- David M. Hale, ESPN Staff Writer
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James Ramsey's marching orders were concise.
The Cardinals selected him with the 23rd overall pick in the Major League Baseball amateur draft, but Ramsey's work at Florida State wasn't done yet, and that was the priority.
So the contact between the Cardinals and Ramsey following the draft was largely limited to a simple text message.
"They just said, ‘Go win a national championship. We want you to check off all the things on the list you had in coming back for your senior year,’ " Ramsey said.
On Monday, the conversations finally escalated, and the end result was worth the wait for Ramsey, who is set to sign a deal for a reported $1.6 million, one of the richest ever for a college senior, according to Baseball America.
The deal comes in at slightly below the recommended slot value, but it's a hefty reward for one of the nation's best players. the outfielder from Alpharetta, Ga., finished the season with a conference-best .378 average, .513 on-base percentage and 78 runs scored, while hitting 13 homers and starting all 67 of Florida State’s games.
Ramsey was named the American Baseball Coaches Association's co-player of the year Monday, following J.D. Drew and Buster Posey among former Seminoles to capture the award.
But neither the awards nor the hefty contract were a part of that checklist the Cardinals were so emphatic about him wrapping up before he departed Florida State for the final time as a player.
"My leadership, things on campus are done," Ramsey said. "Community service, faith speaking engagements, getting my degree -- they've all been finished. I'm at peace. I did all the things I wanted to do here."
All except for one: That elusive national championship.
Ramsey’s career ended with a loss to Arizona in the College World Series, but he doesn’t look back with regret.
"Even with the pro prospects on the horizon, when that game ended I was at peace with it,” Ramsey said. “I feel so thankful to have been a part of this university for four years, especially this last year. It's just been a lot more than I could've asked for."
Ramsey has returned the favor.
As the senior made his way from the bus to the locker room following the team’s return from Omaha, dozens of fans offered thanks for four seasons of immense contributions – both on and off the field.
"Stats and your ability to play the game, so many guys are so similar," Ramsey said. "It's the intangibles that's more important than ever to get to the big leagues."
And for all his impact at Florida State, Ramsey's final goal was always to play in the majors.
His new contract is another step toward checking off that accomplishment, too, but he won't be approaching the next chapter any differently than he did his four years at Florida State.
"I'll be a 'Yes, sir' kind of guy and continue to build off the blue-color mentality I've always had," Ramsey said. "I'm starting a new journey now."
James Ramsey's marching orders were concise.The Cardinals selected him with the 23rd overall pick in the Major League Baseball amateur draft, but Ramsey's work at Florida State wasn't done yet, and that was the priority.