The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
You read it here first: Tom Brady to pursue diamond career

There’s been a lot of speculation about whether free agent qurterback Tom Brady will re-sign with the Patriots or strike out with a new team for next season.  Well, what if I told you Brady was considering a career in baseball instead?  After all, he’s achieved everything a player can accomplish in the NFL.  6 Super Bowls wins. 3-time league MVP. GOAT.  Why should Brady put himself through another grueling season (with any team) getting knocked around on the gridiron?  He is a sure-fire lock for a bronze statue in Canton.  The voters won’t even have to go through the motions to fill out a ballot for him.

 

It’s not too well-known Brady was a left-handed hitting catcher for Junipero Sierra High School in Mateo, California.  He was good enough for the Montreal Expos to draft him in the 18th round of the 1995 MLB Draft.  He was selected ahead of seven catchers who eventually reached the majors, including 15-year MLB veteran David Ross.  It’s not out of the question he could have been a viable professional player.

 

Fortunately for the NFL, Brady opted not to sign a pro baseball contract, instead attending the University of Michigan to play quarterback.  Five years later he signed with the Patriots after being drafted in the sixth round.  And the rest is history.

 

By now, you should have figured out my prediction about Brady’s pursuit of a baseball career is fake news at its best.  The 42-year-old isn’t going to take the route of former NFL QB Tim Tebow, who will enter his fourth season in 2020 attempting to reach the majors.

 

Tebow is an anomaly by playing baseball after his football career.  However, the NFL is full of history with QBs who played baseball before settling on a football career.  Three are currently on NFL rosters.

Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson played two seasons as a second baseman in minor-league baseball while still in college playing football.  He was drafted by MLB teams twice:  out of high school in the 41st round of the 2007 draft by the Baltimore Orioles and in 2010 in the 4th round by the Colorado Rockies while attending North Carolina State.  His pro career slash line of .229/.354/.356 with the Rockies organization likely influenced his decision toward a pro football career.

 

Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes is being touted as the future Tom Brady of the NFL, displaying potential to be one of the all-time great quarterbacks after only his third NFL season.  Mahomes’s pedigree includes baseball, since his father Pat was a major-league pitcher for 11 seasons, posting a career win-loss record of 42-39 and 5.47 ERA. Everyone assumed young Mahomes would follow in his father’s footsteps as he grew up.  He was drafted out of high school by the Detroit Tigers in 2014 in the 37th round but chose to attend Texas Tech where he played play both sports.  He appeared in few baseball games during his freshman year.  However, when Mahomes threw for over 5,000 yards and 41 touchdowns during his junior season in 2016, it cinched his decision to pursue a pro football career.  He was selected by the Chiefs in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

 

Arizona Cardinals QB Kyler Murray was the first athlete to be selected in the first rounds of both MLB and NFL drafts.  A two-sport star at Allen High School in Dallas, he initially committed to Texas A&M to play football but then transferred after his freshman season to the University of Oklahoma in 2017, where he played both football and baseball during his sophomore and junior seasons.  He attracted the attention of major-league scouts with his .296/.398/.556 slash line, 10 home runs, and 47 RBIs in 2018.  The Oakland A’s selected the outfielder in the first round (9th overall pick) of the 2018 draft, and he signed a contract that included a $4.7 million bonus.  As the favorite to succeed Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield as the Sooners’ QB in the fall of 2018, he decided to play at the collegiate level again.  He turned in a Heisman-worthy season and became the first overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals.  He passed for over 3,700 yards and 20 touchdowns in his rookie season.

 

Reaching back in time, Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway played minor-league baseball in 1982 in the Yankees organization (having been drafted in the second round in 1981) while playing quarterback for Stanford University.  Yankees owner George Steinbrenner reportedly told Elway he could be the starting right fielder for the Yankees by 1985.  Elway used his baseball experience as leverage in the 1983 NFL Draft when the Baltimore Colts drafted him as the first overall pick.  He didn’t want to sign with the Colts and play for Coach Frank Kush; and after threatening to play pro baseball instead of football for the Colts, they ultimately traded him to Denver, where he had a 16-year career.

 

Archie Manning had been a baseball phenom since he was eight years old on the Drew, Mississippi, Little League team.  He was eventually drafted on four different occasions by MLB teams.  The first time was in 1967 when he was selected out of high school by the Atlanta Braves in the 43rd round, but he chose to attend Ole Miss where football coach Johnny Vaught agreed to let Manning also play baseball.  He played shortstop for the Ole Miss team that made a College World Series appearance in 1969.  Manning was drafted by the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals while in college.  However, by his junior season it was obvious he would play pro football.  He was drafted again by the White Sox after he had graduated from Ole Miss in 1971.  Manning became the NFL’s second overall pick of the New Orleans Saints with whom he played for 11 seasons.  He also played for Houston and Minnesota before retiring in 1984.

 

Heisman Trophy winner and NFL QB Chris Weinke played six seasons in the minors in the Toronto Blue Jays organization before embarking on his football career.  He signed out of high school in 1990 with the Blue Jays who drafted him in the second round.  He reached the Triple-A level before quitting baseball.  He then enrolled at Florida State University at age 26 to play football and led the Seminoles to a national championship in 1999.  He was the Heisman winner in 2000.  Weinke was drafted by the Carolina Panthers with whom he played for four seasons, mostly as a backup.  He retired from football after his 2007 season with San Francisco.

 

The common characteristic among all these multi-sport athletes is their superior athleticism.  It’s clear they all made the right choice for a career on the gridiron.  Brady has said he wants to play football until he is 45 years old, but no one would blame him for stepping away right now.  If his need for competition is still there, I’m sure he could find a softball team that needs a good catcher.

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