Ben Waldrip bio
Player: Ben Waldrip
Nickname: Big Ben
Position: First base
Jersey Number: 40
School: Jacksonville (Ala.) State
Hometown: Medford, Mass.
Height, Weight: 6-6, 245
Best Baseball Memory: Playing in the Cape Cod Baseball League for the Orleans Firebirds and making the All-State Game at Fenway Park and having the opportunity to play in Boston in front of my whole family at Fenway.
Greatest Baseball Accomplishment: Being drafted three times and finally in the 10th round by the Colorado Rockies and having the opportunity to start my professional baseball career.
Favorite Player Growing Up: Jim Thome because he was a big left-handed hitter and always handled himself like a professional on and off the field.
Most Influential Player/Role Model: My mother and father. They supported me and my two brothers our entire lives and made numerous sacrifices to help out me and my brothers.
Favorite Food: Chicken parmesan.
Favorite Pregame Meal: Peanut butter and jelly.
Off-field hobbies: Hunting and fishing.
Favorite Movie: “Cool Hand Luke.”
Favorite Book: “A Walk with Daimon,” by Peter Delani.
More than one person watched Ben Waldrip take grounders and throws at first base during the first practice for the Grand Junction Rockies and said the same thing: “Man, he’s big.”
Yes, Waldrip (6-foot-6, 245 pounds) comes by his nickname of “Big Ben” honestly. Drafted three times, he was the 10th-round pick of the Rockies this season and signed out of Jacksonville (Ala.) State. In 2010 the Atlanta Braves drafted him in the 42nd round, and Kansas City made him a 40th-round pick in 2011.
He’s got power from the left side of the plate, with 18 home runs and 61 RBI his senior year at Jacksonville, and he said he was excited to see how that translates in the thin air and hitter-friendly park at Suplizio Field.
“Balls will get out of here, and in Colorado with the higher altitude, you’re going to have some balls carrying,” he said. “You try not to think about it. You want to stay with your approach and square balls up and let the field and the conditions do the rest.”
Waldrip started his college career in New Hampshire, but although he grew up in Medford, Mass., he decided the weather wasn’t conducive to baseball. He transferred to a junior college in California, then headed back across the country to Jacksonville State.
“My dad lives in Arkansas, so it was good to get someplace where he could see some of my games,” Waldrip said. “I grew up in Medford with my mom, and she saw me all through high school, and Dad didn’t get to see me that much, so it was nice he got to see me toward the end of my college career.”
Like most players, getting that phone call during the draft is a highlight, especially since he was watching the draft with his dad.
“Your whole life, people ask you, ‘Hey, what do you want to do when you get older?’ You always say, ‘I want to be a professional ballplayer, I want to play in the major leagues,’ stuff like that,” he said. “People now say, ‘Hey, he plays for the Rockies.’ They don’t ask you, they’re labeling you a professional baseball player.
“That hasn’t really sunk in yet, but when it does, it’s something special, and you can only do it for so long. It’s something you don’t want to take for granted; it’s something you want to cherish while you have it.”