Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks franchise made history early this month by selecting Cory Hahn in the 34th round of the 2013 MLB draft. “It was a very emotional selection for us to make,” Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall said on Saturday. “It was a no-brainer.”
Back in 2010, Hahn led Mater Dei High School to a state title on his way to earning California’s Mr. Baseball honors. A top baseball prospect, Hahn was drafted out of high school by the San Diego Padres, but chose to play at the collegiate level, committing to Arizona State University. In only his third game, Hahn suffered a career-ending spinal injury after sliding head-first into an opposing player’s knee. Hahn was taken off on a stretcher and underwent emergency surgery the same night, but was paralyzed from the mid-chest down. According to doctors, Hahn fractured his C-5 vertebrae and would never play again. Hahn, however, couldn’t stay away from the game and became a student coach for Arizona State’s baseball program.
“He’s a wonderful kid,” says Hall, who expresses that the team’s drafting of Hahn is more than a formality. “We want to make this permanent. We don’t want this to just be about the selection and him being a draft pick. I told him, ‘Let’s find something for you to do with us during your last year in school, and when you’re finished, we’ll have a job for you in baseball operations or scouting.’”
So the Diamondbacks made a decision that hundreds of businesses face every day: whether or not to hire a person with a disability.
Hall and Ray Montgomery, Diamondbacks scouting director, recognized another talent in Hahn besides what he displayed on the diamond. They evaluated his experience and administrative talent and came up with a program for Hahn to go through the team’s scouting school, adding his knowledge and skills to the team’s operations department. As the Office of Disability Employment Policy states: Because we are all EQUAL to the task!