Wells returns to TU on brink of stardom
Towson’s athletic department welcomed former Tiger outfielder Casper Wells home, though it wasn’t on a baseball field. At Saturday’s men’s basketball game versus Georgia State, Wells was honored with a framed jersey at halftime in front of a crowd of current students and former teammates.
Wells stands out from the pack of former Towson athletes, as he is only the third Tiger draftee to break into the Major Leagues. He made his Major League debut with Detroit on May 15, though wasn’t brought up to stay until closer to the end of the season. Wells said his first Major League appearance was surreal.
“My first Major League at-bat, I didn’t know what was going on. I wasn’t thinking about anything besides trying to see the ball because there were just so many things flying through my mind,” he said. “It was a surreal feeling – not a nervousness – but it was the most exciting time of my life.”
In his 36 games in the Majors, Wells hit .323 with four home runs and 17 RBI.
“It’s exciting. He’s become the poster child for Towson University baseball,” head coach Mike Gottlieb said. “When you’re recruiting, everyone is hoping to go beyond college, however realistic that may be. But if you see that it can happen, Casper being the example, I think it just makes people more interested in what we’re trying to do.”
In Wells’ honor, the athletic department also held a reception for all Towson baseball alumni who wanted to attend. Current Orioles minor leaguer Brian Conley, who was drafted by Baltimore in 2008, said Wells’ presence in the big leagues is a great thing for Towson.
“I think it’s good, not only for the school, but for the program. It just goes to show that it doesn’t matter if you go to a big-time school or not,” Conley said. “Towson’s not the biggest baseball school, but you can still make it to the big leagues having played here.”
Wells described the support he’s received from the Towson community over the last year as overwhelmingly positive.
“It’s great. Even coming back to play the Orioles at the end of the season, I’ve received nothing but support from former teammates and from the Towson community,” he said. “It’s great to come back and see where I came from. It’s been nice to reminisce a little bit.”
Wells gives a lot of credit to the Towson University baseball program for preparing him for his career in the Majors.
“Coach Gottlieb was instrumental to my career. I still talk to him to this day throughout the season, whether I’m struggling or doing well. He definitely has helped me stay even keel with everything, through the good and the bad, through the minor league seasons,” Wells said. “He set me up to have success at the major league level.”
Wells will head down to Lakeland, Fla., to train with the Detroit Tigers before the season starts. He is projected by Major League sources to be in competition for a starting outfielder position.
“I put myself in a good position for this upcoming season with what I was able to do last year,” he said. “I’m going to go down there in the best shape of my life and I plan to compete. That’s all anyone can ask for right now.”