Baltimore Orioles introduce Gunnar Henderson

Published 1:32 pm Thursday, June 27, 2019

Former Morgan Academy shortstop Gunnar Henderson was introduced to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday.

Henderson received a $2.3 million bonus with the Orioles, who picked The Selma Times-Journal’s baseball player of the year in the second round of the MLB Draft.

At the press conference, Henderson told the Orioles’ beat writers at a press conference about how his baseball career began in Selma. Henderson’s father, Allen, built a baseball field in their backyard for him and older brother Jackson. His younger brother, Cade, is a longtime Baltimore Orioles fan and correctly predicted they’d draft him.

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“We used to play back there together, go practice every day,” Henderson said. “Growing up and competing, that installed a great work ethic, and then my mom and dad taught me to never give up and work your hardest.”

Henderson, who turns 18 Saturday, will start in the Gulf Coast Rookie League in Sarasota, Florida this weekend. Henderson said he’s looking forward to begin his Minor League career.

“I can’t wait to get started in Florida,” Henderson said. “Hopefully in a few years, I will be playing in Camden Yards.”

Orioles Executive Vice President/General Manager told that Henderson could also play third base.

“There may be some development ahead of him, but the ceiling is really high,” Elias said. “It wasn’t until this spring that he cemented himself as a top 40 pick, but those of us who saw him all summer, you look at the athleticism, the youth, the fact that he comes from a small school and a small state, and you think he might pop in the spring. And he did.”

The 6-foot-3 Henderson hit .559 with 11 homers, 17 doubles, nine triples and 75 RBI for the Senators. He was the the Alabama’s Mr. Baseball, AISA player of the year, hitter of the year and Gatorade player of the year in Alabama.