The 2017-18 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Baseball First Team was chosen by USA TODAY Sports’ Jim Halley in consultation with high school coaches.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR: J.T. Ginn, Brandon
COACH OF THE YEAR: Steve Chapman, Calallen
Name: Alek Thomas
School: Mount Carmel (Chicago)
Key stats: Hit .420 with 10 homers and 43 RBI through 131 at-bats, with three strikeouts and 14 stolen bases. He also played football and basketball for The Caravan. He’s the son of the Chicago White Sox strength and conditioning coach Allen Thomas. Has played varsity baseball, basketball and was a wide receiver, running back and quarterback on Mount Carmel’s football team.
College/pro: Signed to play baseball and football at Texas Christian/Drafted No. 63 overall by Arizona Diamondbacks
Greatest player I’ve taken a selfie with: I’ve taken a picture with Derek Jeter when I was little, but it wasn’t a selfie.
Breaking in a new glove: Just keep on using it until it gets softer. I also put some Vaseline on it to make it softer and pat it down with my hand or a bat.
My most influential man in baseball: Mike Trout. He plays the game hard all the time. He seems like an all-around good guy. Great player who seems like a great person.
If I was on America’s Got Talent: I would probably do a little Michael Jackson imitation, a little singing and dancing.
Favorite walk-out song: Superstar (by Lupe Fiasco).
First car driven and dream car: The first car I got to drive was a 2006 Range Rover that my dad bought after the (2005) World Series. I’m still using it. I think my future car will be a newer model of the Range Rover.
Smartest thing I’ve done lately: Getting a B-plus in AP statistics this past semester.
Dumbest thing I’ve done lately: I’ve done a lot of dumb things. Yesterday, I left the windows open in the car when I gave it to and the valet didn’t close them. I had to go back and tell the valet to roll up the windows. That same day I parked the car at home and my dad was driving a different car and my dad checked the car it and it was open (unlocked). It was my graduation day and I wasn’t thinking.
Teachers with influence: I’ll name three. Mr. (David) Milavickas was my geometry teacher. He was a hard one. He taught us that you’re going to fail in life but you can get better and succeed. The next year, I had AP stats with Ms. (Jennifer) Smola and that was another class where you had to fail a bit to get better. Also, Mr. (Kevin) Hanson, my theology teacher who passed away my freshman year. He lived a religious life and he was all about moral values.
My biggest pet peeve: I had when people put …. after their texts. It doesn’t make any sense.
My second-best sport is: Football.
Most memorable home run: My freshman year, we were in the regional championship and playing Simeon (Chicago). It was the bottom of the eighth and we were down 2-1 with a person on base with two outs. I was only 15 and I hit a home run to win the game.