Chicago Cubs fans enjoyed the play of mercurial shortstop Shawon Dunston for better than a decade in the 1980s and 1990s. Soon those same fans may think they have deja vu because Dunston’s son, Shawon Jr., has joined the organization and drawn the excitement of many throughout baseball because of his ability and potential at such a young age.
The right-handed throwing and hitting Dunston, Jr. has a build reminiscent of his father, but his position of centerfield shows that he is his own player. He was a star player in high school and set to play collegiately with Vanderbilt, but then the Cubs took him in the 11th round of the 2011 MLB draft. The signing bonus they dangled in front of him was too much and he decided to sign and start his professional career.
Dunston has yet to appear in his first professional game, but is expected to play in short season ball in 2012. If things go well “Dunston” should once again become a familiar name being announced over the loudspeaker at Wrigley Field in the near future. This past off-season, Dunston checked in to discuss his experiences in baseball. You can also follow his progress this season by giving him a follow on Twitter.
How much time did you spend around clubhouses and major league players when you were a kid?
When my dad was playing, quite some time. My dad is a coach with the Giants, so a little bit now as well.
How difficult was it for you to pass up your Vanderbilt scholarship for the Cubs?
Very difficult. The hardest decision I’ve made. It came down to the wire and I got first round money, so I took it.
Did you and your family/friends do anything special to celebrate after you signed with the Cubs?
Not really. I just got a lot of text messages through friends and family when they found out.
What kind of mental preparation have you been given about assuming the life of a minor league player?
It’s a long season and it’s a grind. You are going to have your good days and your bad days.
What are the main attributes of your game?
I’m a very athletic player.
Your dad was legendary for his throwing arm; how daunting was it to play catch with him?
When I was younger I used to be scared to play catch with him, but now it’s not as bad.
Growing up around Barry Bonds, did you pick up any good advice directly from or by watching him?
Yes, people do not realize how hard he works, and the work he put into baseball. Best player I’ve seen, hands down.
Be sure to check out Shawon Jr’s baseball cards. He’s got a whole bunch of cool ones.