"I had been thinking about it a lot, and I went over it with my father," Vannaman told The Rice Thresher in July. "I was coming off a good season at Rice, and the money was good."
Vannaman signed with the Athletics, forgoing his senior year of eligibility at Rice. His pro career, though, didn't end up as Vannaman had hoped. He played just three seasons, never making AA.
Vannaman's career began that year in 1988, taken by the Athletics in the 39th round of the draft out of Rice.
At Rice, Vannaman hit three triples in 1987, then 14 home runs in 1988. He also won the team MVP award in 1988.
Vannaman hit a 1987 home run for Rice in an April game. That summer, he played for the Nevada Griffons, hitting a pinch-hit home run in a win.
With the Athletics, Vannaman played his first year at short-season Southern Oregon. In 55 games, he hit .273, with 17 RBI. He scored two runs in a late-August game. He then knocked in one in another game.
Vannaman moved to single-A Madison for 1989. There, he hit .241, knocking 13 home runs and batting in 59. In July, he hit three-run home runs in consecutive games for Madison, the second one helping his team to a 7-4 victory, according to The Madison Capital Times.
Vannaman played in just one more season. Assigned to high-A Modesto for 1990, Vannaman got into just 57 games. He hit .200 with only one home run, ending his career.
- Rice Thresher, July 15, 1988: Three Owls sign baseball contracts
- Madison Capital Times, July 3, 1989: Vannaman lifts Muskies again
Made the Majors: 753 - 49.4%
Never Made Majors: 771-50.6%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 328
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 194