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UofL baseball's Henry Davis makes history; becomes school's first No. 1 overall pick in MLB Draft

The sophomore catcher has become the first No. 1 overall pick in program history after he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville baseball’s Henry Davis has made history.

The catcher has become the first No. 1 overall pick in program history after he was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the MLB Draft.

"I'm just honored, honestly," Davis said. "I have a lot of amazing people in my life who have made this possible, so credit to them. I'm very excited."

It's not the first time Pittsburgh has been interested in his services. Coming out of high school, Davis was not a highly-touted draft prospect. But one team called him with interest in making him a day two pick: the Pirates.

"They offered a number and I said I wasn't going to sign for it," Davis recalled with a smile. "They said, 'Are you sure?' And I said, 'Yes. And I can promise you that's a lot less than you'll get me for.'"

Davis said he confirmed he would be the top pick about an hour before Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced it. But the new Pirate had to keep the news to himself until that announcement.

"I just started smiling and pacing around, all nervous and anxious," Davis, who was alone when he found out while his family was eating, said. "When I saw my family, my mom actually picked up right away. She's like, 'Hey, you know something?' I was like, 'Yep.' 

"You don't want to say it and have it not happen. So when I got it fully confirmed, I just looked at them and told them what was going to happen. Being able to share that with them was so special and something I'll remember forever."

His loved ones weren't the only ones present in Denver to see it. Louisville head baseball coach Dan McDonnell, who's seen 88 Cardinals get drafted under his watch, witnessed Davis make program history.

"I owe so much to the program," Davis said. "Just being able to give back that little bit, I hope it meant a lot to him because he means a lot to me."

Davis racked up nods for his performance throughout his final college season. He was an unanimous All-American, a finalist for the Buster Posey Award and a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award.

The catcher developed his all-around game at Louisville, leading the Cards with a .370 batting average and the ACC in on-base percentage in 2021. He also ranked in the top 10 in the league in batting average, hits, home runs, RBIs, total bases and slugging percentage.

"I think I have the ability to be one of the rare catchers who impacts the ball on both sides," Davis said. "The way I'm going to go about it and work hard every single day on that aspect of my game is going to pay off. The results will show and I'm going to be a catcher for a long time."

Credit: AP
Louisville's Henry Davis (32) runs the bases during an NCAA baseball game on Friday, March 19, 2021, in Raleigh, N.C. (AP Photo/Ben McKeown)

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