WASHINGTON -- Darren Baker has come a long way since he was the 3-year-old bat boy who needed to be swept off his feet by Giants first baseman J.T. Snow during the 2002 World Series. Now he is a 5-foot-11, 160-pound shortstop out of Jesuit High School in Carmichael, Calif.,
WASHINGTON -- Darren Baker has come a long way since he was the 3-year-old bat boy who needed to be swept off his feet by Giants first baseman J.T. Snow during the 2002 World Series. Now he is a 5-foot-11, 160-pound shortstop out of Jesuit High School in Carmichael, Calif., who the Nationals selected in the 27th round of the 2017 MLB Draft on Wednesday afternoon.
Fifty years ago, his father -- current Nationals manager Dusty Baker -- was just out of high school when he was drafted in the 26th round of the 1967 MLB Draft by the Braves. Darren had been following the Draft the past few days at Nationals Park while he was busy hitting out of the batting cage and taking grounders before games. About four or five organizations were in contract with Darren on Wednesday.
And while the elder Baker called Darren's selection flattering, he also said there was "a good chance" Darren would honor his commitment to attend the University of California, Berkeley.
"His upside and potential is big-time," Dusty Baker said. "He can go to college and get his strength up and hopefully have a good time and be more mature when he comes out of college. It's flattering that he was chosen and it wasn't a favor.
"We chose him as a shortstop and everyone else wanted to choose him as a center fielder because they like his speed and like his ability in the outfield even though he hasn't played much outfield."
Darren hears about that night during the 2002 World Series all the time, but he does not remember much about it. Snow came across the plate to score, with David Bell barreling down the third-base line behind him, when 3-year-old Darren -- the youngest bat boy in Major League history -- had run to the plate to collect Kenny Lofton's bat.
Now he is all grown up and hit .396 while leading off during his senior season of high school. Over the years, Darren has been tutored in the game by not only Dusty, who played professionally from 1968-86, but by several players who were on teams coached or managed by Dusty. That includes stars like Barry Bonds, Joey Votto and Brandon Phillips, who remains in touch with Darren.
Darren will spend the summer in Washington playing for the D.C. Grays of the Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League as he prepares for the next step in his career.
The Nationals also selected a fourth-generation member of the Boone family during Wednesday's Draft, when they selected Jake Boone, son of former second baseman Bret Boone, in the 38th round. Jake is also the grandson of Bob Boone, the Nationals senior advisor to the general manager. He owns a commitment to Princeton University.
Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier.