Hahn said he is interested in a career in a baseball front office.
Hahn, the 2010 California Mr. Baseball as a high school senior in Corona, Calif., was a 26th-round selection of the Padres in 2010.