How the Montreal Expos nearly ruined Tom Brady’s career
|01.27.12 at 11:16 am ET|
Jeff Bradley of the Star-Ledger (N.J.) has a spectacular story today on Tom Brady‘s amateur baseball career. Brady went to Junipero Serra High School in California, a legendary program that produced Barry Bonds and a number of first-round picks, including Gregg Jefferies and pitcher Dan Serafini.
Brady was a left-handed-hitting catcher with impressive power and terrific arm strength. While he was inclined to go to college, the Expos took him in the 18th round of the 1997 draft and tried to steer him towards baseball.
A few highlights from Bradley’s tremendous article:
‘I remember after he won his first Super Bowl,’ says John Hughes, a baseball scout who tried to get Brady to sign with the Montreal Expos out of high school. ‘I was with some buddies and I said, ‘Man, I could’ve ruined this guy’s career if I’d only tried harder.’’’
Truth is, Hughes tried pretty hard to sign Brady. And with good reason.
‘I thought Tommy was a sure thing as a baseball player,’ said [Brady’s high school coach, Pete Jensen], who retired from coaching in 2009, after 24 years, but still teaches architectural design at Serra High. ‘Even more a sure thing than [Jeffries] or [Bonds], believe it or not. As good a football player as he was, I thought he was a better baseball player in high school.’
Evidently, the recruiting pitch made by Expos scout Hughes backfired spectacularly. Again, from the article:
In what was Hughes’ last, best pitch to sign Brady, he met him at Candlestick Park when the Montreal Expos were playing the San Francisco Giants, put him in an Expos uniform, and introduced him to Rondell White and F.P. Santangelo, who led him onto the field to take batting practice. Hughes was hoping this would be the type of experience to change his mind.
But when he went into the clubhouse a little while later, what Hughes saw pretty much convinced him there was no shot. ‘Tom was sitting on a stool in the clubhouse,’ Hughes recalled with a laugh. ‘And he was surrounded by guys from the team. And Tom was holding court. They all wanted to talk to him about playing quarterback in the Big House for Michigan. Guys were like, ‘You can’t pass that up for baseball.’’’
There’s plenty more to digest from Bradley’s story, which can be read here.