By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — It’s a thought that could send a diehard Patriots fan into a distressed state: What if Tom Brady had chosen baseball?
As everyone knows, the greatest quarterback of all time did face a decision of sorts as a senior in high school, when the Montreal Expos drafted him in the 18th round of the 1995 MLB Draft. That draft actually took place 22 years ago to this day, and as part of the annual celebration of Brady making the right decision, Bill Speros of Bleacher Report talked to several people who saw Brady’s baseball skills on display.
Included in that group was Kevin Malone, the man who ended up drafting Brady for the Expos. And Malone shared a trait he saw in Brady which has obviously transferred over to Brady’s football career.
“It was an impressive workout for the young man,” Malone said of a pre-draft workout at Candlestick Park. “He had a pretty good swing, and he had power. He was not overwhelmed by the stadium or by hanging around major league players. He had poise. You wouldn’t know — except for looking at his young face — that this guy was not part of our major league Montreal Expos team. He carried himself like a professional. He had that ‘it’ factor.”
Well, it might have taken a little while for the rest of the country to see that “it” factor, but it was on display nearly five years later when (avert your eyes, Ravens fans!) Brady helped Michigan overcome two separate 14-point deficits in an Orange Bowl victory over Alabama. And certainly, everyone learned of the “it” factor when Brady led the game-winning drive to defeat the heavily favored Rams in Super Bowl XXXVI. “It” has been on display every Sunday since.
And according to the man who tried to get him to play professional baseball, “it” was all on display one foggy evening in San Francisco.
“He was a very athletic young man — a big kid who had a great face, a major league face. Yes, we looked at the face,” Malone told Bleacher Report. “As a scout, one of the first things you look at is just the body — the type of body, the athleticism and what kind of face does he have. I know that sounds a little strange.
“I think he could have been one of the greatest catchers ever,” Malone stated.
Twenty-two years later, Patriots fans are thankful that his belief never had to be put to the test.