Upper Darby native Jim Haley has been swinging for the big leagues all his life, and he didn’t miss a pitch in his rookie season for the Hudson Valley Renegades, the farm team of the Tampa Bay Rays.
In fact, Haley even enjoyed the rare opportunity to have home-field advantage while playing an away game. He returned to Medlar Field, where he spent three seasons at Penn State, to get his first pro hit (a triple) against the State College Spikes, according to a GoPSUsports.com report by Jack Dougherty.
Haley’s early training at Bonner and Prendergast High School in Drexel Hill led him to Penn State and that pinnacle moment in June when he was drafted by the Rays in the 19th round.
“That phone call, all of that work that I put in from college back to high school and everything, all of those emotions just flooded me in that minute and a half,” Haley said of being drafted. “It was kind of surreal.”
The local star finished his rookie season for the Renegades of the New York-Penn League batting third-best on the team at .285. He collected 70 hits, 19 RBIs, and 27 runs.
“It was just one of those things you can’t write up any better,” Haley said. “Going back to your home field to get used to pro ball definitely made it a lot easier and made the transition a lot more comfortable.”
Read more about Haley’s baseball career from GoPSUsports.com here.