Joe Terry declines a MLB offer

Pete Moye

Former Cerritos College baseball player Joe Terry was drafted by two Major League Baseball organizations yet he still chose to attend college before making the decision to go pro.

Terry, a former standout at Long Beach Poly High School was voted the team’s Most Valuable Player as a senior, and also earned the team’s Hitter Award as a junior.

 “He wasn’t a very verbal leader because he was still trying to decide whether he wanted to play baseball or basketball but he went out there and led by example. He had such hunger, and such ambition on the diamond, he was a good model for everyone,”

Long Beach Poly baseball coach Toby Hess said. Hess became the head baseball coach at Poly during terry’s junior year.

“He is the best combination of power and speed that I’ve seen. He and [former jackrabbit teammate] Brent Tani carried an offense that didn’t hit well,” Hess said.

Terry was not heavily scouted and did not receive any scholarship offers out of high school so he decided to go to Cerritos.

He had a productive freshman season, and was named All-America, All-Southern California Conference, and the South Coast Conference Player of the Year.

He was then drafted in the 17th Round by the Seattle Mariners organization in the 2009 MLB draft. He led the team him batting average, hits, runs, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI, total bases, and slugging percentage.

His 14 triples was a new team record, breaking a 25-year-old record set by Ron Ewart in 1985.  As a team, the Falcons advanced to the Southern California Regional Playoffs before being eliminated by Mt. San Jacinto College.

Terry was unavailable for comments.

While mostly used at second and third base, he has had experience in the outfield. “Joe was just a really talented player with all the tools you need to play the game. He was always on the field before games practicing. I began teaching him the outfield positions, and while he did struggle with it at first, and he kept practicing it, and he improved,” Rochester Honkers coach Ryan Ruiz.

Terry was named the team most valuable player after batting .426%, with 43 hits, and two hits. After not signing with the Mariners, he returned to Cerritos for his sophomore season.

He was out for 16 games after suffering a shoulder injury, and consequently he had lower numbers after returning in mid-April. His batting average dropped from .426 percent to .357 percent.  He was moved to designated hitter after the injury.

“He is an outstanding hitter but after his injury, his draft stock dropped,” Cerritos College baseball coach Ken Gaylord said. Following his sophomore season, he went to Rochester to play for the Rochester Honkers (MN) in the Northwoods League, a summer collegiate league.

He had a .350 percent batting average with ten homeruns and 42 RBI.

Terry was drafted in the 8th round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Chicago White Sox; if he had signed, it is likely he would have be been optioned to the Great Falls Voyagers of the Pioneer Baseball League.  

He is going to attend and play at Cal State Fullerton. “He wants to go to college, and get his degree for him and his family,” says Gaylord.