Beeks Returns To Present Major League Jersey
NATIVE SON RETURNS TO PRESENT MAJOR LEAGUE JERSEY
PRAIRIE GROVE — Christmas songs celebrate the birth of a child destined to change the world and one of Prairie Grove’s own returned to celebrate his heritage Friday.
Christmas celebrates divine impartation of a gift to mankind and in the spirit of giving, Tampa Bay Rays left-handed pitcher Jalen Beeks, a 2011 graduate of Prairie Grove High School and former Arkansas Razorback, worked out an agreement with Prairie Grove head baseball coach Chris Mileham to give away his autographed and framed No. 68 Major League Baseball jersey as the grand prize for a raffle raising funds for Tiger baseball.
As promised months ago, Beeks attended the Prairie Grove versus West Fork basketball games Dec. 7. At halftime of the boys’ game, Beeks drew the winning ticket and presented the framed prize to Marcresa Hattenhauer, a band mom, who purchased the winning ticket.
Negotiations began months ago while Beeks was part of the Boston Red Sox organization, which drafted him in 2014. Early in the summer Beeks was activated to the Major League roster, twice appearing in two games for the Red Sox. Suddenly he was traded to Tampa Bay. Mileham appreciates how Beeks maintained the dialogue in the midst of being acquired by a new franchise and relocating his family.
Mileham is aware that entailed far more than merely changing uniforms.
“They switch his team so there’s a lot going on with transition and his family this and that,” Mileham said. “I text Jalen Beeks any day, time, it would be within an hour he would respond. He has a tremendous love for this town, this community, that as a guy that wants to stay out of the spotlight I would also say he’s a guy that would do anything for this town and this community.”
Hattenhauer’s son, Anthony, a 2012 Prairie Grove graduate, was a teammate when Beeks led the 2011 Tigers into the State 4A-1 Baseball championship game against Shiloh Christian. She holds fond memories of Beeks’ exploits at Prairie Grove.
“He was always just a really, good player, but not only that just a really, good person and just cared about everybody,” Hattenhauer. “The older boys on the team just kind of took my son under their wing, which made it a lot easier on him, and Jalen was one of those boys.”
Like many Tiger fans Hattenhauer followed Beeks’ career path from one season at Crowder College in Neosho, Mo.,
to Arkansas to being drafted in the 12th round by Boston in 2014 and pitching for the Red Sox minor league affiliates to the trade with Tampa Bay on July 24, 2018. He compiled a 5-1 record pitching as a Major Leaguer for 2018.
“I’m so proud of him, knowing him basically his whole life. It couldn’t happen to a better person,” Hattenhauer said.
The uniqueness of holding the raffle drawing and presentation by Beeks was not lost on Mileham.
“I’m sure there wasn’t a person in the building, home or away that didn’t enjoy that,” Mileham said of Beeks’ participation.
“In my 17 years of coaching I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been blessed to be in the presence of a big-leaguer, let alone someone, who comes right out of our backyards. I take a lot of pride and honor to honor his legacy that the players and coaches accomplished well before I got here.”
Hattenhauer remains a dedicated volunteer working the concession stand as a “Band Mom,” although her youngest child graduated in 2017. She was surprised and a little bit shocked when her name was announced as the winner.
“I was just telling everyone in the concession stand that I never win anything,” Hattenhauer said. “I’ve probably donated thousands upon thousands of dollars to the school’s projects and then they call my name and I was just, ‘what, are you kidding me?’”
Hattenhauer hadn’t yet decided what she intends to do with the autographed, framed jersey.
“I may hang it up for awhile, but I may donate it back to the school so they can hang it up,” Hattenhauer said.
Hattenhauer said she wants to wish a merry Christmas to her whole family, the Prairie Grove band, the band parents, among others.
“Just everybody in Prairie Grove, we have a great community and I love it.”
Tampa Bay Rays left-handed pitcher Jalen Beeks, a 2011 graduate of Prairie Grove High School and former Arkansas Razorback, attended the Prairie Grove versus West Fork basketball games Dec. 7. At halftime of the boys’ game, Beeks drew the winning ticket from a raffle of his Tampa Bay jersey No. 68 and presented the framed prize to Marcresa Hattenhauer, a band mom, who purchased the winning ticket. Participating in the drawing were (from left): Tiger catcher Couper Allen, Beeks, Hattenhauer, and Prairie Grove baseball coach Chris Mileham.
Prairie Grove head baseball coach Chris Mileham worked out an agreement with Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Jalen Beeks, a 2011 Prairie Grove graduate, to donate his Major League Baseball jersey No. 68 as a raffle prize to raise funds for the Tiger baseball team.