As each pick went by during the second half of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, the anticipation grew thicker and thicker.
The number of cameras — and eyes — trained on the couch, where Edmond Santa Fe pitcher Ty Hensley sat, increased every time Bud Selig stepped to the podium to announce another pick.
Finally just before Texas picked No. 29, Hensley’s mom, Marci, came out confident that her son was the pick. Instead, the Rangers selected Florida high school outfielder Lewis Brinson.
But Hensley looked at his mom with confidence, telling her things would be OK.
More than three hours after the draft began, CC Sabathia stepped up and announced Hensley was headed to the New York Yankees with the No. 30 pick in the first round.
“I don’t even know what to say right now,” Hensley said after finishing a round of hugs in the gathered crowd of approximately 75 people. “It ended up lasting for a lot longer than I thought it would but hey, I went to a great organization. There’s so much history there and so many great players, so I’m excited to be a Yankee.”
The slot bonus for the pick is $1.6 million.
Hensley said negotiations would begin immediately, and he hoped to sign soon.
“I’m ready to get this thing started,” he said. “I want to get out and play as soon as possible.”
Hensley’s dad, Mike, was drafted twice — in the third round of the 1985 draft by the Astros and in the second round in 1988 by the Cardinals.
When the Cardinals selected him the second time around, Mike was fishing and didn’t find out until much later after Marci had fielded call after call.
“It’s amazing how much things have changed,” Mike Hensley said. “We’re all so tech savvy these days, and everything is immediate.”
The elder Hensley was the one who took the call from the Yankees and shared the moment with his son.
“We let her live the agony a bit,” Mike Hensley said of his wife. “It usually doesn’t happen this way, but the Yankees called before the Rangers made their pick and said if Texas didn’t pick him, they were going to.
“So we knew it would be all right either way.”
Moments after the pick, Ty Hensley reached behind the couch and grabbed a Yankees hat — one of about five he had stored there in preparation for the moment.
“This is unbelievable,” Ty Hensley said. “Especially having all my friends here. This is so cool and them being so supportive and staying with me until it was over.”