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A's 13th-rounder Siddall following in father's footsteps

OAKLAND -- Their family room had become a waiting room of sorts, and Brett Siddall was fumbling through his phone while parents Joe and Tamara sat nearby, half-listening to Draft coverage on their laptop Wednesday morning.

"We were watching so many picks go through that you almost become a little oblivious to it all and maybe not paying attention as closely," said Joe. "Then all of a sudden, we heard his name, and it was crazy. We just erupted and started jumping up and down. It was really awesome."

The A's had taken Brett, a third-year outfielder at Canisius College, in the 13th round -- and the Siddalls were pretty certain that's what they had heard.

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"We looked at each other and were like, 'Was that actually my name?'" said Brett. "It was definitely pretty special having both my parents here. To be able to give them a hug when my name was called, it was something I've always dreamed of and something I'll remember forever, no matter what happens the rest of my career."

Joe Siddall spent parts of four seasons with the Expos, Marlins and Tigers and is now enjoying his first stint in the broadcast booth as a radio analyst for the Blue Jays. He made the nearly four-hour drive from Toronto to his family's home in Windsor, Ontario, on Sunday evening, bypassing the Blue Jays' home series with the Marlins to share in the Draft experience with his son.

Joe was never drafted himself, having signed with the Expos as a free agent in 1987 after attending several open scouting camps. Residents of Canada were not eligible for the MLB Draft at that time.

Shortly after the end of his playing career, Joe latched on with Detroit again as a part-time batting-practice pitcher.

"Just a part-time gig to stay involved in baseball and hopefully do more one day," he said.

That day came sooner than expected. Tragedy hit the Siddall family last February, when their youngest of four children, 14-year-old Kevin, passed away after a battle with blood cancer.

Jerry Howarth, radio voice of the Blue Jays, reached out to Joe by e-mail at the time, relaying his condolences. Joe thanked him and, at the end of his e-mail, told him, partly in jest, "Looking forward to seeing you guys when Toronto comes to Detroit, or maybe in the broadcast booth one day."

"He replied right away," said Joe, "and said, 'How about right now?'"

Jack Morris had left the Blue Jays radio broadcasts, and the team was on the hunt for a new analyst. Joe was hired within the month.

"We're trying to make positives out of everything," said Joe, "which is why this is truly a really special day for our family."

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There is no exact science to the Draft. Jim Thome and Albert Pujols were once 13th-round picks, as Brett became Wednesday.

The 21-year-old was named Metro Atlantic Athletics Conference's player of the year, after batting .343/.388/.593 with 11 home runs and 19 doubles for Canisius.

Now, he's wearing an A's cap.

"A couple of my friends brought me an Oakland hat," he said. "I think they cleared them out of the sporting stores here."

Jane Lee is a reporter for
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