In July of 2011, Justin Solomon was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In June of 2012, he was drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 35th round of the MLB Draft. Solomon has battled cancer for the past year, and with all the ups and downs that has come with it, the news of the draft has been a highlight in his life. According to the Daily Times, a New Mexico news paper, Solomon said the following while visiting his ailing grandfather in North Carolina:
This is probably the biggest thing that has ever happened to me. When I got cancer, I thought baseball was done for me. It is amazing how much it has still been apart of my life. It really surprised me to find out the Rockies drafted me…I wasn’t following the draft at all and I started getting a bunch of texts and calls from my friends saying congratulations. I thought they were messing with me. When I saw my name online, it was the coolest.
Justin Solomon: Photo Courtesy of Yahoo Sports
Colorado Rockies Four Corners scout Chris Forbes was most influential in calling for Solomon to be drafted. Forbes has battled leukemia himself and wanted to lift the young man with the selection. Forbes had this to say:
I gravitate toward people like Justin. Drafting him was a no-brainer for us. Baseball is a game about statistics and wins and losses, but this is bigger than that. This is an opportunity to lay a foundation for a kid. This is something he can hold onto forever. He can always say ‘I was a 35th rounder with the Rockies in 2012.’ Baseball is a competitive business, but I will sleep good tonight knowing we drafted Justin.
Playing the game of baseball has led Justin into the mentality he has to fight cancer. You face adversity in baseball. Doubt comes in at times, but there is always another at-bat, another inning and another pitch. We are talking about a kid who missed out on a state title and finishing his high school career with the kids he played with at a dominant program at PV. We don’t ask for cancer, but we got it. We can play the victim or rise up and take adversity as an asset. This will make him a better man, husband, brother and son. I promised him this battle will make him a better person.
Solomon graduated from Piedra Vista this May. His cancer is in remission, but he continues to battle the complications that have come along with the illness and all of the procedures. He will get a chance to visit Coors Field after he returns from North Carolina and visits his doctors in Houston.