Tom Brady, widely considered the greatest football player of all-time, is once again retiring. He announced his retirement last year only to return a few weeks later, though this time Brady says it’s “for good.” He retires with seven Super Bowl rings (more than any single franchise), five Super Bowl MVPs, and as the NFL‘s all-time leader in passing yards (89,214) and touchdowns (649).
Like many others, Brady played multiple sports in high school, including baseball. He was a left-handed hitting catcher at Junípero Serra High School in San Mateo, California, and he was good enough that he was selected by the Montreal Expos in the 18th round of the 1995 Major League Baseball Draft. Brady of course gave up baseball to play football at Michigan, though he was a gifted baseball player.
Here’s what John Hughes, the Expos scout who drafted Brady, told the Hartford Courant about Brady the baseball player in January 2019:
“I never had as much fun scouting a player that we eventually didn’t sign,” chuckled Hughes, now an area scout with the Marlins. “We knew we didn’t have a good chance to sign him, because he had the scholarship (to play football for the University of) Michigan.
“He was drafted in the 18th round because everyone knew how difficult it would be to sign him,” Hughes said. “He was very talented. I mean on talent alone he would have been projected a late second-round pick.
“And I believe he would have made it, as a catcher, he would have gotten there.”
In his scouting reports, Hughes recalls Brady as already being around 6-3, “good athletic body” and “obviously” he could throw, Hughes said with a laugh. He had power to the pull-side and a good instinct for the game.
How does Brady think things would have played out had he stuck to baseball? “I’d be selling insurance, man. Baseball was not my sport,” he said on the Dan Patrick Show last June. There was definitely juice in Brady’s bat though. He wrapped a home run around the Pesky Pole at Fenway Park in 2003:
In addition to all his football accolades, Brady will go down as the last active professional athlete to be drafted by the Expos. The last before him was Ian Desmond, who was drafted by the Expos in 2004 but didn’t make his MLB debut until 2009, well after the team relocated and became the Washington Nationals. Like Brady, Desmond never actually played for the Expos.
And just in case you’re curious, Brady is a free agent and would be able to sign with any team if he decided to give baseball another try. The Expos/Nationals no longer control his baseball rights. He’s technically an undrafted free agent after exhausting his college eligibility and going undrafted out of Michigan. Lefty-hitting catchers are in short supply. Anyone interested?