Thomas Pauly ’04 enjoying curve
ball life pitched him
by Sara Peters
few weeks before spring training starts, most baseball players
spend their time doing extra push-ups, eating extra cookies,
or sleeping extra late. Few baseball players choose to spend
their last weeks doing extra algorithms and polishing up
a chemical engineering thesis.
Thomas Pauly’s baseball
by Frank Wojciechowski
Thomas Pauly ’04 traded
his position as a chemical engineering student to
play in the minor league system for the Cincinnati
Yet, Thomas Pauly ’04 took this second, less-traveled
road. Last June the Cincinnati Reds drafted Thomas into their
minor league system. Yet Thomas, a chemical engineering (ChE)
major, needed to hand in his thesis before beginning training
on March 5. He is now playing on the Reds’ A team the
Dayton Dragons in Dayton, Ohio.
For those who are not Sports Illustrated subscribers,
minor league baseball is organized into several levels. Players
are assigned from bottom to top in rookie, A, AA, and AAA
“It’s really a great surprise,” Thomas
said. “A lot of kids who play college baseball dream
about pro baseball. For me, it was so far away that it never
even crossed my mind. I just got lucky.”
Thomas, who has the overly casual, deep, scratchy voice
of most young men his age, will credit just about anything
but his own talent for his accomplishment. For example:
• His high school coach was
friends with the Princeton University coach.
• In high school he was a two-sport
athlete. In college he was able to focus on baseball.
• He started growing late and didn’t
really mature physically until college.
• He worked out a lot so he wouldn’t “embarrass” himself
on a baseball field.
He even gives chemical engineering some credit.
“Since ChE is so hard, I would use my baseball workouts
as stress relief,” he said.
However it happened, during his P.U. pitching career he
went from throwing 82 m.p.h. on a good day to throwing 95
By sophomore year, scouts were paying
him attention. At one game several scouts were in the stands
to take a look at Thomas’s teammate. Yet, a few voice
mails from scouts were waiting for Thomas when he returned
to his dorm room that night.
By June following his junior year,
he’d been drafted,
and he racked up respectable stats last summer in Dayton.
Still true to form as a Princeton student, academics have
remained important to Thomas.
“I still have to get my degree, and I have to get
it as soon as possible,” he said. “By the time
I got drafted I’d already put in three hard years toward
my engineering degree. I don’t want to throw that away.”
Thomas is not allowing himself be
carried away by major league dreams. He’s not planning
any soft drink endorsements yet, though he did sign a few
baseball cards for his friends in ChE.
“I don’t know what I’ll do when baseball’s
done,” he said. “I haven’t figured it out
yet. Nor do I plan on figuring it out for awhile. I’m
just playing to win every day, and trying to have fun where
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