From the projects to the major leagues, it has been an exciting trip for Noe Ramirez.
Tuesday afternoon, the Boston Red Sox selected the Cal State Fullerton pitcher with the 142nd overall pick in the 2011 MLB Draft.
Ramirez grew up in the Ramona Gardens housing project in East LA, a neighborhood notorious for gang activity. From the very beginning, Ramirez faced an uphill battle to make the majors. In fact, the ballpark where he learned to play as a kid, Hazard Park, was a known gathering place for the Big Hazard street gang.
But it was on that field, which was rarely maintained, that Ramirez, one of six children, learned to play the game of baseball from his father.
Rafael Ramirez told ESPN, "One time Noe said, 'Dad, when I grow up I want to show that there's people that can come out of here and do good things.' He always says he owes his success to his family, that we supported and mentored him. But really, above all, it was baseball that kept him off the streets."
Ramirez would go on to play for Alhambra High School, where he earned a scholarship to play college ball at Cal State Fullerton. During his three seasons with the Titans, Ramirez went 29-7 and had a career ERA of 2.57, according to the Fullerton Titans website.
Friday afternoon, Ramirez returned to the neighborhood where he grew up to sign autographs at the Ramona Gardens Recreation Center. He also threw out the first pitch at a little league baseball game.