Beating the odds: Tulane athlete returns from MLB to medical school

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After leaving Tulane baseball to pursue a career in the MLB, playing for the St. Louis Cardinals during their 2011 season, Mark Hamilton returned to obtain a degree in neuroscience and attend medical school.

Jake Brennan, Staff Reporter

With their second round selection in the 2006 Major League Baseball draft, the St. Louis Cardinals selected Tulane infielder, Mark Hamilton. Now, almost ten years later, Mark Hamilton has returned to Tulane to complete another dream: a college degree and medical school. 

Out of over 34,000 baseball players participating in NCAA athletics in a given year, only 738 will be drafted and offered a professional contract. Of those 738 players, only one out of every six will ever play on an MLB diamond. Mark Hamilton beat those odds, and after finishing his professional baseball career, he came back to Tulane, finished his degree and beat another set of tough odds by being accepted into medical school.

Despite the unlikelihood of achieving both of his dreams, Hamilton felt prepared for medical school in part due to his experiences in baseball.

“It’s a tough application process and very competitive,” Hamilton said. “And in a way, it has made me smile at times, because it’s just like the road through the minor leagues.”

Hamilton’s road through the minor leagues certainly was a difficult one, plagued by injury setbacks — a broken wrist and a torn hip adductor in short succession being the worst among them. Despite that, he managed to get a major league call up and spent roughly half of the 2011 season with the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals would eventually win the World Series at the end of that season, an accomplishment Hamilton is certainly proud of.

“I was part of the regular season team and it’s really cool to be able to say that,” Hamilton said.

Now that he has finished his time on the baseball field, Hamilton is singularly focused on achieving another lifelong dream: completing medical school and becoming a doctor.

At first, he didn’t think it would be possible.

“I didn’t think there’d be a way to do it,” Hamilton said. “But, it was always planted in the back of my mind that it could happen, so I always made sure to stay on top of my studies and keep my thoughts towards progressing so I could eventually go to med school … and I think I’ve pulled it off.”

Even with all of the accomplishments Hamilton has had on the field, he is most proud of what he has done in the classroom, and he is making strides towards using that knowledge to help those around him.

“Baseball is amazing and there is absolutely value in entertainment,” Hamilton said. “But not much can replace actually being able to help people to live their lives and I think ultimately, [medicine] is the more noble of the two professions that I’ve gone after.”