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Clay Calfee: From Baselines to Fence Lines

April 10, 2008

Senior Clay Calfee is one of the best collegiate baseball players in the country, but he feels as much at home on the range as he does on the diamond.

An animal science major, Calfee has it tough in the spring, having to limit his time at the ASU Ranch while he plays first base for the ASU Rams. But, despite the hectic baseball travel schedule, he still squeezes in his other favorite pastime.

“I spent a lot of time at the ranch for a couple of years,” Calfee said. “This year I only have one lab class out there, but just the other day I went out there and we were working some sheep.”

This spring is even harder on Calfee because he is a bona fide Major League Baseball prospect. “Baseball America” magazine named him a preseason All-American and the top prospect in NCAA Division II.

“I’ve been getting a bunch of stuff from pro teams,” Calfee said. “I have to fill out all this paperwork and I have more of that than I do schoolwork. I always tell myself I’m going to work on stuff for my classes when I’m on the road, but it’s hard to do that. I’ve been pretty swamped.”

Originally a catcher, Calfee was an all-district and All-Montgomery County selection for Conroe High School. But, now at 6’6” and 220 pounds, he has “outgrown” his catcher’s gear at ASU.

“I guess I got too lanky for the position,” Calfee said. “I came here and caught in the fall, but it didn’t really work out. So, I was pitching and playing first base. Now I’m just concentrating on playing first base.”

That is just fine with the ASU baseball team that almost didn’t get Calfee’s services. He was planning to attend a junior college in the Metroplex until a scout put him in touch with ASU baseball coach Kevin Brooks.

“I came out here on a visit,” Calfee said. “Something just didn’t feel right about the other school, but it felt good here, so this is where I came. It has been a much better deal for me.”

That better deal helped Calfee earn Lone Star Conference Freshman of the Year honors in 2006 and a spot on the 2007 All-America second team after helping lead the Rams to their first appearance at the NCAA DII College World Series.

In his limited spare time, Calfee enjoys hunting and fishing, but has still found occasion to make the Dean’s List and to serve on ASU’s Student Athletic Advisory Committee. He is scheduled to graduate in December and, on the off-chance that baseball doesn’t work out for him, he can always head back to the ranch.