Jeff Bercume ‘09
His story is almost improbable; one of determination, a hamstring injury, disappointment, and second chances, but ask Jeff Bercume ‘09, an outfielder for the Vancouver Canadiens, and he is just thankful he is a professional baseball player.
Jeff walked onto Merrimack as a freshman, making the Warriors baseball team. Over the next four years, he went on to hit a career .356, and finished as the College’s all-time triples leader, and one of its all time hits leaders, in a single season.
Nearly two years ago, Jeff was passed over in the 2009 MLB Draft, a move that didn’t shock him, yet it meant his entry to professional baseball had to go down a long and winding road. His journey took him from Medford, Massachusetts, all the way to California, east to Arizona, and up into Canada.
His stats in his final two seasons were about as impressive as can be, and because Bercume used wooden bats, compared to the metal ones used by most collegiate players, should’ve made him a prospect for the MLB Draft. When he was passed over, Bercume didn’t give up.
After a summer of tryouts, the California Winter League was the best option to showcase his skills, and Jeff jumped at the opportunity. Scouts frequented the games, and things were looking up, through 15 games. Unfortunately, a hamstring injury halted his stint with the Palm Springs Chill early, and Bercume headed home to rehab the injury, unsure of where he stood.
Despite undergoing extensive rehab, the Oakland A’s continued to pursue giving him a tryout once he had healed up.
“I didn’t think it was over. I did think that I had a really good opportunity with the Oakland A’s that might have sailed away, cause of the hamstring problem. Fortunately, he (scout Craig Weissman) stayed in touch with me, and I was able to get my leg back to where it needed to be. He took a chance on me, it was great.”
Presented with a tryout in Extended Spring Training with the A’s, Jeff jumped at the chance to showcase his stuff with the staff at Papago Park.
Two years ago Jeff became a professional baseball player. Ultimately, Jeff’s goal is to play for the Athletics in the Major Leagues, he loves the organization, and the chance they presented him with. Short term, with the C’s, he’s keeping it simple, with an approach he’s taken since putting on the Warrior jersey at Merrimack for the first time. “Taking it one day at a time. Breaking the season up into smaller parts, and not letting past at-bats become a distraction is big.”
Jeff writes about his experiences in the minors on his aptly named blog http://108stitchez.com/ (did you know there are 108 stitches in a baseball?)