Senior outfielder Connor Bailey has made his name known on the diamond across the northwest as an offensive powerhouse as well as a defensive wall. Bailey concluded the 2017 season with a .351 batting average and led the team in the number of hits with 54 and runs scored with 30. Last season, in 2018, Bailey had a .339 batting average and led the team in RBIs with 55 and home runs with 15. He was also named First Team All-Northwest Conference (NWC) and First Team All-West Region after the Bearcats got as far as the championship game in the NCAA Division III Spokane Regional. This year, Bailey, also known as Bails, Bon and Boneyard by his teammates, outperformed all his previous seasons as a Bearcat. He ended the year with a stunning 0.386 batting average with a 0.661 slugging percentage and 0.470 on-base percentage.
Bailey started playing baseball at the age of three, which is pretty much as far back as he can remember. He grew up in San Diego, CA with his younger sister Ally, who is now in her first year at Texas Christian University. Growing up in San Diego, Bailey said that he really enjoyed the weather and the beach. According to Bailey, benefits of growing up in San Diego included being close to Petco Park, which is where the San Diego Padres play, and being surrounded by incredible Mexican food. In addition to baseball, soccer was a big part of his childhood. He played competitively until he started ninth grade, when he decided to focus his energy and time towards baseball.
Academically, Bailey chose economics for his major as it was one of the few majors that interested him because it is “applicable to a lot of areas in post-college life.” There is a specific topic that Bailey has been drawn to within the major. “How economics applies to baseball,” Bailey said. “I could see myself trying to pursue a baseball operations position in the future.” Post-grad, Bailey’s number one goal is to get picked up by a pro team. He plans on coaching if he is unable to get drafted by a Major League affiliate. “I don’t know if I’ll be ready to hang it up after the year yet or not,” Bailey said.
Bailey said playing for Willamette has brought “some of the best and most memorable experiences of my life.” In particular, when it comes to team chemistry, Bailey said, “Close is an understatement. I think it would be hard to find a team who cares more about each other on and off the field. I have met some the best people and made some of the best friends of my life on our team. I think that it definitely plays an important role in how much success we have had the last two years. There is a complete buy-in from everyone, and I think how close we are and how much we understand each other definitely translates to the field.”
Bailey enjoys reading about sports and playing fantasy football. He claimed to be a “pretty big video game guy” and said that “lifting is definitely a passion of mine too and [I] will definitely continue with that after baseball.” Though Bailey enjoys watching baseball, his favorite sport to watch is football, particularly NFL and college.
Bailey’s go-to gas station snacks are Reese’s for chocolate candy and Sour Skittles for a fruity snack. He prefers to wear Nike over every other sports brand. Some random facts about Bailey are that he will throw up if he tries to eat meatloaf, and his biggest pet peeves are “people who chew with their mouth open and people who stand upright when the plane lands to try to get off before you.”
Photo Caption: Senior Connor Bailey achieved his highest batting average of 0.389 and amassed seven home runs this season.
Photo Credit: Chris Sobato