When the Cubs selected Ed Howard 16th overall in the 2020 MLB Draft on Wednesday, they didn't just pick a local Chicago kid, nor did they simply select the player some consider to be the best shortstop in the Draft class. No, they helped Theo Epstein fulfill a promise he
When the Cubs selected Ed Howard 16th overall in the 2020 MLB Draft on Wednesday, they didn't just pick a local Chicago kid, nor did they simply select the player some consider to be the best shortstop in the Draft class. No, they helped Theo Epstein fulfill a promise he made to Howard and his Little League teammates in 2014.
After Jackie Robinson West's historic run in the Little League World Series as the first all-black team to reach Williamsport in several decades, the Cubs' GM spoke to the team at a celebratory rally.
Epstein told the team, "Keep playing the game of baseball, keep grinding, keep working in school, go to college, do your thing and we'll see you in the Draft around 2023."
Well, Epstein was close -- off by just a few years because Howard's performance and strong tools across the board made him an intriguing selection.
Because of the appearance at the LLWS, you can see Howard grow on the field from a tiny Little Leaguer to the lanky, line drive-lashing shortstop the Cubs selected:
While Cubs fans are ecstatic, White Sox supporters might be gnashing their teeth a little. That's because Howard is from the city's South Side, home to the Sox, and he also played for the White Sox's Amateur City Elite Team.
"I grew up in a White Sox hat," Howard told Yahoo's Maddie Lee before the Draft.
Now, Howard is obviously all about the Cubbies, which should only make the rivalry all the more impressive in the coming years.
"I wanted to be a hometown kid," Howard told MLB.com's Jordan Bastian. "I'm excited it's with the Cubs. I think that's a great organization. I watch a lot of Cubs games, follow them, know a lot of their players and things like that, so I’m excited to be a hometown guy. It's special."
Michael Clair writes for MLB.com. He spends a lot of time thinking about walk-up music and believes stirrup socks are an integral part of every formal outfit.