Former Redbird baseball standout Neal Cotts experienced something few collegiate athletes ever realize—getting to play in the World Series with the Series Champion Chicago White Sox. Cotts was credited with the Game 2 win.
Cotts, who pitched at Lebanon High School and for the Redbirds, was drafted in 2001 in the second round of the major league baseball amateur draft by the Oakland Athletics, making him the highest drafted Redbird player in history. Traded to the White Sox three years ago, Cotts made his major league pitching debut in August of 2003. The left-hander finished the regular season with a record of 4-0 and a 1.94 ERA in 69 appearances in 2005. He was the only White Sox relief pitcher to see action in the American League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
“I owe a lot of my current professional success to my experience at Illinois State,” Cotts said. “I was given a tremendous opportunity to play baseball, and I wanted to give something back to the athletics program.” Giving back for Cotts meant contributing a financial gift for improvements to the University’s baseball field.
Cotts has approximately two semesters left to finish his degree in finance. “Finishing my degree is important to me, and the professors and academic advisors at Illinois State have been a tremendous help in finding classes I can take during the off-season.”
The recipient of one of the Outstanding Young Alumni Awards, Cotts was chosen for All-Academic Team honors at Illinois State and was on the Dean’s List.