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When It Clicked: White Sox LF Carlos Quentin

The obvious starting point for a conversation about when it clicked for Carlos Quentin would be the 2008 season, when -- following a trade from Arizona to Chicago -- he transformed himself from a part-time player with plenty of potential to an offensive monster who might have won the American League most valuable player award had a broken wrist not cost him the final month of the season.

But Quentin steered the conversation backwards -- way back, to a time when professional baseball was still just a dream.

"What put me on the right track to have an opportunity to play in the big leagues was my decision to sign with Stanford and to go there. That let me develop not only as a player, which I needed, but also as a person. I wouldn't have had the maturity before that to make it in pro ball.

"[At Stanford] I had the opportunity to not only improve my chances of getting to the majors, but to reflect on how badly I wanted it in my heart. It had an enormous impact on who I am today as a person. I learned how to deal with adversity, but also with success. Without it, I don't think I'd be standing here today.

"I didn't get drafted out of high school, even though there was some talk that I might be. Part of me was disappointed, because you always want to think of yourself as big league material. But I needed to go to college. If I had been drafted and went into pro ball at that point I don't think I'd be the player or the person I am today."

By Dave Sheinin  |  April 24, 2009; 9:10 AM ET
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