CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — Boston College junior outfielder Chris Shaw knew he wanted to be an Eagle since early childhood; after all, his mother Karen Shaw attended BC along with four of her siblings. So when he got the offer to come and get an education at one of the most highly regarded academic schools in the country and play baseball, naturally he took it.
However, the story surrounding Shaw’s arrival at BC is one of inspiration, entwined with the story of one of the most uplifting and loved athletes in Eagle history.
You may be familiar with Pete Frates, the former Captain of the Boston College baseball team (2004-07), and his inspirational battle against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Frates tenacity in fighting against ALS, which affects 2.2 people per 100,000 per year, has captivated the hearts of sports fans across the nation.
Young athletes need role models, and Frates was without question Shaw’s.
Shaw met Frates while playing on an intercity baseball team in the Greater Boston area, called the Lexington Blue Sox. Frates recognized Shaw’s ability’s, and after Shaw’s freshman year in high school, took him under his wing. Frates proceeded from there to be a driving force behind Shaw’s path to enrollment at BC.
Shaw spoke of his connection between Boston College, Frates, and head coach Mike Gambino: “He had the life I wanted. He was somebody to really look up to. When you look at Pete’s situation and look at the way he handles business, you realize that little things in life aren’t as bad as you make them out to be. He taught me not to take much for granted. Pete was the first person to tell coach to come watch me play.”
Major League Baseball or College?
Drafted in the 26th round by the New York Mets out of high school, Shaw chose not to sign and instead bring his talents to BC and achieve a childhood dream.
Shaw’s father, Doug Shaw, introduced his son to the game of baseball, and he along with his wife provided a strong support system and helped in their son’s decision to go to school.
“I talked to my parents about not signing,” Shaw pointed out. “I wasn’t mature enough as a player or a person; I wasn’t ready from an off-the-field standpoint. Coming to Boston College has helped me grow up and be more independent. It has helped mold me into a better person and player.”
In the Classroom:
Boston College has established itself as one of the top 30 academic programs in the United States, and is widely regarded as one of the top three business schools you can attend. BC provides a superior education in every gist of the word. You have to work for it, however hard work is rewarded and the repute of the university gives any degree significance. Holding a 92 percent graduation rate, BC employs prominent professors, which give the school notoriety as an institution of world class education.
Today, Shaw is enrolled as a management major in the Carroll School of Management, challenging his self both in the classroom and on the diamond. In high school he was named to the Boston Globe’s and Boston Herald’s All-Scholastic team in 2012. As a freshman at BC, Shaw earned the Athletics Director’s Award for Academic Achievement.
“My family values the importance of a good education. I am used to academic rigors and it’s something that I wanted,” the Lexington, Mass., native explained. “Boston College is known for their academics and athletics; I wanted to compete at a high level in both.”
On the Diamond:
Priding itself on loyalty to both current and former players — as personified in helping Frates’ family in their efforts to raise awareness and funds to help find a cure for ALS — BC is responsible for sending almost 40 players to the MLB.
Shaw’s path is heading that way. The 6 feet 3 inch 250 pound 2014 All-ACC First-Team, and 2015 pre-season All-American selection, held a 35 game on-base streak that was the longest in the nation, coming to an end against the University Of Louisville on March 14. He has registered a hit in 32 of his last 40 games.
Along with being named to USA Baseball’s 50-player Golden Spikes Award watch list, Shaw has also received New England Baseball Journals local pro prospects accolades, and comes in at Perfect Game in the No. 18 spot on their top-100 juniors list.
Collecting first-team honors from Perfect Game USA, and College Sports Madness, as well as second team honors from Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball, and D1 baseball.com, Shaw has got MLB scouts across the country salivating at his projections.
“I want to go out and have fun and compete, but I have found that you have the most success when you are confident,” Shaw added. “I come up to the plate with different approaches depending on who is throwing. I try to stay in a hitters count, and find a fastball to hit. I am having a little bit of a slump right now, but I have learned during my time here as a player, how to get through a slump. Keep grinding and get out of it.”
Shaw has a career batting average of .248, with 45 runs, 107 hits, 24 doubles, 16 home runs, 83 RBIs, 179 total bases, a .414 slugging percentage, 47 walks, and an on-base-percentage of .333.
Shaw, Frates, Gambino, Boston College, they are all synonymous with winning, on the field, in the classroom, and in life. However, the attitude taken in the above mentioned areas is probably the secret to success in those capacities.
Everything surrounding each of their situations is a lesson in positive approach, assertiveness, and defiance (as you will see in further examination of Frates story soon at College Baseball Central) that is contagious.
Attitude is contagious, is yours worth catching?