ST. LOUIS -- Andrew Brodbeck's professional baseball journey is just about to begin, but the Cardinals' ninth-round selection of the 2015 MLB Draft has already accomplished something in his career that his favorite player, former St. Louis World Series MVP David Eckstein, never did.
A 5-foot-10, 185-pound second baseman, who has idolized Eckstein since reading his book as a child, Brodbeck just wrapped up his senior season at Flagler, a Division II school in St. Augustine, Fla. Eckstein attended a tryout at the college, but he did not make the team and wound up walking on at the University of Florida in 1994. Eckstein was drafted by the Red Sox in the 19th round of the 1997 Draft.
"I thought that was pretty ironic that our coach at Flagler overlooked him," Brodbeck said before rattling off a list of things he respects about Eckstein, who was the Cards' shortstop from 2005-07. "The way he played the game, he obviously doesn't have hardly any of the tools, but he got the job done and he loved the game. I admire every single thing about him."
Brodbeck considers himself a similar type of player, and he thinks it will make the Cardinals a "perfect fit" for him. Cards director of scouting Chris Correa described Brodbeck as "a fast, scrappy second baseman who is going to add a lot to this organization."
Brodbeck hit .384 in 47 games for Flagler this season, drew 37 walks and went 23-for-27 stealing bases.
"Brodbeck is a good performer, and we were really surprised by all the tools he showed," Correa said. "He's a plus runner, [and] has a really short, compact swing. He's going to be able to hit for average, and we're really excited to see what he can do."
Eckstein's hometown of Sanford, Fla., and Brodbeck's hometown of Palm Harbor, Fla., are separated by 130 miles. Their college careers nearly took a similar path, but even though Eckstein didn't make the team at his alma mater, Brodbeck is intent on emulating the two-time All-Star.
"I just really tried to model not only my playing after him, but just the mentality he carried, how humble he was," Brodbeck said. "I think the game lacks players like that, and I think that's why I did get my name called by St. Louis that high, just because I try to play the game the right way, how it's supposed to be played."
David Cobb is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.