Friday night, the former ICC standout was back on the Fulton campus as the featured speaker in the College's 12th annual baseball leadoff banquet.
"It's great being back at ICC," said Van Every moments after the annual event inside the Student Services Building. "I saw some familiar faces tonight and it brought back a lot of great memories for me. I can't believe this place. It was nice back then but now it's like a university. The facilities are unbelievable."
Van Every added with a smile, it was "about time (ICC head coach) Rick (Collier) asked me to speak at this banquet. I've been really looking forward to this."
Baseball has always been a part of Van Every’s life since nearly the beginning. In fact, growing up outside Jackson, Mississippi, his very first spoken word was 'ball.'
He last played for the Boston Red Sox. As you know, the Red Sox is a difficult organization to come through the ranks and earn a spot on the major league roster. Let alone sign a minor league free agent deal and do it. But Van Every did it, twice.
Van Every, who was an all-state and all-Region 23 outfielder for ICC back in 2000 and 2001, is known for his powerful bat, but he also plays excellent defense. If not for some injuries, he would still be Red Sox property. The perennial power in the American League surely didn't intend for Van Every to walk away.
On May 14, 2008 in his Major League debut against Orioles, he started in the outfield and went one for three at the plate. On Sept.28, 2008, Van Every was the talk of the Red Sox Nation after his walk off single beat the arch-rival Yankees on the last day of regular season. Another one of his highlights in the "Bigs," was on April 29, 2009, when he hit the game-winning home run at Cleveland in 10th inning. Van Every also made a spectacular catch in the outfield that earned him a spot on ESPN's Top Ten Plays of the Day.
Van Every took five years to get out of A level ball, but since then has put up some nice power numbers in his long minor league career. (a part of over 700 minor league games) He was a Cleveland Indian prospect who signed a minor league free agent deal with Boston in December of 2007.
Van Every was 25 when he reached AA in 2005 and hit 27 HR, he ripped 15 HR between AA and AAA in 2006, but only 12 HR in 2007. But in his first year with the Red Sox at Pawtucket he caught fire in 380 at-bats he slugged 26HR.
What a difference the organizational change did, he went from splitting time between AA Akron and AAA Buffalo to getting a call to play in Fenway Park.
He had four hits in seventeen at bats for the Sox in 2008, but it was just enough to wet his appetite.
Van Every had his mind set on making the Red Sox 2009 roster out of spring training, but injuries sidelined the dream. 2009 was a wild ride for the smooth fielding left-hander. He sprained his right ankle in spring training with Boston. The injury cost him most of March and April.
In his first game back down at AAA with the PawSox, Van Every roamed centerfield again and he showed the fans and Boston management the ankle was fully healed when he hit a game-tying grand slam to key a dramatic PawSox victory.
Van Every got the call to return to Boston, where he played well, hitting .364 in 11 at-bats with a home run and three RBI to go along with two walks.
The former Ole Miss signee even pitched last year during a Red Sox loss to Tampa Bay.