And it wasn't by just any team. It was by the three-time defending World Champion New York Yankees, perhaps the most prestigious franchise in all of sports. It was also the team that Fernando Fuentes, the Weehawken High School senior who received the call from the Yankees a day earlier, follows religiously.
"I'm a diehard Yankee fan," Fuentes said. "I love the Yankees."
It's safe to say that the talented switch-hitting catcher loves them even more now.
Fuentes batted .510 with nine homers and 40 RBI in leading Weehawken to its first-ever Bergen County Scholastic League National Division championship during the season that just completed. He received the news Wednesday afternoon that he was selected in the 36th round of the draft, the 1,085th player taken overall.
"I'm very happy," Fuentes said. "I had a tryout at Yankee Stadium on May 29 and I was really excited about the possibilities. I got on the field and stood there and said, 'Wow, this is Yankee Stadium.' I thought it would be great if I could get drafted by the Yankees."
Sure enough, that's what happened.
But Fuentes didn't get the news the traditional way, from a member of the Yankees organization, telling him that he had been selected.
"To tell you the truth, I wanted to act like I didn't know when the call came," Fuentes said. "But first, my girlfriend called me and said that she was following the draft on the Internet, that she punched my name up and it came up that I was taken by the Yankees in the 36th round. So she called me. Then I got a call from a reporter, who said that he read it as well. I really wanted to be surprised, but I already knew. But it's still great news."
On scouts' radar
Fuentes had been scouted several times by many teams during the course of the season, but there were a lot of frustrating moments during the scouting process, when he was intentionally walked an astounding total of 22 times in 25 games. It didn't give Fuentes a full opportunity to show the scouts what he could do, but in reality, they knew - because Fuentes was listed as a sure-fire draft pick as early as last November.
Because of all the nervous anticipation surrounding the draft, Fuentes had expectations that he might get selected during the first day of the draft last Tuesday, during the first 20 rounds.
"I was waiting and waiting and had no idea what was going to happen," Fuentes said. "I thought it should have happened earlier. I thought I would go the first day. I was a little frustrated when I didn't get the call. I'm very surprised I dropped down as far as I did, but I'm a firm believer that things happen for a reason."
Fuentes was asked if he had mixed feelings about the selection, because of where he was selected.
"I don't have mixed emotions at all," Fuentes said. "I'm very happy. This is a dream come true, what every kid dreams about. And I got picked by the New York Yankees. That really helps."
The idea was not lost throughout Weehawken High School on Thursday, when the words were placed on the marquee and the banners, stating, "Congratulations, Fernando, you're our favorite Yankee," were plastered all over the school.
Close friend and teammate Mike Maione honored the day by wearing a Yankee jersey to school. He taped over the number that appeared on the jersey, replaced it with the No. 14 (Fuentes' uniform number) and put "FUENTES" as the name across the back.
What it means
Fuentes received his contract from the Yankees on Thursday, but he cannot sign the contract until his senior class graduates. However, it's not immediately known whether Fuentes will actually sign.
If Fuentes signs, he will more than likely be assigned to the Yankees' Instructional League facility in Tampa, Fla. In Tampa, Fuentes will receive training and play against other Instructional League affiliates. He could go on to play for a Yankee-affiliated minor league team.
Late-round draft picks like Fuentes do not receive a lot of money. Fuentes probably would get a signing bonus in the $10,000-to-$15,000 range. He also would receive a stipend of $850 a month while he plays. It increases $100 per month for every year in the minors.
On the other hand, Fuentes has a few offers to attend junior college. He could go to school and become eligible for the draft again a year from now. Maybe with a year of college under his belt, if he continues to be successful, his draft stock could rise.
"I have a couple of colleges lined up," Fuentes said. "I think it helps my chances now that I've been drafted. I can go to college or sign. Either way, I'm going to play ball. To me, the money doesn't matter. I just want to play ball. But if they (the Yankees) can put something in the contract that they'll pay for my college, then I might sign. I have to think it over."
Fuentes knew all about his prospects as a catcher in the Yankees' organization. He recited the entire farm system's catchers, including David Parrish, the team's first round selection a year ago.
"I did my homework," Fuentes said. "I know all of the catchers in all the minor leagues. I wondered if that might be a factor."
Fuentes realized that he was fortunate to be taken in the draft. Only a handful of Hudson County prospects ever get the chance to play professional baseball. Only two others, pitcher Jhosandy Morel of Emerson (26th round, Pittsburgh) and St. John's first baseman Chris Fallon of Bayonne (23rd round, Kansas City), were selected this year.
"Just to be one of the players who got selected is a blessing," Fuentes said. "I am very lucky to just have this chance. It's a shame that there are a lot of players from Hudson County who are good players, but they get snubbed. The scouts don't get a chance to see how good the players are here. We can play with anybody. I'm glad that someone spotted me."
And by Fuentes' favorite team no less. It really is like living a dream.