The man Anthony Servideo most admires is one he never really knew.
Servideo, the junior Ole Miss shortstop, was taken in the third round with the 74th pick in last week’s Major League Baseball amateur draft. His draft-night call came from the Baltimore Orioles, the same club for which is grandfather, Curt Blefary, was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1965.
Blefary and the Orioles won the World Series the following year. Blefary’s career lasted until 1972 with stops in Houston, New York with the Yankees, Oakland and San Diego.
He died in 2001 at the age of 57.
Mostly an outfielder, Blefary was a .237 career hitter with 112 home runs and 382 RBIs in 974 games.
“I was too young to really know him. I was about 2 years old when he passed,” Servideo said Monday when he was introduced to media who cover MLB and the Orioles in a Zoom call. “My mom, my uncle and my grandmother all told me stories. It’s cool. We have pictures and memorabilia. I grew up wanting to follow in his footsteps and hopefully be an even better player than he was.”
Servideo’s junior season, albeit abbreviated, could be a launching point for that type of success.
He hit .390 with three doubles, five home runs and 17 RBIs, but his 24 walks pushed his on-base percentage to .575. His walks were almost double those of anyone else on the team.
“My big thing is getting on base. I can create havoc and score runs. Being left-handed I can get out of the box quick,” he said. “In today’s game there are some guys with speed but not a ton. Stolen bases aren’t a huge stat in the majors, but for me, that’s a big stat and a big part of my game.”
Servideo played second base and some outfield before taking over for Grae Kessinger as the full-time shortstop this season.
Three of the four college players drafted by the Orioles are from the SEC. Arkansas’ Heston Kjerstad went with the second pick and Mississippi State shortstop Jordan Westburg with the 30th pick.
“I’m pretty good friends with Westburg. I played with him in the summer, and we’ve kept in contact. Heston’s a great guy, and I’m excited that he’ll be hitting home runs for me and not against me,” Servideo said. “Playing in the SEC was important. Being able to face the best of the best and have success helped me develop 100 percent and will translate to pro ball.”