Brett Gardner was drafted by the Yankees after his senior year at the College of Charleston, and on that draft day in 2005, he was packing his stuff at the house he shared with roommates, who were following the draft via a computer live-stream.
Gardner, a former walk-on who had just hit .447 in his final collegiate season, figured he'd get picked in the fourth round, so he was surprised when his advisor called and said the Yanks might take him with second-to-last pick in Round 3, 109th overall.
A few minutes later, Gardner says, "My name popped up (on the computer) and the rest is history. It's hard to believe it's been 14 years."
Hundreds of other Major League hopefuls will begin to craft their own selection stories on Monday, the first day of the three-day MLB Draft. For the 35-year-old Gardner, thinking about the day his baseball dream soared offers pleasant memories, and he smiles often at his locker in the Yankee clubhouse while recalling it.
"To be honest, I hadn't really had any or much contact with the Yankees," Gardner says. "You kind of hear which teams might be interested in you and I was kind of hearing that I was going to go toward the first half of the fourth round.
"I was really surprised when I was picked by the Yankees, but obviously very, very excited. I didn't really have a big draft party or anything. If I remember correctly, we had just lost out a few days prior at regionals at Clemson. I knew I was going to get drafted and be signing within a couple of days. Since I was a senior, it was the only route I was going to go - it wasn't like I was going to go back to school."
Five days after being picked, Gardner signed for $210,000. He used a chunk of that money to buy a house in Charleston with his brother as an investment property. The Brothers Gardner have had the house ever since, though it's currently under contract to sell, Gardner says.
The Yankees noticed him his senior year when they went to watch a pitcher who was facing the College of Charleston. Damon Oppenheimer, the club's VP of amateur scouting, went to watch Gardner again when another highly-regarded pitcher started against the Cougars.
Oppenheimer had the perfect cover to shield their interest in Gardner from opposing organizations - with a big prospect pitching, their scouts could sit behind the plate and everyone would think they were watching the pitcher.
"I know who you're talking about - Chris Mason from UNC-Greensboro," Gardner says. "I remember that. I wasn't aware of what was going on behind the scenes, obviously, but I have talked to Damon about that specific day since then. So he let me know how that all went down."
Mason ended up being taken in the second round by Tampa Bay and pitched in the minors for five seasons, including in the Mets' system in 2009. But he never made the majors.
Gardner, meanwhile, bloomed and is by far the most successful third-round pick from the '05 draft. According to baseball-reference.com, he's accumulated 38.4 bWAR since making his MLB debut in 2008. Pitcher Brian Duensing amassed the next-highest total: 6.2 bWAR.
Gardner is the longest-tenured current Yankee and the only member of the club to be in pinstripes when the old Yankee Stadium was still in use. He made the AL All-Star team in 2015, won a Gold Glove in 2016 and was part of the Yanks' 2009 World Series championship team. He is the 30th player to play in at least 12 seasons with the Yankees.
What does all that say about him, the walk-on who did not get recruited by colleges? "I don't know," Gardner says. "I don't really like talking about myself like that.
"It's been a crazy ride. I wish it could've gone a little slower so I could've taken it all in and appreciated it a little more. But, you know, I've been blessed to be here this long and to be a part of this organization. It's hard to think how things could've been different just by being drafted one or two spots differently.
"I'm happy to still be here."