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ESPN to air feature on former prospect Toe Nash

A legendary scouting find with major legal troubles that may not be known by many

I'd imagine Peter Gammons is more familar with Toe Nash than just about everyone
I'd imagine Peter Gammons is more familar with Toe Nash than just about everyone
David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

If you enjoyed Gabe Kapler's feature on former number one pick Matt Bush, this may be for you.  From ESPN:

ESPN's SC Featured will have a "where are they now?" story for baseball fans on Sunday, June 29.

The Tampa Bay Rays thought they discovered an unlikely semi-pro league gem whose hitting power was compared to Babe Ruth: Gregory "Toe" Nash. But, after just one year of pro ball, legal trouble sent Nash to prison for nearly a decade. Jeremy Schaap reports on Nash, a talent from the Louisiana sugar fields who proved too sweet to be true.

The Nash feature debuts on Outside the Lines at 9 a.m. ET on ESPN and will air again on SportsCenter at 10 a.m. The feature will re-air in other editions of SportsCenter throughout the day Sunday.

For those that don't know Toe Nash, and for those that do, here's a refresher.  That 13 year old article from Peter Gammons is as far as I know, the only thing on the internet about him and his baseball abilities.

"I couldn't believe what I saw," Latino recalls.  "He hit one homer from the right side, about 380 feet.  He hit one from the left side more than 400 feet.  He pitched and was throwing in the 90s and blowing people away.  He was The Natural."

I'd read the whole thing.  A scouting find like that is like an urban legend.

He played one season in the Rays organization, with the Princeton Devil Rays in 2001.  Jonny Gomes, Shawn Riggans and Chris Seddon were on that team too, and he performed well.  He struck out 36% of the time, but his .768 OPS was well above the league average of .697.  His eight home runs tied him for eighth in the league behind Gomes (league leader with 16), Rick Ankiel, and Jimmy Rollins' lesser known brother among others.  He was a year younger than the league average too, and Baseball America ranked him the 11th best prospect in the league.

At one point in instructional ball, he played in the outfield with Josh Hamilton and Carl Crawford.  That could have been something.

Things went south after that though.  He was charged with rape in January 2002He pled guilty and spent over eight months behind bars, and the Rays released him the day after that.  The Reds signed him to a minor league deal, but they voided that when he was arrested following a fight.

In 2005, he was arrested again for a probation violation.  What has happened since isn't known to me.