Brown taken in 1st round of MLB draft

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- University of Alabama catcher Jeremy Brown was a supplemental first-round draft pick in the 2002 Major League Baseball draft on Tuesday, selected as the 35th overall pick by the Oakland Athletics.

The senior is the third player in Alabama baseball history to be taken in the first round of the MLB draft, joining Kenny "Snake" Stabler and Joe Vitiello. Stabler was a first-round pick by the Houston Astros in 1966, while Vitiello was the 7th overall pick by the Kansas City Royals in 1991.

"This is a big thrill for me," Brown said after Tuesday's selection. "I certainly think I made the right decision by coming back for my senior year. I'm still in shock right now. This has all been pretty mind-boggling."

Brown was not the only UA player to receive good news on Tuesday, as teammates Lance Cormier and Scott McClanahan were also taken on the first day of the draft.

Cormier was taken in the fourth round by the defending World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks. Cormier was the 129th overall pick of the draft.

McClanahan went in the 11th round to the New York Yankees. He was the 336th overall pick of the draft. The Hartselle, Ala., native had never been drafted in his career prior to Tuesday.

"A coach can coach his entire life and never have a first-round draft pick," Alabama head coach Jim Wells said. "This has been an exciting day for all of us.

I am very happy for all the guys," Wells added. "Jeremy and Lance certainly could have signed last year, but they came back and I feel they made the right decision not only for them, but us too. I think in the future, players will see that if they are good they can be picked whether they are juniors or seniors."

Also, Alabama signee Brian McCann, a left-hand hitting catcher from Duluth, Ga., was selected in the second round by the Atlanta Braves. McCann, touted by many as the best catcher in the South, was the 64th overall pick of the draft.

Brown, a native of Hueytown, Ala., was selected in the 19th round last year by the Boston Red Sox, but opted to return for his senior year at Alabama. A 66-game starter, Brown batted .320 (70-for-219) with 11 home runs and 64 RBI. He set the UA single-season record with 69 walks, breaking the previous mark of 66 walks held by Bret Elbin (1983).

In his four-year career, Brown batted .337 (307-for-910) with 46 home runs and 230 RBI. He holds six UA career records, including games played (251), games started (251), runs scored (244), RBI (230), walks (207) and putouts (1,660). In addition, he is the only player in SEC history with 300 career hits (307) and 200 career walks (207).

Cormier, a native of Lafayette, La., was drafted for the third time in 2002 and each time his stock improved. Cormier was a 40th round pick by the Cincinnati Reds (1998) out of high school and was taken in the 10th round (2001) after his junior season at Alabama. Cormier opted to return for his senior year and that move paid off for the both he and the Crimson Tide.

The right-hander posted an 11-3 record and 3.28 ERA in 17 starts, leading the Crimson Tide (51-15) to an SEC Western Division championship and SEC Tournament Championship. Cormier set the Alabama single season record with 129 innings pitched this season.

Cormier posted a 31-16 (.660) record in his four-year career with the Tide. He also added 12 complete games and 17 saves to his pitching resume. In addition, he concluded his UA career with four school records, including most appearances (87), wins (31), innings pitched (384 2/3) and strikeouts (289).

McClanahan concluded his senior year with a .297 (80-for-269) batting average, with 14 home runs and 62 RBI. He led the Crimson Tide with home runs and was second in the team in RBI and stolen bases (20-for-25). In addition, McClanahan led the SEC with eight outfield assists, marking the second time in his career he led the league in that category.

In 227 career games, McClanahan batted .312 (238-for-763) with 24 home runs and 129 RBI. He also added 56 stolen bases to rank among the school's all-time leaders. McClanahan, who started 126 consecutive games in center field, is also the school's all-time leader with 22 career outfield assists.

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