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Glendora Catcher Brown Wants More Green Than White Sox Are Offering

June 20, 1985|MITCH POLIN | Times Staff Writer

For Glendora High School catcher Kurt Brown, it has turned into a waiting game.

And the 18-year-old senior is perfectly willing to play along.

Brown, selected fifth overall by the Chicago White Sox in the June major league baseball free-agent draft, says he would like to play pro ball.

The problem is money.

Brown, who batted .500 with 13 home runs and 42 runs batted in for Glendora last season, and his parents have had several contract discussions with White Sox officials, but Brown and the team are about as far apart as Glendora and Chicago.

Fortunately for Brown, he has an option.

'I Can Wait'

The 6-2, 205-pounder, the first high school player chosen in the draft, had previously signed a national letter of intent to attend Cal State Long Beach as a football and baseball player.

"I would like to play for the White Sox, but if I don't get the right offer I can wait," Brown said. "I've got all summer to sign (before school starts). If it doesn't work out I'll be going to Long Beach State."

Brown said he was excited when he learned that the White Sox had drafted him on June 3.

"It was about 11:45 a.m. and I was in the locker room when my coach called me to come down to take a phone call and they (the White Sox) told me that they picked me. It was very exciting. There was a lot of jumping and screaming."

It was surprising, Brown said, to be selected fifth overall in the draft, although a college baseball publication had consistently listed him as the top prep player in the nation and many major league scouts agreed with that assessment.

Impressed by His Hitting

"I was expecting to be picked between 10th and 15th, but before the draft they (Chicago) told me I was going to be their choice," Brown said.

"They saw me hit and they were impressed. They said they were going to draft me (in the first round), but it was just an area scout who saw me and I wasn't sure how much impact he would have."

Impressed or not, Brown said the White Sox have not made a big effort to sign him.

At least not yet.

"The first week we talked Wednesday (June 5) and Friday and since then it's been nothing. They haven't talked to me in over a week. The last time we talked they made me what they felt was a fair offer, but it wasn't what I had in mind."

A Later Phone Call

When Chicago officials met with Brown the last time "they came to the house and we didn't come up with anything, so they just wished me good luck with college and left. Then they called back about a half-hour later and started throwing out some more figures. I guess they were just trying to get an idea of how much (money) we were talking about."

Brown said it also has been difficult to negotiate with the White Sox because of NCAA regulations, which restrict a player from using an agent.

"(Last) Monday the NCAA called and told us that all you can say (to a pro team) is yes or no. If they make an offer, all you can say is it's acceptable or it's not acceptable. So it's kind of tough to do much negotiating."

He figured that White Sox officials would contact him again when they came to the Southland last weekend to face the California Angels.

He was a little disappointed when he didn't hear from them.

No Call, No Tickets

"They didn't even call me. I figured they would at least talk to me or maybe offer me tickets or something, but I didn't hear a word from them."

Brown hasn't had the same difficulty with Cal State Long Beach officials. He said they have maintained close contact since the draft.

"At Long Beach State, they've been very supportive all along. They want me to go there. They even had Bobby Grich (of the Angels) call me."

If Brown, recruited as a linebacker for football, decides to attend Long Beach, the White Sox would still hold his draft rights for two years. He would be eligible for the secondary phase of the free-agent draft after his sophomore year with the 49ers.

Brown is hoping he doesn't have to wait that long to play pro baseball.

"Right now it's just a matter of money," he said. "There's a point where it's worth it to skip college. We just haven't gotten to that point yet."

Brown said he still expects the White Sox to call with a more suitable offer before long. He just doesn't know when.

"I know they'll come back with something more acceptable. It's just a matter of waiting them out."

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