August 31, 1998
Volume 51, No. 2
Lee strikes out stereotypes about Division III athletes
If the odds of becoming a professional baseball player are a million to one, imagine the odds for an athlete from an NCAA Division III school that doesn't offer athletic scholarships. But Emory student-athlete Jon Lee is looking to buck the odds.
The rising senior spent the summer playing baseball in the Alaska League, one of two premier leagues for college baseball players. Lee was the only Division III player in the entire league, but to his credit, he demonstrated that Division III does not signify third-rate.
Lee signed with the Mat-Su Miners, located in Palmer, Ala., to play for the same coach who led him in high school. The No. 1 starting pitcher and an All-Region performer for Emory, Lee was originally slated to be a reliever for the Miners, but opportunity paved the way for a spot in the starting rotation.
In the second game of the season, the Miners starter struggled and was removed in the second inning trailing 6-0. Lee took over on the mound and held the opposition scoreless until he was replaced in the ninth with the Miners ahead 7-6 in a game they eventually lost.
But Lee remained a starter for the rest of the season. And his Division I teammates often wondered why a pitcher as good as Lee was at a Division III school. "I wanted to get the best education possible," he told them. "If professional baseball becomes a possibility, great; otherwise I'll be in a good position with an Emory degree."