Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sam Tuivailala May Blaze Trail in Baseball

Sam Tuivailala, who was selected in the third round Tuesday by the St. Louis Cardinals in the major league baseball first-year player draft, will go down as one of the greatest athletes in Aragon High School history.

"I don't know if we ever had a kid at the school with the wide variety of skills Sam has," said Aragon athletic director and football coach Steve Sell, an Aragon grad himself.

In addition to baseball, Tuivailala stood out as a quarterback in football and as a guard in basketball.

"If he hadn't played basketball, he could've been one of the best soccer players in the county," Sell said. "In football if we had another quarterback, he could've been the best receiver in the county."

That Tuivailala's best sport is baseball is interesting in and of itself.

To the best of my knowledge there has never been a major leaguer of Tongan ancestry.
Jefferson grad Tony Solaita was born in Samoa and played in the majors as a left-handed hitting first baseman for the Angels.

"People asked me when I started high school why I was playing baseball, that Polynesians don't play baseball," Tuivailala said. "I guess I just wanted to be different."

Mission accomplished.

We all knew Tuivailala was attracting a lot of attention from pro scouts. They were at all the Aragon games. Most observers assumed he would be drafted as a pitcher.

But the Cardinals like his athleticism. St. Louis scouting director Jeff Luhnow told the hometown Post Dispatch that they were drafting Tuivailala as a shortstop.


Tuivailala, who will be represented by Adam Karon of Sosnick Cobbe Sports, has a lot of options.

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