The dream of becoming a professional ballplayer captures almost every boy’s heart at some point in their childhood. Playing sports for a living can seem too good to be true for most of them. However, when an individual like Clayton Haltom comes along with a passion for America’s favorite pastime, promising talent and interest from Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays, the odds are in his favor.
Originally from Edgewood, Texas, Clayton was introduced to baseball at the age of four when he started playing T-ball. From then on, baseball followed him throughout his school years.
Clayton currently pitches and plays center field for the Brookhaven College Bears. Although he played shortstop in high school, he says the transition was easy because he’s a fast runner.
His years of practice and experience have made him an exceptional player in the eyes of coaches and scouts. So much so, in fact, that Clayton received an invitation to participate in an all-day workout attended by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and professional baseball scouts.
The workout, held Nov. 18 at Northwood University in Cedar Hill, Texas, included more than 150 players, along with approximately 30 coaches and scouts representing schools such as Louisiana Tech University, Southern Arkansas University, Texas A&M University-Corpus Christie and more. The event was an opportunity for the players to strut their stuff on the field and show what they can bring to the plate.
Athletic drills were held throughout the day, including running, pitching and batting. Although Clayton admits to being a tad nervous, his excitement seemed to prevail. He described the most difficult part of the day to be waiting his turn between events due to the high volume of players in attendance.
After all was said and done, Clayton had an immensely successful day. He impressed coaches and scouts with throwing velocities of 95, 96 and 97 miles per hour, speeds that could give Josh Hamilton a run for his money. Many visited Clayton after the exercise to introduce themselves and to try to peak his interest.
“They said they liked what they saw, and they were going to get in touch with me,” he said.
Since that day, Clayton has received numerous scholarship offerings from schools including Dallas Baptist University, Southern Arkansas University, Tarleton State University, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and University of Texas Pan-American.
With sparked interest from the Toronto Blue Jays, transitioning into the professional leagues isn't a far-off possibility, either. A scout from the team recently made a special trip to Brookhaven College to see Clayton pitch.
Clayton will graduate with his associate degree in the summer. Although he has not made any post-graduation plans or commitments, he expresses an interest in eventually becoming a high school English teacher while coaching baseball on the side.
When asked if he will pursue a professional baseball career, Clayton’s answer reflects his maturity and down-to-earth nature.
“It’s a possibility, but I’m more focused on making sure I get into school next year,” he said.
Congratulations to Clayton on all of his past, present and future successes! We wish him the very best.