The Cubs just keep on winning. Technically, they’re struggling a bit to measure up to last year’s curse-breaking magic, but on Wednesday they gave us an excellent reason to keep cheering for them. With the final pick in the 19th round of this year’s MLB Draft, the Cubs selected Chris Singleton out of Charleston Southern University. Chris is not only a gifted baseball player, he has also served as a source of inspiration in the face of unspeakable tragedy.
On June 17, 2015, white supremacist Dylann Roof walked into a Bible Study at the historic Emmanuel African Methodist Church in Charleston, South Carolina. Not long after, he opened fire, killing nine African Americans and leaving another injured. Among the nine killed was Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, a pastor, speech therapist, coach, wife, and mother of three.
The day after the shooting, Sharonda’s son Chris stood in front of news cameras with every justification to be angry, bitter, and vengeful, and did just the opposite:
“We forgive; that’s one thing we are going to do,” Singleton said. “(My mom) loved everybody with all her heart. …Love is always stronger than hate. So if we just loved the way my mom would, then the hate wouldn’t be anywhere close to what love is.”
Roof was sentenced to death in a federal court, and given a life sentence by the State of South Carolina.
MLB teams have been known to use the draft for sentimental purposes, such as when the Seattle Mariners drafted Ken Griffey Jr.’s son Trey in the 24th round of last year’s draft, the same season they retired his #24 jersey. This pick, however, is the Cubs choosing not only a deeply good person, but a good ballplayer, too.
“With what’s happened, obviously there’s some national tragedy,” Cubs’ vice president Jason McLeod told reporters. “The story is unavoidable for him. …(But) first and foremost, he’s a talented player on the field, and we had him evaluated really as almost like a top-10 (round) caliber talent. He’s very athletic, a plus runner, plus defender, a base stealer, and played all three years at Charleston Southern and in the Collegiate Summer League last year.”
Singleton hit a stellar .332 last year at CSU, and hit .276 this year with four home runs. If all goes to plan, we could see him at Wrigley before too long.