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A’s top pick follows in his father’s footsteps

The Associated Press
Wednesday June 05, 2002

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Ohio State standout Nick Swisher joined his father, former major leaguer Steve Swisher, as a first-round baseball draft choice Tuesday. 

“Me and the old man have something to share now,” the younger Swisher said. “I’m so excited, it’s ridiculous.” 

So was dad. He cleared out a sporting goods store’s entire supply of Oakland Athletics caps after Nick was taken by the A’s as the 16th overall selection. 

“They’re kind of different. They’re not the traditional A’s caps,” Nick Swisher said with a laugh during a family cookout Tuesday evening at his Parkersburg home. “I’m going to try to get my agent to get some.” 

Nick Swisher is accustomed to being different. His cowboy boots and West Virginia upbringing earned the ribbing of his Ohio State teammates. 

When he was introduced for each at-bat at home games, the public address system played “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” from the 1996 Clint Eastwood movie. 

Swisher is the highest pick under 15th-year Buckeye coach Bob Todd. The switch-hitter batted .348 this season with a team-high 52 RBIs and 10 home runs. The junior played 39 games in center field and 15 at first base. 

He started in all but three games in his three seasons and finished with a .323 career average. 

Steve Swisher hasn’t hesitated to chime in with advice from time to time, especially about the pros. 

“He has to keep everything on an even keel,” the elder Swisher said. “The highs can’t be too high and the lows can’t be too low. All the media attention in the world doesn’t make a difference on the field. You can hit the ball and have nothing to show for it. 

“As long as he keeps everything in perspective and works hard, he’ll do fine.” 

Steve Swisher was taken in the first round by the Chicago White Sox in 1973. He played nine seasons with the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals and San Diego Padres. He was an All-Star in 1976. 

Nick Swisher has come a long way since high school, when he garnered little statewide attention despite being selected all-state three times in baseball and twice in football at Parkersburg High. 

“Back in high school, nobody gave me the time of day,” he said. “It’s different now.” 

Swisher said he hasn’t discussed his immediate future yet with his agent, Joe Bick of Cincinnati.