Posted on: February 4, 2012 2:57 pm
Edited on: February 4, 2012 3:21 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
In 1995 the Expos drafted a catcher out of Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, Calif., the same high school that produced Barry Bonds and Gregg Jeffries. Montreal scout Gary Hughes thought the team got a steal, but knew the catcher lasted until the 18th round because he was a good football player and would be difficult to sign.
In the end, Tom Brady passed on baseball, went to the University of Michigan on a football scholarship and will be playing in a football game this weekend. He made the right choice, but that doesn't mean the Expos scouts were wrong -- Brady was obviously a good athlete with a strong arm and good leadership skills, all things you want in a catcher.
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Brady's not the only NFL player who flirted with a career in baseball, several current NFL players have a baseball background. While there's no Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders or Brian Jordan currently playing at the highest level in both sports, there are a variety of NFL-MLB ties, from players who, like Brady, were drafted and didn't sign, to those who played in the minors and even one minor-leaguer who is hoping to be drafted into the NFL this year.
Here's a look at some current NFL players with baseball experience:
Cedric Benson -- The Bengals running back was drafted by the Dodgers in the 12th round of the 2001 draft and played nine games for the team's Gulf Coast League team, going 5 for 25, with all five of his hits going for extra bases -- three doubles and two triples. While he didn't homer, he walked 10 times in 34 plate appearances and was hit twice for a .412 on-base percentage and an .892 OPS.
Mark Brunell -- The 41-year-old Jets backup was… the lefty was drafted by the Braves in the 44th round of the 1992 draft, but didn't sign.
Kerry Collins -- The Tigers took him in the 26th round of the 1990 draft, the first of three future NFL players drafted, before Greg McMurtry and Rodney Peete. He was drafted again by the Tigers in the 60th round of the 1991 draft and the 48th round of the 1994 draft. He never signed.
Quan Cosby (right) -- The former Broncos and Bengals kick returner was a sixth-round pick by the Angels in 2001 and played four years in the team's minor-league system, spending two seasons with Cedar Rapids in the Class A Midwest League. In four seasons, he hit .260/.330/.321 with 71 stolen bases. In his last season, 2004, he stole 23 bases and hit five homers. After that season he went back to school at Texas and played wide receiver with the Longhorns. Undrafted in football, he signed with the Bengals and played last season with the Broncos before being waived at the end of the season and signed by the Colts.
Eric Decker -- The Broncos wide receiver was drafted in the 39th round by the Brewers in 2008 and in the 27th round by the Twins in 2009.
Dennis Dixon -- Twice drafted, the Steelers' third-string quarterback signed with the Braves after going in the fifth round of the 2007 draft. He played in the Gulf Coast League and Appalachian League that year, hitting a combined .176/.322/.216 as an outfielder. He was a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen bases, but struck out 22 times in 90 plate appearances, while putting up just a .176 average.
Matt Moore -- No, not the Rays' lefty Matt Moore, but the Dolphins quarterback. Moore was taken in the 22nd round of the 2004 draft by the Angels.
Golden Tate -- The Seahawks' wide receiver was drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 42nd round of the 2007 draft and the Giants in the 50th round of the 2010 draft. He played two seasons of baseball at Notre Dame, hitting .329 as a sophomore and scoring 45 runs, the third-most in school history.
Michael Vick -- The Rockies drafted Vick in the 30th round of the 2000 draft, but he never signed.
Hines Ward -- The Marlins took Ward in the 73rd round of the 1994 draft, but he never signed.
Brandon Weeden -- CBSSports.com has the Oklahoma State quarterback the fourth-rated QB in the upcoming draft after leading Oklahoma State to an 11-1 record last season as a 28-year-old. The reason Weeden was so advanced in age as a college quarterback was that he spent five seasons in the minor leagues after the Yankees took him in the second round of the 2002 draft. Weeden, a right-handed pitcher, was 19-26 with a 5.02 ERA in 108 games and 65 starts in the minors. He averaged nearly a strikeout an inning, but had a 1.573 WHIP for the Yankees, Dodgers and Royals systems.
Ricky Williams -- The same year the current Ravens running back won the Heisman Trophy at Texas, he hit .283/.309/.283 in 55 plate appearances in the short-season New York-Penn League for the Batavia Muckdogs in the Phillies system. Despite a career .211/.265/.261 line in four years in the Phillies' system, the Expos took him in the 1998 Rule 5 draft before trading him to the Rangers. Williams didn't join the Rangers and never played another professional baseball game.
Russell Wilson -- Wilson is the 10th-ranked quarterback in the upcoming draft, according to CBSSports.com. Wilson, a second baseman, was drafted in 2007 by the Orioles and again in the fourth round of the 2010 draft by the Rockies. After spurning the Orioles out of high school, Wilson did sign with the Rockies, which led to a rift between him and his college coach at N.C. State, Tom O'Brien. WIlson played baseball each of the last two summers, playing 61 games for the Asheville Tourists of the Class A South Atlantic League last season, hitting .228/.366/.342 with three home runs and 15 stolen bases. He struck out 82 times in 236 plate appearances before heading to Wisconsin for his senior year of college. At Wisconsin, he led the Badgers to the Big 10 title. He recently told the Rockies he won't be reporting to spring training. The Rockies hold his rights for five more years and have said they'd welcome him back.
Of course, there are plenty of guys who went the other way and chose baseball instead of football, players like Todd Helton (who once started ahead of Peyton Manning at Tennessee), Adam Dunn (who was at Texas as a quarterback), Seth Smith (who backed up Eli Manning at Ole Miss), Joe Mauer (who was the nation's top recruit at quarterback and signed with Florida State) and Matt Holliday (who was offered a scholarship to play quarterback at Oklahoma State).
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Tags: Adam Dunn, AL Central, AL West, Athletics, Barry Bonds, Bo Jackson, Brandon Weeden, Brian Jordan, Cardinals, Cedric Benson, Deion Sanders, Dennis Dixon, Eric Decker, Expos, Gary Hguhes, Golden Tate, Gregg Jeffries, Hines Ward, Joe Mauer, Kerry Collins, Mark brunell, Matt Holliday, Matt Moore, Michael Vick, NL Central, NL West, Quan Cosby, Ricky Williams, Rockies, Russell Wilson, Seth Smith, Super Bowl, Todd Helton, Tom Brady, Twins, White Sox
Posted on: July 5, 2011 8:31 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2011 11:32 pm
By C. Trent Rosecrans
All-Star teams aren't always composed of stars. For every Mickey Mantle or George Brett or Willie Mays, there's a Mickey Morandini, Ken Brett and Joe Mays.
And then, of course, there's Bo Jackson.
While not all players who make an All-Star team have great careers or stick in our memories, it's not alwyas the Hall of Famers that leave a mark.
Jackson's baseball career was hardly ever boring, he oozed talent -- blending speed and power like few before or after. One of the greatest athletes who ever lived, Jackson was in the majors on pure athleticism alone and was just starting to show off what he could do with more baseball under his belt when he suffered a hip injury in a 1990 playoff game for the Oakland Raiders while persueing his "hobby" of dominating the NFL.
The apex of his baseball career came on July 11, 1989, in Anaheim, Calif. Jackson had 21 home runs at the All-Star break and had been voted into the game as a starter by the fans. He ended the top of the first with a running catch on Pedro Guerrero's liner, saving two runs. But it was the top of the inning that would be his defining moment.
Leading off the bottom of the first, he crushed a Rick Reuschel pitch 448 feet to center field. See the play here:
In the second he beat out a potential double play, allowing the eventual go-ahead run to score. He also stole second, advancing to third on the throw, becoming just the second player in All-Star history to homer and steal a base in the same game. The first was Mays. Jackson was named the game's Most Valuable Player.
I remember listening to the game on the radio as my dad hurried us home after one of my own All-Star games. My team had won, but I was more excited to get home to watch the guy from my other team, the Kansas City Royals. I heard the homer on the radio -- and even there you could tell just how hard it was hit by the sound and the announcer's reaction -- and even though I didn't see it live, I watched the highlights over and over. My memory as a 13-year-old was just that my team was once again the center of the baseball universe and the Royals would be carried into the next decade by the game's most exciting player. That didn't happen, but I'll always remember that homer, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Jackson's not the only player to shine in his only All-Star Game, here's a couple of names, well-known and more obscure, who played in just one All-Star Game but left a mark.
Hideo Nomo, 1995: With baseball reeling from the strike that canceled the World Series the year before, a Japanese import brought a mania back to the game as the Dodgers' Hideo Nomo created a frenzy not only in the United States, but in Japan, as well. Japanese fans got up early in what was there Wednesday morning to watch their new favorite son strike out three batters in two innings. Heathcliff Slocumb, in his only All-Star appearance, would get the win, but Nomo was the reason people were watching to begin with.
Bill Caudill, 1984: The right-handed reliever had 36 saves for the A's in 1984 and struck out nearly a batter an inning. His lone All-Star appearance was one to remember, striking out all three batters he faced, Tim Raines, Ryne Sandberg and Keith Hernandez in the eighth inning.
Max West, 1940: Just 23, West started in right field for the National League in 1940 as a representative of the Boston Braves, coming off a carer-high 19-homer season in 1939. After the first two batters of the 1940 game at Sportsmen's Park in St. Louis reached off of starter Red Ruffin, West homered to center, leading the team to a 4-0 victory. It would be West's only All-Star at-bat of his career. He missed three seasons due to his service in World War II and played in just two more seasons after the war, never duplicating his pre-war success.
Every great All-Star moment, has another side -- even the Harlem Globetrotters need their Washington Generals. Many players make just one All-Star appearance and not all of their marks are positive. Sometimes a player's lone All-Star Game is something to forget.
Here's a couple of those:
Chan-Ho Park, 2001: The 2001 All-Star Game in Seattle was all about the retiring Cal Ripken Jr., anyway, but in the third inning the Korean right-hander grooved a fastball down the heart of the plate and Ripken put it into the bullpen, making him the oldest player to ever hit a homer in the All-Star Game.
Brian Downing, 1979: Downing played 20 seasons and had 2,099 hits and 275 home runs, but made just one All-Star team, in 1979. In his lone All-Star plate appearance, Downing singled off of Bruce Sutter to lead off the eight in a tie game. After a sacrifice bunt, an intentional walk and a strikeout, Downing tried to score on a single to right by Graig Nettles. Had just about anyone else been in right field, Downing scores and is in line to be the game's hero. However, it was the Cobra, Dave Parker, in right. Just watch the video:
Dock Ellis, 1971: Ellis is best-known for the no-hitter he threw while on LSD, but was good enough to win 138 games in parts of 12 seasons and finish his career with a 3.46 ERA. He made his only All-Star team in 1971 and started the game for the National League at Tiger Stadium. With a 3-0 lead in the third and a runner on first, Ellis faced pinch hitter Reggie Jackson.
After Jackson's homer, Ellis gave up another two-run homer in the inning to Frank Robinson, finishing as the game's loser.
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Posted on: June 7, 2011 10:31 am
Edited on: June 7, 2011 11:25 am
By C. Trent Rosecrans
While the first-round of the MLB Draft is gaining more attention in the last couple of years, the later rounds are where most of the work is done.
The second round starts today at 11 a.m. ET, so here's a look at some of the best second-round picks in recent memory.
Angels: In 1999, the Angels took John Lackey out of Grayson County Community College with the 68th overall pick in the draft. In 1995, they took Jarrod Washburn with the first pick of the second round.
Athletics: The A's took Vista, Calif., high schooler Trevor Cahill with the 66th overall pick in 2006. Two years before that they took Kurt Suzuki in the second round and in 2003 they took Andre Ethier in the second round. They traded him for Milton Bradley and Antonio Perez in 2005.
Cubs: You have to go back pretty far -- unless you go with Bobby Hill -- to find much success with the Cubs' second-round pick, but if you go as far back as 1984, they took Greg Maddux with the third pick of the second round and he turned out OK. Also among their second-round picks is former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Quincy Carter (1996).
Giants: Of recent vintage, the Giants have taken Nate Schierholtz in 2003 and Fred Lewis in 2002, but the most interesting second-round pick by San Francisco was in 1982. That year they took the son of a team legend with the 11th pick of the second round (39th overall), but Barry Bonds went to Arizona State instead.
Indians: Jason Kipnis is one of the team's top prospects, taken in the second round in 2009. In 1995, the Indians took first baseman Sean Casey out of Richmond with the 53rd overall pick.
Mets: There's some slim pickins for the Mets recently, but few Mets fans would trade their second-rounder of 1977, Mookie Wilson. (Seriously, this one was tough, the only players the Mets have picked in the last 15 years who have made the majors were Kevin Mulvey, Neal Musser, Pat Strange and Tyler Walker -- maybe that explains some things.)
Nationals (Expos): Jordan Zimmermann was the team's second-rounder in 2007. Current Reds All-Star second baseman Brandon Phillips was taken by the Expos with the sixth pick of the second round in 1999.
Orioles: Nolan Reimold was taken 61st overall in 2005, but if you want to go back a few years, the team took Cal Ripken with the 22nd pick of the second round in the 1978 draft. Ripken was the third of four picks the Orioles had in the second round that year.
Padres: San Diego took Chase Hedley in 2005.
Pirates: Last year's pick was Stetson Allie, who many expected to go in the first round. Lefty Tom Gorzelanny was taken in the second round in 2003 and catcher Ryan Doumit was taken 59th overall in 1999.
Reds: NL MVP Joey Votto (2002) was the third pick of the second round (44th overall) and Travis Wood was taken in the second round of the 2005 draft. Keep an eye on 2009 pick Billy Hamilton, who already has 45 stolen bases this season for Class A Dayton.
Royals: For all the prospects the Royals have stockpiled in the last couple of years, strangely not too many are second-rounders. Outfielder Brett Eibner (2010) was the only member of the Royals' Top 10 by Baseball America taken in the second round. You have to go back to Carlos Beltran (1995), Jon Lieber (1992), Bob Hamelin (1988), Mark Gubicza (1981), Darryl Motley (1978) and Dennis Leonard (1972) to find serious big-leaguers. Oh, and also a kid out of El Segundo, Calif., in 1971 named George Brett. He was pretty good, too.
White Sox: A's outfielder Ryan Sweeney (2003) is the team's best second-rounder since Bob Wickman (1990) -- not counting Jeff Weaver, who went back to school after he was picked in 1997 and was taken by the Tigers a year later.
Yankees: In the last 20 years, only two Yankees second-rounders have made the big leagues, Shelley Duncan (2001) and Randy Keisler (1998). Catching prospect Austin Romine was the team's second-rounder in 2007. In 1982, the team did take a shortstop from McAdory High School in Bessemer, Ala., who went on to play football at Auburn instead. His name is Bo Jackson. That was the year after the team took Stanford outfielder John Elway.For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Tags: Aaron Cook, Alan Trammell, Andre Ethier, Angels, Anthony Swarzak, Astros, Athletics, Austin Romine, Barry Bonds, Billy Buckner, Billy Hamilton, Blue Jays, Bo Jackson, Bob Hamelin, Bob Wickman, Bobby Hill, Brandon Inge, Brandon Phillips, Braves, Brett Anderson, BRewers, Brian McCann, Broxton, Cal Ripken, Cardinals, Carl Crawford, Carlos Beltran, Chase Hudley, Chris Tillman, Cubs, Dan haren, Darryl Motley, David Bush, Dennis Leonard, Derek Bell, Diamondbacks, Dodgers, Dustin Pedroia, Frank Viola, Fred Lewis, Freddie Freeman, George Brett, Giants, Greg Maddux, Hunter Pence, Indians, Jarron Washburn, Jason Bourgeois, Jason Kipnis, Jeff Weaver, Jesse Crain, Jimmy Rollins, Joey Votto, John Lackey, Jon Jay, Jon Lester, Jon Lieber, Jonathan, Jordan Zimmermann, Josh Hamilton, Justin Masterson, Kevin Mulvey, Kevin Slowey, Kurt Suzuki, Mariners, Mark Gubixza, Marlins, Mets, Mike Stanton, Milton BRadley, MLB Draft, Mookie Wilson, Nate Schierholtz, Nationals, Neal Musser, Nolan Reimold, Orioles, Padres, Pat Strange, Phillies, Pirates, Quincy Carter, Randy Keisler, Rangers, Rays, Red Sox, Reds, Rich Poythress, Rockies, Royals, Ryan Doumit, Ryan Sweeney, Scott Baker, Sean casey, Seth Smith, Shelley Duncan, Stetson Allie, Tigers, Tom Gorzelanny, Travis Wood, Trevor Cahill, Twins, Tyler Walker, White Sox, Yankees, Yovani Gallardo