The North Adams SteepleCats of the New England Collegiate Baseball League are proud to announce that 2005 SteepleCats outfielder Cole Gillespie made his major league debut on April 21 for the Arizona Diamondbacks in a game against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Gillespie made his debut on April 21 when he pinch-hit for pitcher Edwin Jackson to lead off the eighth inning with the Diamondbacks trailing the Cardinals 4-2. In his first big-league at bat Gillespie ripped a 2-1 Chris Carpenter pitch to left field for a double. Gillespie scored his first big league run one batter later when second baseman Kelly Johnson doubled to right field to make the score 4-3. The Diamondbacks tied the game 4-4 later in the eighth inning, but could not hold on in the ninth. Gillespie was lifted from the game after his one at bat in favor of a new pitcher in the ninth. The Diamondbacks went on to lose to the Cardinals, 9-4. Gillespie is now batting .304 through 9 games.
“I spoke to Cole a few days ago to congratulate him on behalf of the SteepleCats and our community. He said the experience in the big leagues is everything he dreamed of and more,” said McGrath. “He’s definitely on cloud nine. I told him that the 2010 SteepleCats roster will be at the June 15th game when the Red Sox host the Diamondbacks and really hope that he is still with the big club so we can cheer him on.”
Gillespie played for the SteepleCats in 2005. After traveling with the Oregon State baseball team to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, Cole arrived in North Adams in late June. He played in only seven games before suffering a shoulder injury and returned home for rehabilitation. In the NECBL, Gillespie went 6-for-21 at the plate (.286) and drove in two runs.
Gillespie played three seasons at Oregon State University, including two seasons with future Boston Red Sox outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Gillespie was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the third round of the 2006 MLB June Amateur Draft after winning the national championship and leading the Beavers in batting average, runs, hits, doubles, RBIs, home runs, and finished second in stolen bases and triples. He was named a first-team All-American by Baseball America and was named the Pacific-10 Conference Player of the Year. In 2009, Gillespie was traded from the Brewers to the Diamondbacks in exchange for Felipe Lopez
Gillespie is now the fourth former SteepleCat to make it to the major leagues. He follows fellow OSU Beaver right handed reliever Mike Ekstrom (Rays), catcher Bobby Wilson (Angels) and submarine reliever Joe Smith (Indians).