Tampa Bay Rays scout Dan Jennings once called Greg "Toe" Nash the next Babe Ruth—really, per ESPN's Peter Gammons. He was first noticed in a little league game in 1994. Baseball scout Benny Latino called him the greatest little-leaguer he'd ever seen.
He hit two home runs and struck out 17 of the 21 batters he faced.
Latino wrote Nash's name down an vowed to check back in on him. He expected to hear his name by the time he reached 10th grade, but he never heard his name again.
He went back to Hammond, Louisiana, where he saw the child phenom, but was surprised to find the boy had dropped out of grade school and was working in a sugarcane field.
No, I'm not making this up.
By this time Nash (who had been given the nickname Toe by his father because of his large feet) was 6'6" and 215 pounds. His power had progressed even better than Latino had imagined.
He told Gammons:
I couldn't believe what I saw. He hit one homer from the right side, about 380 feet. He hit one from the left side more than 400 feet. He pitched and was throwing in the 90s and blowing people away. He was The Natural.
Latino pounced on him and put the young man in front of Jennings. Toe put on a show hitting and pitching; it was truly impressive.
The Rays liked him and ultimately signed Nash to a $30,000 signing bonus. Nash was officially in an MLB minor league system. He had never been out of Louisiana, so the initial trips were rough.
He hadn't flown before, and much of what took place was culture shock. He eventually got himself together enough to handle the minor league process. Former major-leaguer Harold Reynolds took him under his wing.
He introduced Nash to major league stars Ken Griffey, Jr., Eric Davis and more. Nash struggled in the minors with his batting average and making contact, but he still showed tremendous power. He hit .240 with eight home runs in 47 games.
Before he even began his journey with the Devil Rays, Nash found trouble—or vice versa—it depends on how you look at it. Soon, the troubles would get even more serious. As a 19-year-old, he was accused, arrested and did time for the rape of a 15-year-old girl, per ESPN.
Nash told his father he was innocent, but he pleaded guilty to having sex with a minor. The rape charges were apparently dropped, according to his lawyer, but the damage had been done.
When he was released from jail in September of 2002, the Devil Rays released him. More legal problems would follow that ultimately extinguished any shot he had of realizing his immense talent.
In 2002, the Cincinnati Reds signed Nash, but subsequently released him after he violated his probation. The baseball world hasn't seen Nash since, and he's the only child phenom who literally seems to have fallen off the face of the earth.
That is quite rare in this world of seemingly endless information highways, but Nash was likely one of a kind.