Jason Goldstein BSIE 2016
Emily Scott and Lee Zerrusen. Photos courtesy Fighting Illini Athletics.
Last year, Illinois baseball athlete and industrial engineering student Jason Goldstein was finishing up his junior year when he got an opportunity he’d always dreamed of — a major league offer from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
But Goldstein turned them down. Instead, he decided to stay and finish his degree, a decision that he said may be the best decision of his life.
“I had my shot at getting drafted last year and getting the opportunity to play professionally, which was one of my goals,” Goldstein said. “I realized that I had other goals that — after I’m done with my main goal of playing professional baseball — I needed to achieve.”
Growing up in Highland Park, Illinois, Goldstein played baseball all his life. He said a big part of his decision to attend Illinois was the fact that he could pursue an engineering degree while continuing to play baseball.
“I decided to come here, and after three years, I was expecting to leave, get drafted and come back and finish my degree,” Goldstein said. “And I realized, coming back in five to ten years and trying to pick up computer science classes probably would not be the easiest thing in the world.”
Now, Goldstein is finishing up his senior year and contributing to the success of the Illinois baseball team as their catcher, with a current batting average of .338. This year, he was named “best defensive catcher” and “best arm” in the Big Ten conference by Baseball America.
Despite turning down the Dodgers’ offer, Goldstein said his goal is still to play major league baseball. After achieving that goal, he said he would love to work in a team’s front office, combining his engineering expertise and his baseball experience to provide in-depth statistical analyses for the team.
Goldstein said he hopes he will receive a second offer to play that will allow him to fulfill his dreams of playing in the major leagues.
“I assume that, as long as I don’t fall on my face this year, I’ll probably get a second offer to play,” he said. “And if I don’t get a second offer to play, then it was the best decision of my life to come back.”
FOR FURTHER READING