“Attending Auburn has been a family tradition, and I have orange and blue blood to prove it, but graduating and one day playing in the Majors has been a lifelong dream for me,” Plagge said. “I’m enthusiastic to join the Chicago White Sox and meet the challenges this opportunity has in store for me.”
Plagge’s path to both Auburn University and professional baseball was full of curveballs. After initially planning to attend Auburn out of high school, Plagge instead accepted an offer to play Division I baseball for Towson University in Towson, Maryland. After two years at Towson, he transferred to Saint Mary’s College of Maryland, and after a season there, he transferred to Auburn to focus on academics and follow in his family’s footsteps of earning an Auburn degree.
“My original path had me following the family tradition of attending Auburn University, but when baseball was calling me to go elsewhere, I had to follow my dream,” Plagge said. “When I arrived [in Auburn] as a student, I knew I was in the right place.”
After leaving collegiate baseball behind to earn a degree from Auburn, Plagge joined the campus’ club baseball team to continue playing the sport he loved while completing his education. What he didn’t expect was that his club ball performance would catch the eye of the White Sox.
“Bo was a special part of the club baseball team the second he arrived for first practice,” Auburn Club Baseball President Jack Szachacz said. “Bo has a special spirit that always leaves you with a happier attitude and view toward life, and no one is more deserving than him to start a career in professional baseball.”
Plagge played as an outfielder and a pitcher for the team. Over the fall 2021 season, Plagge pitched 11 innings, striking out 19 batters and only allowing two hits, one earned run and six walks. His pitching earned him an invite to a pro day event hosted by Tread Athletics, his training organization located in Charlotte, North Carolina, providing Plagge with the chance to prove himself in front of Major League Baseball scouts.
“Bo’s work ethic over the past year has been tremendous,” said Devin Hayes, Plagge’s pitching coach at Tread Athletics. We knew throwing by himself in a freezing barn may not be an ideal environment so when he made the trip up to Tread for pro day, we assumed he may be up in velocity slightly. We did not however, think he would be 93-96 with a demon sinker immediately.
“I’m very excited about Bo’s progress and look for his continued growth as a pitcher with the White Sox.”
Plagge grabbed the attention of the White Sox scout in attendance, and after a few weeks, he signed a contract making him part of the White Sox’s organization.
“First and foremost, we were intrigued by the stuff,” said Graham Harboe, the assistant director of baseball operations for the White Sox minor league front office. “His breaking ball and sinker both flashed as true Major League offerings in the session, as well as in the data after. Further–after learning more about his story and background, we were drawn to the upside, the athlete and the fact that he was relatively new to pitching. We saw plenty of potential once paired with our coaching staff for further development.
“As for a club baseball player signing–I can’t say I’ve ever heard of it. I’m sure it’s not never, but I don’t know if any off the top of my head.”
Plagge graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science from the School of Kinesiology in the College of Education. Jeffrey Fairbrother, dean of Auburn’s College of Education, highlighted how Plagge was able to achieve academic excellence while still working toward his goal.
“We understand what it takes to be a high-level performer, so that makes us even more impressed that Bo has been able to accomplish the success he has,” Fairbrother said. “We’re very proud that he is moving on to this next step.”
While earning his exercise science degree, Plagge was immersed in the School of Kinesiology, where many professors study sports improvement, performance, biomechanics and recovery.
“The School of Kinesiology knows intimately it takes a tremendous amount of commitment and dedication to perform at a competitive level, so as a school, we are extremely proud what Bo has accomplished,” said Mary Rudisill, director of the School of Kinesiology. “We will be cheering him on always and rooting for his success.”
Outside of getting his education and playing baseball, Plagge spent his time on the Plains earning his certification as a personal trainer, working at the Recreation and Wellness Center and serving as a Tigers Unlimited Ambassador.
Once he finishes playing baseball, Plagge looks to use both his Auburn degree and knowledge of the game.
“After baseball, my plan is to definitely stay around the game and coach or be a part of strength training and maybe one day have my own facility and work with younger athletes,” Plagge said. “The reason I studied exercise science was because I wanted to learn more about the human body, its mechanics and how I can improve as an athlete.”
For Plagge, work, hard work, during his time on the Plains helped him earn both an Auburn degree, put him on a path to professional baseball and enabled him to carry on his family legacy.