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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Golden could have future in baseball or politics

Jim Ecker        
Reggie Golden has been a senate page in Alabama this past year for a state senator named Wendell Mitchell, who's nickname is "Walking Wendell." That's ironic in baseball terms, considering Reggie is a power hitter with excellent speed. If Reggie does any walking, it's because the other team pitched around him.

Reggie said his uncle has been involved in political campaigns, which led to Reggie getting a taste of politics himself as a page for Sen. Mitchell. "This year I'm probably going to help in his campaign," he said.

Who knows, maybe some day Reggie will run for office himself. "Maybe. Maybe not. I don't know right now," he said, demonstrating a politician's knack for taking both sides of an issue.

Politics might have to wait until after Reggie is done with baseball, which could be a while. He's a 5-foot-11, 205-pound outfielder from Wetumpka, Ala., who has been called "a young Bo Jackson" during his sports career, which is quite a compliment. Jackson, who was a two-sport star in pro football and pro baseball until injuries struck, also is from Alabama, and Golden is flattered by the comparison.

"It's a great honor to be called 'the next Bo Jackson,'" Reggie said. "He's one of the greatest athletes in the world."

Reggie played football when he was younger himself, but stopped after his freshman year in high school. He appeared in some varsity games as a ninth grader and showed great promise, but baseball beckoned more strongly.

"I was trying to focus on one sport," he explained. "I was getting pretty good at baseball and the scouts started talking to me more."

He's gotten more than "pretty good" in baseball, a five-tool player who has been selected to play in the Aflac All-American High School Classic at PETCO Park in San Diego on Aug. 16. "It's a great honor," he said of the selection.

Reggie has belted 31 homers in three years of high school baseball. He's hit .459 and .458 the past two years and during that time is a perfect 34-for-34 in stolen bases. He also throws a 92 mph fastball, has been clocked at 6.50 seconds in the 60-yard dash and carries a 3.2 GPA. He's committed to playing college baseball at the University of Alabama, pending what happens in the 2010 amateur draft.

Until then, he'll keep playing baseball and keep working for "Walking Wendell." He enjoys being a page, learning about government and politics.

"It's pretty nice," he said. "I'm learning more about it every time I talk to people."
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