Earlier today, Luke shared one more look at all 42 of the Cubs 2018 draft picks, before diving into the team’s broader strategies, the group’s outlook, and some predictions for their 2018 assignments. If you skipped over the draft, that really is an excellent place for the cliff notes.
Here’s the super-duper short-version: As expected, the Cubs had a relatively well-rounded draft. They took some more-polished and advanced college players, swung for the fences on a few highly-touted, but recently-injured and/or younger types, and filled out the rest of their selections with everything in between. All things considered, it was a fine, fairly normal draft.
But there is one player who really sticks out, and that’s the Cubs 39th Round pick, Pierson Gibis, who was listed as a catcher with no school. Surely there was more to the story. And there is. A lot more.
Gibis, 18, was selected by the Cubs with the 1178th pick the 2018 MLB draft (1,178th overall) two years after being diagnosed with cancer. And if being drafted by a Major League team wasn’t enough for him, the Cubs just happen to be this Illinois native’s favorite team: “Thank you to anyone who made something like this happen,” Gibis said via Cubs.com. “Looking back on it being a 5-year-old kid, saying I want to play for the Cubs one day or get drafted by the Cubs or anything – it’s just a surreal experience.”
Gibis, a catcher, graduated from Wauconda High School last year, but didn’t take a normal path to the cap and gown. While working towards a college scholarship for his work on the baseball field, Gibis was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a form of childhood cancer, in August of 2016. That forced him out of school for over a year, and he had to take online classes in order to graduate.
Now, however, Gibis is cancer-free – finishing chemotherapy in October and radiation treatment in November – and is committed to Madison College:
— WolfPack Baseball (@mcpackbaseball) June 6, 2018
“I’ve just been filled with happiness but also confusion. It feels like a dream,” Gibis said. “I’m overwhelmed and so stoked about everything. I can’t even put it into words.”
Gibis may be young, but his experiences have given him a unique perspective on life that are really worth reading. This profile on him at The Daily Herald is particularly moving and, frankly, inspiring. But if there’s one thing that really defines the Cubs 39th round pick, it’s not his sickness or even overcoming enormous life obstacles. It’s simply his passion for the game.
“Baseball has been my entire life, from the time I could walk,” Gibis said. “I remember going to all my brother’s games when I was little. My dad played his whole life. I’ve pretty much lived and breathed baseball my entire life. There is nothing that I would rather do. And it’s been my dream to play in college. I’d be lying if I said there were no tough days during my treatment process. It took a while for me to accept what was going on. But it taught me how to live and how to fight. And I was fighting to get back to baseball.”
Now this is a kid who lives to play the game. And I hope he does it in the Cubs’ system some day.