FALMOUTH, Mass. — Decisions can be difficult for anyone.
Imagine making a choice as a teenager that would change your career path forever.
Baron Radcliff understands the pressure of a life-changing selection. The former Norcross star, an outfielder for the Cape Cod Baseball League’s Falmouth (Mass.) Commodores this summer, had to do this twice.
Radcliff comes from a family of athletes. His father, Vic, played professional baseball for seven years out of high school. His mom, Nikki, was a college basketball player for Ohio State.
“My parents were always pushing me to be the best I could be,” Radcliff said. “They came from the very highest levels in sports. They always knew how to push me the right way in athletics and just to work hard.”
With outstanding athletic ability, Radcliff was able to shine on the field in multiple sports.
While playing baseball at Norcross, Radcliff ranked as high as the 12th overall prospect in the state of Georgia for the class of 2017 according to Perfect Game.
He was also a three-star recruit for football. Radcliff holds Norcross records for the most passing yards, most rushing yards by a quarterback and the most touchdowns thrown in a single season.
“I had always envisioned Baron playing college football,” Baron’s father Vic Radcliff said. “We were always looking forward to the pageantry and putting our colors on and tailgating. And then going into his senior year, he said that he didn’t even want to play football in college.”
Despite receiving football offers from Boston College and Vanderbilt, Radcliff decided to focus solely on baseball.
“It was one of the toughest decisions I’ve ever made in my life, but I knew it was the best one for me,” Baron Radcliff said.
After choosing the diamond over the end zone, Vic Radcliff knew his son still had a lot of work ahead of him.
“I keep telling him that a lot of those kids who are your age playing baseball have at least a thousand more at-bats than you do,” Vic Radcliff said. “You have to grind it out because you’ve got a lot of catching up to do.”
While Radcliff still had to develop, it was clear he had the talent for the next level. Following his senior year, the 6-foot-4 outfielder was ranked as the 67th overall high school prospect headed into the 2017 MLB First-Year Draft.
Major League Baseball franchises had him on their radar and on the second day of the draft, the San Diego Padres gave Radcliff a call.
“I got a call from the Padres in the fourth round for $600,000,” Radcliff said. “That was the decision that I wondered if I should go or do I need to turn it down.”
But he didn’t have to go about the decision alone. His father was selected in the fourth round of the 1995 draft by the Kansas City Royals and Vic Radcliff gave his son a piece of advice.
“My dad, already being drafted, wanted me to get reps, get polished up and hopefully by that time I will be bigger, faster, smarter and stronger than I was before,” Baron Radcliff said.
“I wanted Baron to experience college life,” Vic Radcliff said. “My wife played college basketball. She always talked about the experiences she had while she was in college and I wanted him to experience those things too.”
So Baron Radcliff decided to attend Georgia Tech, not only to get an enhanced education, but to be close to his family.
“I’ve always been educationally driven,” the rising junior at Georgia Tech said. “Going to Tech is a blessing in itself just to be at such a prestigious institution and it’s just about 20 minutes away from home.”
Not only is Radcliff getting reps at Georgia Tech, he is now facing some of the toughest competitors in college baseball on the Cape and manager Jeff Trundy has seen him develop as a hitter.
“He’s getting better and better swings,” Trundy said. “He’s such a great athlete. If we can just get him to make more consistent contact, which I think he’s starting to do, he’s going to be a kid that is going to provide a lot of offense.”
And Radcliff is ready to learn more with the Commodores on his way to “The Show.”
“Just being able to play in this league is an honor in itself,” Baron Radcliff said. “These are the best guys in the country and I’m a big believer in iron sharpens iron. It’s just one of those things that you get better no matter what you are doing up here.”