Chasing the big-league dream

Medrano has baseball aspirations after UH career

Mark Mayorga

Staff Writer

Cougar center fielder Mike Medrano is chasing that dream every kid that picks up a bat and a glove has: to someday play in the major leagues.

"It has always been a dream for me," he said. "Hopefully I can get drafted and move on up through the organization.

"But if for some reason it doesn't work out this year, I'll be returning to a great club next year."

He was born in Weslaco, Texas, and at an early age his talent for the game shone bright.

Since his parents Mark and Norma were divorced, he got a lot of influence to play baseball through his uncles.

"My mom's brothers definitely influenced me," he said. "They made sure that I followed through with the game. I owe a lot to them for getting me to where I am."

When he was an eight-year-old, his parents decided to remarry and move out of the Rio Grande Valley to a place where they knew their son could develop into a better ball player and get seen by more baseball people.

That place was Pearland, Texas, where he earned four varsity letters at Pearland High School.

Even though he never played on a playoff team, he was honored four consecutive years with all-district selections and in his senior year was named to both the all-Greater Houston team and the all-state team.

"It was some fun times for me there, although I was never on a winning team."

However, his talents were enough to catch the eye of one particular coach, Rayner Noble.

"Coach Noble was the first to see me and always kept up with me," Medrano said.

With the interest that Houston showed in him, it made his decision to come to UH easy.

"Once I saw the facilities, I felt coming here was going to be great for me," he said. "Knowing the guys and talent that were also deciding to come to UH made it clear to me we were going to have a good team."

He is a student of the game and is always trying to learn to play more like his favorite player, San Diego Padre Tony Gwynn.

"(Gwynn's) talent speaks for itself. He's won many batting titles, but I like him also because he is a class act off the field as well."

Medrano has had to learn to adjust through the years to the rigors of college life. But in his third year, maturity is setting in.

"My first two years were rough (partying a lot), but I've battled back this year and got my act together," Medrano said. "But I still have fun. Being with the baseball team gives me the chance to be with the best fraternity on campus."

Medrano said people should be more considerate when it comes to evaluating the student-athlete.

"It gets stressful when you're struggling as an athlete," Medrano said.

"People think we got it easy, but if they only knew how stressful it is.

"Most people here have jobs, and we got our jobs to play for the university."

Visit The Daily Cougar