Cubs 2005 Draft Pick Retires

In a move no one saw coming, Boise Hawks shortstop Scott Hode - a 24th round Cubs draft pick from the University of Arkansas last June - has retired. What were his reasons, and why did he retire now instead of at season's end? Inside, he reveals why.

The decision caught many by surprise, including Hawks General Manager Todd Rahr.

"It was a complete shock," said Rahr, in his first year as the team's GM. "Normally you don't see guys who were just drafted a month earlier leaving so soon. After he gave us his reasons, I supported his decision."

What reasons, exactly?

As it turns out, Hode has decided to pursue a career in one of either two fields: aviation, or football—as a place kicker. The 22-year-old says he still has a year of eligibility left in college at Arkansas. He'd like to try out as a walk-on for Coach Houston Nutt's Razorbacks team in the coming weeks.

Hode insists his main goal for now, though, is to finish up college and obtain a degree in kinesiology, his major. He had already made plans for advanced flight lessons after the Hawks' season.

"My uncle has been an airline pilot for a long time, and he's had me hooked since I was 2 years old," Hode said. "In sports, I was actually recruited more to play football than baseball anyway. It's a long shot now, but I'll look at my options over the next couple of weeks."

At the time he decided to make his retirement official, Hode was batting .280 in 22 games at Boise. He amassed four extra base hits and nine RBIs in his one month with the club. While in his senior season at Arkansas, he hit a career best .317 for any one season with the Razorbacks.

The decision to retire was one that Hode had been pondering for at least a week.

"I just decided to move on," he said. "I didn't even think I'd be drafted, really. It was something I never truly planned for. It was great out in Boise and a great situation to be in. On the other hand, every day I wanted to be doing something else … I just felt that if I were having these thoughts every day on the field, then there was someone who deserved to be out there more than I did."

For now anyway, that someone (or someones) has been 18-year-old Jonathan Mota and second-year Hawks infielder Jose Rios. Both have performed modestly in Hode's absence.

"Obviously, I had thoughts about it," Hode said, "but never at any point did I think about hanging it up when I was out on the field during the middle of a game. This is something I first had to discuss a lot with my family. We were talking about it up in Eugene. I finally talked to my coaches. I was only a month into the season, and last week, I knew I had to tell someone about how I felt."

With Hode's plans made official, he becomes the second known Cubs prospect to retire from baseball this season. As Inside The Ivy first reported on Sunday, May 22, right-hander David Crouthers, whom the Cubs acquired in the Sammy Sosa trade with Baltimore last February, chose to retire this Spring Training.

"We're sorry Scott left," Rahr added. "I thought he was a quality individual who carried himself with a lot of confidence while being as down to earth as you can get. If I could raise a kid just like him, I couldn't go wrong. We'll miss him."

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