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Thursday, June 7, 2012

San Diego Padres pick Iona College baseball star Chris Burke in 18th round of ... - New York Daily News

 Chris Burke is picked in thw 2012 MLB Amateur draft Wednesday in the 18th round, 555th overall.

Courtesy Iona Athletics

Chris Burke is picked by the Padres in the 2012 MLB Amateur draft Wednesday in the 18th round, 555th overall.

Chris Burke wanted some alone time as he waited for his name to be called in the 2012 Major League Baseball First-Year Draft.

There was no big party waiting for the announcement. No friends or family descending on his house in Islip to witness the big moment. Instead Burke just sat in his room watching the draft unfold on MLB Network, patiently waiting for his name to pop up on the screen.

“I was sitting in my room, I was alone actually,” said Burke, the MAAC Player of he Year this past season for Iona College. “Then Jim Bretz from the Padres called me (Wednesday) morning and he said you’re next on our draft so stay by the phone. I watched the 15th, 16th and the 17th rounds go by and then 18th came up and I saw my name come up on the screen and they announced my name and I just jumped out of my chair and ran to my mom’s room and gave her a hug.”

It was worth the wait for Burke as the Padres plucked him in the 18th round â€" the 555th pick overall for the Gaels third baseman who hit .351 overall this season with 11 homers and 50 RBI in 53 games this season. In conference play Burke was even more lethal, toting a .409 average with five homers and 26 RBI in 23 MAAC games.

Burke said Wednesday morning was a little tense in the Burke household.

“We didn’t do too much talking,” Burke said. “And then when it happened me and my mom both got really excited.”

Burke said he had an inkling the Padres might be targeting him at some point in the draft because they had him in for a workout several weeks back.

“I thought the Padres were going to be the one because they invited me to a pre-draft workout a few weeks back in Cincinnati so I went there and did well and they told me I did great.” Burke said. “I didn’t know what round I would be taken in. I just waited patiently.”

Burke said he doesn’t currently have someone to represent him as yet but said the Padres told him they would be in touch in a few days and to get ready to report to rookie camp in Peoria, Arizona. In the meantime Burke is chomping at the bit to begin his baseball career.

“So many emotions, I can’t really describe it,” said Burke, Iona’s all-time hits leader with 226 while finishing second in games played (188), at bats (689), RBI (138) and stolen bases (52). “All (Wednesday) morning I was waiting for it to happen and then it did. It’s unbelievable to think it would happen to me.”

Burke said he got so many congratulatory phone calls that he missed a pretty important call in the process.

“I actually missed Mr. Bretz phone call initially because my phone was going off the hook,” Burke said. “I had to call him back. I also got about over 100 Facebook messages congratulating me and everything. It’s really been overwhelming.”

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