Dickerson, Maggi have CWS ties

Alex Dickerson stood in the clubhouse, watching the lone flat screen TV, cheering.

It wasn’t in celebration of the Curve’s 4-0 win on Saturday, though. He was applauding as his alma mater, Indiana, was making the first appearance in the College World Series for a Big Ten team since 1984.

While Dickerson stood cheering, a few locker stalls away was Drew Maggi, who played in the College World Series with Arizona State.

But if either Dickerson or Maggi decided to say no to college, he may not have been standing in the clubhouse of a Pirates affiliate. The two also wouldn’t have made history at their respective schools.

Dickerson and Maggi, two players drafted out of high school originally, decided to not go pro right away, went to college and are prime examples of how that decision can put a player on the map thanks to their performances.

“Even as just a person, I couldn’t handle this lifestyle if I got offered a lot of money out of high school,” Dickerson said while his Hoosiers beat Louisville in their first game of the CWS. “I couldn’t handle it right out of the gate.”

The Washington Nationals drafted Dickerson out of high school in the 48th round. Dickerson said no to go Indiana. After his almost three seasons with the Hoosiers, he improved his stock, getting picked in the third round by the Pirates in 2011.

Maggi also improved where he was drafted when he decided to go to Arizona State. Maggi was drafted in the 47th round in 2008, but after two years with the Sun Devils, he was taken in the 15th round when he signed with the Pirates.

“I think guys that come out of high school that go straight to pro ball, I think they are stupid,” Maggi jokingly said. “Not literally, but I feel like the experience of college is once in a lifetime. My experiences in college, I’d never change. I wouldn’t be who I am today.”

Maggi played a huge part for the 2010 Arizona State team that went to Omaha, including blasting a two-run homer in the 12th inning to send the Sun Devils to the College World Series. That was his second trip to Omaha.

“There’s a feel to it that is just indescribable,” Maggi said of Omaha. “It’s just fans that love baseball. That town is just all about those two weeks of baseball where the best college teams are trying to win a national championship.”

Dickerson’s college career was something also remembered by Indiana baseball fans. He won the Big Ten triple crown (.419, 24 home runs, 75 RBIs) in 2010 as a sophomore, earning him a unanimous selection as the Big Ten Player of the Year. The year before that, Dickerson was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

Those years with the Hoosiers not only earned him a third-round pick, but a $380,700 signing bonus with the Pirates in 2011.

“It made me who I am as a player today on and off the field,” Dickerson said of his college years. “I definitely built all my strengths when I was there.”

While there is no requirement to attended college to enter the MLB draft, college has been helpful for improving stock for guys like Dickerson and Maggi. Several other Curve players weren’t drafted out of high school, but going to college put them on the map.

“You become smarter,more intelligent,” Maggi said. “Definitely the experience, you go to a big college, and you’ve got to learn. I feel like in high school there is no pressure really. Once you get to that level – it’s just – there’s so much pressure on you.”

While Maggi got the ultimate destination – and the most pressure filled – for college baseball players, Dickerson said he is reliving what it would be like through some of his old teammates.

“It’s good to see that program building up,” Dickerson said. “It’s good for the Big Ten. It’s just good to see them finally getting the wins that they needed. Getting to the College World Series, it’s just a huge deal. I’m really stoked for them.”

Both agree that their college years changed who they were as baseball players and people. Those years also prepared them for professional baseball.

“I never been a big leaguer, but I imagine that’s what it feels like,” Maggi said.