Bourdon Set For Center Stage
Published: Thursday, May 3, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
As Tom Bourdon departs the athletic media suite, it’s clear that in most regards, the sophomore from Simsbury, Conn. is just like any other student at Boston College. He’s friendly, well-dressed, and has a composed confidence to him, both in the moment and concerning his future career prospects. He echoes the common campus sentiment that one of the best parts about BC is its people, and speaks about the many good friends he’s made. An economics major who’s involved in community service, he also enjoys being taught by the brilliant professors on campus. But there’s one entity that makes him unique: Tom Bourdon is one of the best baseball players on the Heights.
Bourdon is batting .330 on the year, which leads the Eagles. So do his 18 doubles, nine homeruns, 31 RBIs and .558 slugging percentage. He may be even better on defense, as he plays the centerfield position flawlessly and has a strong arm that’s led to three outfield assists. He’s batted first and second in the lineup this year before settling in at the three-spot, typically reserved for a team’s best hitter. He has almost 30 more at-bats than any other player, and is second on the team in runs. And he’s doing all this as a sophomore.
Bourdon’s journey to BC began when he was a kid, as his favorite sport growing up was always baseball. His father played college baseball, and instilled the sport in each of his four boys. Although he coached Little League for 12 years—from the oldest brother, Mike, all the way through Bourdon—the sport was never forced.
“He was always really helpful,” Bourdon said. “He never pushed us to actually play. We always wanted to.”
Mr. Bourdon must have done something right, as all four of his sons grew up to play college baseball. Mike Bourdon went on to play in the Tampa Bay Rays organization after catching at Tampa University. Tim won a Division III baseball championship at Trinity College, and Pete played baseball at Middlebury College. It was after a great sophomore year in high school that Tom realized he would have a chance to follow in his brothers’ footsteps, a result certainly helped by the encouragement of his siblings.
“The most beneficial part of having three older brothers who played sports just like me is that growing up, we were always really competitive,” Bourdon said. “They would always push me to my full extent. I grew to expect that out of myself the rest of my life.”
Tom carried that expectation not only in baseball but also in football and basketball, as he played those sports in high school in addition to starring in his favorite sport. He set the Northwest Catholic record for hits in a year, as well as hits and games played in a career. But while many top college baseball recruits look to play the sport year round, Bourdon did not.
“I always liked playing basketball and football too,” Bourdon said, “because if you get too much of one thing, you get burned out a little bit. I’d go into those seasons, and it would help me, and I’d want to get back into baseball.”
When it came time to make a choice on where to play in college, BC was an easy pick. In addition to the top-flight academics, it also afforded Bourdon the opportunity to play in the ACC, a talented league that no other Northeast schools courting him could offer. But Bourdon never got the chance to play for the man who recruited him, as former BC coach Mik Aoki left for Notre Dame right before Bourdon arrived on campus.
His transition to playing for the current leader of the BC baseball program, Mike Gambino, could not have gone more smoothly All of Gambino’s players speak fondly of the 1999 BC grad, as he has created a culture where players are loose, confident, and focused in late-game pressure situations. The chemistry of the team has never been better, with Bourdon noting that his teammates are so close that it feels like family.
Bourdon started his BC career with a solid freshman campaign that saw him take hold of the centerfield position and never look back. He hit .286 with seven doubles and a home run to go along with 17 RBIs, and his .298 batting average in ACC play was second on the team. Highlights of his season included a four-RBI day at Duke, and a six-game hitting streak in the beginning of April.
Even with this success, his first year wasn’t all rosy. Bourdon admitted that at times the adjustment to the college game was trying. The speed of the ACC is much more advanced than what Bourdon faced in high school, as well as the quality of the players.