May 30, 2000
PULLMAN, Wash. -- After a record-breaking career on the diamond at Washington State University, senior baseball player Ray Hattenburg signed a professional baseball contract to play for the Kansas City Royals Monday afternoon in Spokane.
The senior utility player was contacted by the Royals after the conclusion of the 2000 seasons and with the draft stipulation of being a fifth-year senior, Hattenburg decided to forgo his eligibility in the June 5 Amateur Draft and was signed as a free agent by regional scout Greg Smith.
"Everything just seemed right and I am just excited to be playing professional baseball," Hattenburg said from his home in Pullman. "It has been a dream of mine to play at the next level and it is all I ever worked for in my career at WSU. I couldn't be more thankful to my teammates and my coaches at WSU for making this dream a reality."
For the Spokane, Wash., native and product of Mead High School, signing with the Royals organization has an even sweeter bonus. The switch-hitter will more than likely start the season with the hometown Spokane Indians, the Royals rookie level entrant in the Northwest League. Hattenburg is scheduled to report to the Indians on June 12 and with his utility role as a player is expected to fill in at any number of positions.
"You really couldn't draw it up any better than to start my career at home in front of all my friends and family," Hattenburg said. "I grew up going to games to watch the Indians and chasing foul balls. Now I am going to be one of the guys out there on the field. I can't wait to get out on the field and start playing."
Hattenburg, who was named an All-Pac-10 performer for the second consecutive year last week, led the Cougars at the plate in 2000 with a .359 batting average, 17 doubles, 40 runs scored and 80 hits. His career batting average in four seasons with the Cougars was .355, ranking eighth in 105 seasons of WSU baseball. Hattenburg started games at every position but pitcher, catcher and shortstop in his Cougar career.
Hattenburg's 1999 batting average of .398 earned him honorable mention All-American status and ranked fourth all-time in the WSU record books. Over the past two seasons, Hattenburg blistered opposing pitching for a .378 (168x444) average and 51 multiple-hit games. He ended is historic career with a bang, going a perfect 5-for-5 with four runs scored in a 16-9 season-ending win over the Oregon State Beavers.
For complete draft coverage on the rest of the WSU Cougar players, please stay tuned to www.wsucougars.com on or near the June 5 Amateur Baseball Draft.
Copy by Jeff R. Evans
WSU Sports Information Alumni