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Cholla grad still chasing his dream

Citizen Staff Writer



Nine years passed between the time Mel Stocker graduated from Cholla High School and when he achieved his dream of playing major league baseball.

That day came Sept. 1, 2007, when he was called up by the Milwaukee Brewers. The experience was brief, as he appeared in only nine games. He was 0 for 3 at the plate but stole four bases.

Stocker is trying to get back to the big leagues. He split time last season between Class A and Triple A.

Despite finishing last season with an overall .300 batting average, Stocker, a 16th-round selection out of Arizona State University by Kansas City in the 2001 draft, became a free agent again.

He signed a minor-league contract four days ago with the Seattle Mariners. A split squad game against Arizona on Friday at Tucson Electric Park allowed Stocker the opportunity to return home.

Stocker entered the game in the fourth inning and went hitless in one official at-bat. He walked his first time at the plate.

Stocker says he will always fondly recall his time in the Big Show.

“It was one of the greatest experiences in my life,” said Stocker, who resides in Florida. “To actually see your dreams fulfilled by having an opportunity to go play at the big league level, you couldn’t ask for more.

“I guess you can compare it to your first Christmas that you remember. It’s one of the greatest times. The guys in the clubhouse were great and the different cities we went to were great.

“It doesn’t hurt to get to meet Hank Aaron, who I believe pioneered the way for black athletes.”

Stocker knows time is closing in on him at age 28.

“I don’t think it’s going to get out of my veins,” Stocker said. “Being at the age I am now, I look at it. . . . We’ll see. Only time will tell.”

Stocker is realistic about his chances of breaking camp with the Mariners.

“You look at this organization and they’re stacked in the outfield,” he said. “But you come out and perform and if things don’t work out, you’ll probably be able to go someplace else.”

Cholla grad still chasing his major league dreams


Arizona vs. Kansas City, 1:05 p.m., Surprise; Colorado vs. Seattle, 1:10 p.m., Hi Corbett Field

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