Blane McDonald, former baseball star at T.C. Williams High School and currently attending South Florida Junior College, was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the first round of the major league baseball winter amateur draft yesterday.
"It's like a dream come true," said McDonald, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound catcher, after being told late yesterday afternoon by the school's athletic director, Wil Beumel. "I was aware of the draft and felt I would be picked. I have been talking to several scouts but I don't recall talking to anyone from Chicago. I sure didn't expect to go so high."
McDonald is reputed to have excellent speed, a strong arm and a keen batting eye.
A native of Atlanta, McDonald came to this area in 1964. He played baseball in summer leagues but didn't play varsity at Williams until his senior year.
"I played TV two years and sat out my junior year," said McDonald. "So I had to put together my last year."
McDonald hit .375 and belted three homers in 1975 to earn a scholarship to SFJC.
In his first season at SFJC, he hit .357 with three home runs and led Division III of the Florida Baseball Leaggue in runs battled in, 29. The team finished a disappointing 20-20 but McDonald, the team's top hitter was selected all-state.
During the fall baseball league last season, he hit .464 with four homers and 30 RBI.
McDonald has received many major college offers, including baseball powers Tulane, Florida State, Mississippi State and Florida Southern.
He said that if the offer is right, "I'll sign right away with the Cubs without playing here this spring."
McDonald's success was not a surprise to his mother, Agnes Osolin, or Edsel Martz, who coaches several amateur baseball teams in the area leagues and is regarded as an authority on area baseball talent.
"He's a good one," said Martz. "He's an excellent prospect."
"I'm proud of him, of course," said Mrs. Osolin. "My father and brothers have been gearing him for the major leagues since he was three. He would come home with bruises from sliding and chasing balls."
McDonald said he has always wanted to be a major leaguer since Little League days in Atlanta.
"Joe Torre (Former catcher) infielder was my man. I liked his style," said McDonald. "If I sign, I'm going to camp with a open mind. I plan to make it." McDonald was the 11th player chosen in the first round.
The Montreal Expos, with the worst won-lost record in the majors last season, choose 18-year-old Calvin Adams, a catcher-third baseman from Central Arizona JC, as the Day's No. 1 choice.
A rule change in the draft concerning four-year colleges restricted selections in this year's winter draft to mostly junior college students and college dropouts. The new college rule permits the signings of collegians who have their senior year of eligibility, but those signings are permitted between school years. Most of the four-year college baseball stars will not be taken until the annual June Draft.
There were 211 players in the 16 rounds of the draft's regular phase, 280 last years, and pitchers were the most widely selected. There were 101 pitchers chosen, in the first round.
Atlanta fined $10,000 by commissioner Bowie Kuhn for tampering with free-agent Gary Mathews, was not allowed a first-round pick.