By Anthony Slater
Follow on Twitter @anthonyVslater
Frank Anderson said it best around midseason.
When talking about Andrew Heaney, who at the time had a 5-1 record and sub-1.00 ERA that surged his name up the draft boards into first-round range, the former Oklahoma State coach said:
“It couldn’t happen to a better kid. He works hard and does it the right way. I mean I never, ever have to worry about him off the field. Anything that comes his way, he deserves it.”
What’s coming his way is a big-time paycheck. Heaney was drafted ninth overall in Monday’s MLB Draft, going to the Miami Marlins. The story is here.
And really, with all the recent off-field issues at Oklahoma State and around the country, Heaney’s success story should be celebrated.
The Oklahoma City native dedicated himself and worked hard at an in-state school, going from a 140-pound freshman to a top-level prospect and earning every penny from his soon-to-be lucrative signing bonus.
He always represented the school the right way, dealing with fans and media members with class.
And during the busiest week of his life, which includes his professional dream and 21st birthday, Heaney was gracious enough to sit down for an extended interview.
He talked everything from draft day to his relationship with Frank Anderson to his career at OSU. Enjoy:
Did you get to meet MLB Commissioner Bud Selig?
Yeah, it was pretty cool. Meeting your boss in a way. The guy you see on TV all the time and hear people quoting him and stuff like that, so it was cool.
Did he have a message for you?
Just shook my hand and said congratulations, stuff like that. Told us he was proud and thanked us for coming up.
You meet anyone else famous?
Yeah, I met a lot of people. Each team had a couple of representatives from their clubs, like an assistant to the GM or a former player, so I got to meet a lot of guys. Got to meet Pudge (Ivan Rodriguez), got to meet Frank Robinson, all kinds of people. Lots of pretty high up baseball people.
This is a week that includes your 21st birthday. If you had to pinpoint a single moment as the best, what would it be?
I don’t even know, there were so many cool things. Like I said, we had a banquet to meet all those former big leaguers. Then being in the draft room and seeing the studio and being there in person was crazy. Then getting called up there and holding the Marlins jersey was awesome.
Number nine to the Marlins. Did that surprise you at all?
Yeah, surprised me a little, hadn’t heard a lot from them. I knew they had a lot of Oklahoma connections and I know there is always that possibility. When I heard my name called, nothing is going through your mind. You are just so excited and it was crazy. You don’t expect it and I’m happy with where I ended up.
Let’s talk about your OSU career a little bit. Are you satisfied with what you did there?
I don’t think satisfied would be the word I’d use. I feel like I had a lot of things that I didn’t accomplish at OSU, like team goals. Even my first couple years, I felt like I didn’t have the greatest years and help like I could. I kind of feel like I left a little on the table, but you can’t live in the past and what happens happens. Move on from it. And obviously I have no ill feelings toward OSU, I’ll be there all the time during the offseason and that’s still home to me.
What did Frank Anderson, a lifelong pitching coach, do for you?
This year our relationship changed a little bit. I became less of a player-coach and more of a friend relationship and I think that kind of helped, on and off the field with me and him. I feel comfortable going to him and asking him anything I need to know. That’s good to have a relationship like that with your former head coach, being able to talk to him about anything.
Were you saddened by the news that he had been let go?
Yeah, he was my head coach for three years and I knew him probably better than a lot of people knew him. People have an outside image of who he is and what he’s like, but they haven’t spent the last three years, day in and day out with him. You don’t ever want to see anyone get fired and it puts him in a tough spot, with his family and everything.
Favorite game or favorite moment at Oklahoma State?
Probably that OU game this year, Bedlam on Friday night (Heaney threw a complete game shutout win). That was probably one of the better games I’ve ever pitched. That’s one that really sticks out to me.
Don’t mean to hit on a sore subject, but how about that last game against OU. Throw a shutout into the ninth and then give up a walk-off homer in Bricktown to OU. Have you gotten over it?
Can’t dwell on the past. I was mad that whole day and through the night, but woke up the next day and was over it. I was kind of joking the other day because my first pitch in college was at Dodger Stadium and I threw a wild pitch that scored a run. And my last ever pitch was a walk-off home run.