Real cool moment in the Orioles clubhouse today when William “Steel” Russell, son of Orioles bench coach and former Pirates manager, John, learned that the Orioles had taken him in the 32nd round of the amateur draft.
A left-handed hitting catcher from Midland Junior College in Texas, Steel joined his dad on this trip, and both hoped he would be drafted – but they didn’t know it would be by the Orioles.
“I am very proud. For your son to be drafted, especially with the team that I’m with right now, it is something that I’ll cherish forever,” said John Russell, who was a first-round pick of the Philadelphia Phillies as a catcher in 1982. “To see the look on his face when he saw his name, that’s something I’ll never forget. And now it is up to him.”
When the news came out, Orioles manager Buck Showalter walked out of his office and shook Steel’s hand.
“I’m fortunate enough for my dad to be who he is that I was able to share it with him in the clubhouse,” Steel Russell said. “Buck came out and congratulated me, which is, like I said, not many kids that get drafted have the manager of the big league club come out and say congratulations, so that was outstanding. That is something I’ll never forget.”
He’ll have to sign, but he seems eager to get into pro ball and start catching. He joked that his brother teased him that he might one day be Matt Wieters’ back-up. Right now, he’s just thrilled that the ordeal of waiting is over.
“It’s been a stressful couple days but definitely worth the stress, definitely worth staying at my phone the last 72 hours,” he said. “I’m excited, to be able to share it with my dad, to be a part of his organization now. It’s something I never really thought about as a kid, but as you get older you realize it might be a possibility down the road. To actually have that happen is amazing.”