Interview – State College's Nathan Southard

The St. Louis Cardinals' 17th-round selection in the June Draft from the Tulane Green Wave has exceeded expectations in his initiation to the professional game while patrolling the outfield for the State College Spikes.

‘Tis the lot of a 17th-round draft pick that the press apparently hadn't been hounding Tulane outfielder Nathan Southard for interviews since he had been selected by the St. Louis Cardinals with the 526th pick near the end of the first session of the two-day 2006 First-Year Player Draft.

Perhaps previously Southard didn't have to deal with a lot of strange visitors asking all kinds of questions, but if he maintains his early pace as a professional, he had better get used to the attention and probably a lot more.

With the Green Wave, the 5-10, 190-pounder majored in Biomedical Engineering, so he shouldn't have to worry about life after baseball. On the field, he reached the NCAA Regional All-Tournament three straight seasons, hitting .400 with seven RBI in his final appearance in the Regionals.

Southard left Tulane with his name etched on a boatload of school best-of lists including being tied for fourth in school history in sacrifice bunts (20), sixth in doubles (61), seventh in games played (241), eighth in at-bats (864), tied for eighth in runs (204), ninth in total bases (441), tied for ninth in hits (277) and tied for 10th in triples (8).

In his first 14 professional games, Southard has surpassed expectations. He leads the Spikes in doubles (5), on-base percentage (.413) and batting average (T-.315) plus is second in slugging (.556), hits (17), stolen bases (T-4) and total bases (30).

Southard strokes a double

While Southard seemed a bit surprised when I initially asked to speak with him, he was a most humble and articulate interview. As a collegian, Southard was a part of a Tulane squad that included his still-teammate Mark Hamilton. While that may have caused him to be overshadowed at times, Southard only sees the positives on and off the field.

In this audio clip, Southard discusses draft day, his favorite player Ozzie Smith, strengths as a player and even how he acquired his nickname "Paco".


Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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