By Patrick Catezone
Illinois baseball player Garrett Acton signed a free-agent contract with the Oakland A’s after not getting drafted in a shortened MLB draft. A similar opportunity came Acton’s way last year, but the then-junior decided to stay at Illinois to play his senior year.
“When I left campus in March, I didn’t expect to be in this situation,” said Acton. “Didn’t expect to really end going and playing professionally, I had already made the decision once to come back to school.”
The Illini closer set the school and conference record for the most saves (19) in a season last year and had already secured six before the season ended early due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Thankfully I got to talk with the Oakland Athletics leading up to the draft, they had expressed a lot of interest,” said Acton. “After I hadn’t gotten picked Oakland was the team that really expressed interest.”
Acton started his career at Saint Louis University before transferring to Parkland College. Illinois head coach, Dan Hartleb, recruited Acton out of Parkland with two years of eligibility.
Acton finished his college career as the all-time leading saves leader at Illinois as well as their first Academic All-American in over 20 years.
Photo by Department of Illinois Athletics