By Brent Schwartz, CBS Boston Sports
BOSTON (CBS) — After how much he’s accomplished as an NFL quarterback, it’s hard to believe how close Tom Brady got to playing baseball.
As detailed in a new story by The MMQB, Brady visited with both the Seattle Mariners and Montreal Expos as he was being scouted, before joining Michigan to play football.
When meeting with the Expos, Brady talked with several players, including F.P. Santangelo, who is now a Washington Nationals broadcaster. He gave Brady some advice for which Patriots fans should be forever grateful.
“We were telling him,” Santangelo says, “‘Why would you make $800 a month in the minor leagues when you can be the quarterback at the University of Michigan? You’re a good-looking guy, you can probably have a lot of fun off the field, too.’
“We told him: ‘Go play football at Michigan! Are you kidding me?’”
Brady obviously chose football, but you can imagine what could have been. Upon his visit with the Mariners, Brady ended up trying on Ken Griffey Jr.’s jersey after seeing the now-Hall of Famer’s locker.
“It was an incredible life experience,” said Brady.
Expos scout John Hughes wrote a positive scouting report on Brady after watching him practice, which intrigued then-Expos GM Kevin Malone.
“He was a left-handed, power-hitting catcher who was cerebral,” said Malone. “He had arm strength. He had everything that would warrant him being projected as a major league All-Star. He had everything.”
Malone relentlessly pursued Brady. He even drafted Brady in the 18th round of the 1995 MLB Draft – after Brady notified them he planned on attending Michigan that fall.
Roughly a decade later, Hughes watched Brady win one of his first three Super Bowls at a friend’s house.
“If I could’ve signed this guy, I would’ve changed the entire history of the NFL,” Hughes told his friends. “The NFL would’ve never been the same. Who would’ve known?”