The Best High School Baseball Player Ever From Los Angeles??
The alert came on Hunter Greene’s phone as he sat in a psychology class at Notre Dame.
Next came a text from his father Russell said, “Proud of You”.
That was how Greene discovered Tuesday that he became only the 13th high school player ever to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
“I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” Greene said Tuesday night. “It’s every athlete’s dream and to get it at 17 years old is pretty awesome.
Greene also made history as the first California high school athlete to make the cover, according to Cal-Hi Sports. He also is the first African-American prep baseball player on the cover.
The story by Lee Jenkins, which will be on newsstands Thursday but is online now, chronicles Greene’s early days, his sister Libriti’s battle with leukemia and his place as the potential №1 pick in this summer’s MLB Draft with his unique ability as a hitter, shortstop and a pitcher with a 102 mph fastball.
“I laid in bed with tears in my eyes,” Russell Greene said. “Just re-living our story all over again, it’s amazing.”
The most recent high school athletes to make the cover include LeBron James (2002), Sebastian Telfair (2004), Bryce Harper (2009) and Jabari Parker (2012).
Hunter Greene said he got well-wishes throughout the day from classmates and friends.
“Being on the front cover with those guys as role models, it’s crazy. I just hope to be a role model just like they are,” Greene said.
The cover also came on the same day as news broke that Greene would indeed be shut down on the mound for the remainder of the season. As first reported by Baseball America’s Hudson Belinsky, Notre Dame coach Tom Dill had a team meeting where it was decided that Greene would finish the season at shortstop while throwing bullpen sessions to keep his arm fresh.
Russell Greene confirmed the news Tuesday night and said Dill informed him after the meeting took place. Greene’s final start of the season was against Alemany, where he struck out 13 and allowed two hits in a complete game win.
Greene added that Sports Illustrated cover will add even more pressure on his son the rest of the season and beyond but said it will encourage him going forward.
“People are going to look at him expecting things and he’s still just a kid,” Greene said. “He has to rise to that occasion and he will.”
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