6/07/04 – By Tom Weber, www.SIUSalukis.com
Saluki Southpaw Eric Haberer Picked in the Third Round by St. Louis Cardinals Junior lefthander the 90th overall pick in 2004 Draft. June 7, 2004 By Tom Weber www.SIUSalukis.com CARBONDALE, Ill.- Southern Illinois University pitcher Eric Haberer fulfilled a lifelong dream Monday when he was selected in the third round of the Major League Baseball draft by the St. Louis Cardinals. The junior lefthander was the 90th overall pick in the draft and the first Missouri Valley Conference player taken. "It’s amazing to think that in a few years, I might have the chance to pitch at Busch Stadium," said Haberer, a lifelong Cardinals fan and native of Bloomington, Ill. "And the Cardinals have an A-ball team in Peoria, which is just 45 minutes from my hometown." Haberer positioned himself to be a high draft pick with a stellar 2004 season. The ace of the Saluki rotation, he posted a 6-3 record and 3.54 ERA in 12 starts. A Second Team All-MVC pick, he pitched 84 innings, striking out 60 and limiting opposing hitters to a .248 average. Saluki head coach Dan Callahan said scouts compare him to southpaw Mike Stanton, a 16-year veteran reliever who currently pitches for the New York Mets. "Eric throws 92-93 miles per hour with unusually good life on his fastball," Callahan said. "If he can develop his second and third pitch and throw them consistently, there’s always a spot for a guy with that kind of arm." Haberer began his career at SIU as the team’s closer. In 2002, he appeared in 21 games and recorded a 4-0 record while fanning 24 hitters in 39.1 innings. He led the team with four saves and was named honorable mention Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American. In 2003, Haberer made a team-high 22 appearances and finished with a 1-3 record and two saves. His overall ERA was 5.08, but he had a streak of 11.2 scoreless innings in late March. Haberer said he expects to start at the Class A level in a short-season league, since he has already thrown nearly 100 innings this year. The average third round pick a year ago received more than $450,000 in a signing bonus. Haberer said he would reward himself with a new vehicle and let a financial advisor invest the rest. "I’m happy for him," Callahan said. "He has the opportunity to start his pro career with some money in his pocket, and he’s rooted for the Cardinals his whole life."