Paul DeJong, a 2014 Wisconsin Woodchuck alumnus and now a shortstop for the St. Louis Cardinals, is making a statement in the MLB—earning a nomination to the 2019 All-Star Game in Cleveland.
The 25-year-old native of Normal, IL is hitting .258, with 13 home runs, 36 RBI’s, and a .786 OPS over 330 at-bats this season on his way to a spot in the summer classic.
But DeJong didn’t start out wanting to pursue a career in baseball. As an undergrad at Illinois State University, he fully intended on actualizing his dream of going to medical school to become a doctor. However, after walking on to play baseball with the Redbirds, he kept hitting and never stopped. Over three years, he had a .326 batting average, 112 runs, 172 hits, 23 home runs, and 113 RBI’s.
During the summer of 2014, DeJong joined the Woodchucks, and became one of the most impactful players to put on the uniform. He holds the record for the most RBI’s in a season with a whopping 61, and the most home runs in a season at 20 home runs on his way to helping the team reach the playoffs. And his impressive statistics led him to the Northwoods League All-Star game and the Major League Dreams showcase.
DeJong was first drafted in the 38th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates after his junior year of college but chose not to sign and wanted to continue to play in college. In 2017, he was drafted in the fourth round, quickly made his way through the Cardinals system in a little over one season, and made his major league debut May 28, 2018 — a memorable start that saw him hit a home run in his first at-bat
Now an everyday player with the Cardinals, DeJong is nothing less than you would expect from the 2014 Northwoods League All- Star. Still an All-Star today with the Cardinals and representing the Woodchucks and Northwoods League in a positive light at the highest level.