Detroit Tigers select Pitt product, Norwin grad Connor Perry in 28th round
A couple of major league teams called during Day 2 of the MLB Draft, but they decided to pass on Connor Perry.
More calls came during Day 3. Still, nothing.
Perry’s nerves were tested, but during the 28th round, he got a call from the Detroit Tigers. The conversation went well, but the Norwin grad was not certain the Tigers were picking him. After all, he already had a few conversations that did not yield results.
As friends and family watched a live feed, Perry’s brother Dylan began screaming and jumped on him.
“His phone was a little quicker than our feed,” Perry said with a laugh. “When he started screaming, I figured something happened. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.”
And just like that, Perry and his family went from Pittsburgh Pirates fans to Tigers fans. Detroit selected the Pitt center fielder June 5 with the 832nd selection.
A great guy on the field and off, the local kid is taking his talents to Detroit!
— Pitt Baseball (@Pitt_BASE) June 5, 2019
“It’s just an amazing feeling. It really feels good,” Perry said. “I’m very excited for this opportunity.”
Perry signed with the Tigers on June 12 and reported to the Gulf Coast League Tigers in Lakeland, Fla. He hopes to spend two to three weeks there, impress the right people and get promoted to the Tigers’ short-season affiliate in Norwich, Conn. It’s the beginning of a potentially long journey, but considering what he went through to get this far, doubting him would be unwise.
— Pitt Baseball (@Pitt_BASE) June 12, 2019
Lightly recruited out of Norwin, Perry went to Lock Haven, but he was cut before the start of the second semester. Lacking options, Perry went to Lackawanna County Community College, where he flourished. He spent two years there and caught the attention of Pitt. A lifelong Pitt fan, Perry eagerly accepted when invited to join the team.
And things clicked as a senior.
He led the Panthers with 15 home runs, which ranked fifth in the ACC. Perry batted .289 with 13 doubles, 35 RBIs, a .573 slugging percentage and nine stolen bases. He had 10 multi-RBI games and three multihomer outings. The outfielder, who authored a published note to Pitt shortly after his senior season, earned ABCA/Rawlings All-Region second-team honors on the same day he signed with the Tigers.
“Without Pitt, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Perry said. “I can’t thank Pitt enough. It’s been my home from Day 1 of being on campus.”
Perry was one of three Pitt players selected along with pitchers Dan Hammer (Baltimore Orioles, 13th round) and Derek West (Houston Astros, 14th round).
“We couldn’t be more proud of Dan, Derek and Connor,” Pitt coach Mike Bell said. “Being selected to fulfill lifelong dreams is such a rewarding feeling, and as a staff, we look forward to following their paths to the big leagues as they continue to represent the gold standard here at Pitt.”
Pitt has had at least three players drafted every year since 2013, and Perry is looking forward to following his teammates and other Panthers playing professionally.
“Pitt Panthers baseball, it’s a community. It’s a close-knit group,” Perry said. “We all keep in touch with each other, and I can’t wait until we make it to the (majors).”