The Fort Worth Cats have signed former TCU and Oklahoma State standout Shelby Ford to a contract for the 2012 season.
The Fort Worth native, who attended Southwest and Southwest Christian high schools prior to his college career, spent the last six seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
A third-round draft pick in 2006, Ford made his professional debut with Williamsport (New York-Penn League) later that summer. He starred at single-A Lynchburg (Carolina League) in 2007 and double-A Altoona (Eastern League) in 2008, in the process earning recognition from Baseball America as one of the top prospects in the Pirate system.
Injuries slowed him at various times between 2009-11, causing his career to stall somewhat as he bounced back and forth between Altoona and triple-A Indianapolis (International League). He became a free agent at the conclusion of the 2011 season.
Ford spent the majority of his time with the Pirates as a second baseman, but has experience at shortstop, third base, first base and the outfield. The Cats envision him as a “middle of the order” bat and veteran leader for what is expected to be a fairly young team.
The Ford signing is the first be be officially announced by the team’s new management group.
The Cats are set to open their first season as members of the North American League on May 23 at LaGrave Field.