Tom Brady, the baseball player?
How the Expos missed out on the GOAT
Tom Brady grew up in San Mateo, California and went to Junipero Serra High School. He played baseball and basketball as a kid. To many’s surprise, Brady didn’t pick up football until he reached high school. He excelled in sports but was described as just an ordinary kid by those who knew him.
Brady was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 18th round of the 1995 Major League Baseball Draft. He was a power-hitting catcher with a great throwing arm. “I think he could have been one of the greatest catchers ever,” said then Expos general manager Kevin Malone.
Unfortunately, he didn’t pan out and never played professional baseball. Brady loved football and bet on himself. He believed in his quarterback skills even though not many did at the time.
Following his decision to forego his MLB opportunity, Tom Brady committed to the University of Michigan to play football. Brady was an average college player at best. A future in the National Football League seemed unlikely.
He took part in the draft combine where prospects can showcase their skills. Brady was labeled as unathletic. It’s safe to say that his performance was underwhelming.
Fast forward 20 years, Tom Brady is a football player, and a very good one at that. As he gets set to compete in his 10th Super Bowl (most in NFL history), it’s safe to say he made the right choice in pursuing a career in football. Brady, 43 years of age, is defying father-time and still playing at a high level. He is undoubtedly the greatest football player of all-time.
However, 30 out of 32 NFL fan bases do wish he had pursued baseball instead. Tom Brady on the diamond would have saved football fans from a ton of heartbreak over the years.
Brady was not a highly ranked football prospect. He was the 199th pick overall in the 2000 NFL draft. There were six quarterbacks chosen before him. At the time, it must have been a hard decision to not play professional baseball as he was drafted right out of high school. The decision looks fantastic now, but some thought definitely went into it.
This just begs the question: had Brady chosen to play for the Montreal Expos, would they still exist as a franchise today? Keep in mind that he wasn’t selected by the New England Patriots in the NFL with the hope of being the greatest to ever do it, but that still ended up happening. Considering his work ethic, could he have become a superstar baseball player? If yes, would the city of Montreal still have a baseball team? Now the Expos have had their fair share of stars in Vladimir Guerrero, Larry Walker, Pedro Martinez, Gary Carter and many others, yet they still folded as a franchise. It’s highly unlikely that Tom Brady, the football player, could have been the saviour, but it’s an interesting what-if scenario nonetheless.
“I think he could have been one of the greatest catchers ever.” – Kevin Malone
Brady is nowhere near my favourite football player, but I can’t help but acknowledge his greatness. I respect what he's done on the field over the years. However, If he were playing baseball for my hometown team at an elite level, I’d have a poster of him on my wall. We can only speculate on what his baseball career could have been, but for someone with that amount of drive, and competitiveness, you just have a feeling he’d find a way to be great.
I wish he had played baseball, that way my team could have had a chance to win a Super Bowl in the last two decades. On top of that, maybe I would have the chance to support a baseball team in Montreal as well.
The super bowl matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs should be a memorable one. It is headlined by a Tom Brady v. Patrick Mahomes battle. The Greatest against his Heir Apparent. Despite their difference in age, and their respective levels of hype as football prospects, they do share one similarity. Patrick Mahomes was a fantastic baseball player of his own. He is also a part owner of the Kansas City Royals in the MLB. Mahomes’ dad was also a professional pitcher in the MLB for 11 seasons.
Both Mahomes and Brady once made the crucial choice between baseball and football, opting to toss a pigskin instead of a baseball. They’ve reached the top of their sport, but many Montreal sports fans are left to wonder what kind of career Number 12 could’ve carved out behind home plate as an Expo.