NFL Football’s MLB All-Star Team
By Jake Smith
The leaves are changing color and the wind is blowing a little harder. That can only mean one thing; baseball and football at the same time. It’s that time of the year that both sports get to be played at the same time, and us sport fanatics couldn’t be more excited. As I’m trying to keep up with my fantasy baseball team and my fantasy football team, it got me to thinking…..could 9 NFL players take the diamond and compete on the baseball field? Here are the 9 guys I think would have a shot at it.
1. Golden Tate – CF
This speed demon had a chance to be one of the best base stealers the game of baseball has ever seen. As a sophomore outfielder for Notre Dame, Tate ran a 6.4, which is equal to all-time stolen base leader Rickey Henderson’s fastest 40-time. Tate was drafted twice into the MLB; by the Arizona Diamondbacks straight out of high school, and by the San Francisco Giants the same year he was drafted into the NFL. Tate is currently a wide receiver for the Detroit Lions and blew up last week with 165 yards and a touchdown.
2. Eric Decker – RF
Opposing pitchers would find Decker’s 6’2 / 210 lb. frame terrifying stepping up to the plate. Decker’s crazy athleticism led him to believe he could pick up baseball during his junior season at the University of Minnesota. Not only could he play, but he could play well. In his two seasons with the Golden Gophers, he hit for a .324 average with 7 bombs and 20 stolen bases. Decker also was drafted into the MLB twice; by the Milwaukee Brewers after his junior season and again by the Minnesota Twins in 2009. Decker is currently on the IR for the New York Jets, but has caught 9 passes for 194 yards and 2 touchdowns this season.
3. Jameis Winston – 3B
Even though it has been awhile, Winston’s name used to be associated with baseball, maybe even more so than football. A baseball star in high school, he was named Alabama’s #1 high school baseball player by MaxPreps. His numbers at the plate diminished once he got to Florida St., mainly due to the fact that he was used primarily as the closer in most games. He posted a .209 average with the Seminoles, but he probably had more things than most on his mind at the plate. Winston was drafted #1 overall to play quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but was also drafted by the Texas Rangers out of high school. Winston and the Bucs take on San Francisco this Sunday.
4. Kyle Long – 1B
Long is an athletic freak on the offensive line. When Long isn’t playing first base for this team, he would probably be on the mound, due to the fact he was hurling 97 MPH as a senior in high school. On top of that, he happened to hit .500 from the plate. Long had initially intended on pursuing a career in baseball and was drafted by the Chicago White Sox straight out of high school. He had accepted a scholarship to play at Florida State before getting into some legal trouble. Long’s miraculous journey brought him back onto the gridiron and he is currently playing for the Chicago Bears, who played the Packers on Thursday Night Football.
5. Dwight Freeney – DH
Dwight Freeney has been terrorizing opposing offenses on Sunday’s for 14 years now, and it’s crazy to think that he almost got through high school without even thinking about football. His freshman year of high school, he was only the goalie for the soccer team, but by the end of his senior year, he had lettered in soccer, football, basketball, and baseball. Legend has it that Freeney hit the longest homerun in the school’s history, clearing a full sized parking lot behind the outfield fence. With Freeney standing at 6’1 / 270 pounds of pure muscle, I’ll believe that in a heartbeat. Freeney is currently a defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons who take on the San Diego Chargers this weekend,
6. Russell Wilson – 2B
Another guy who is just a complete athletic freak, Wilson is just a winner. He could probably beat me in any board game, and would definitely crush me in a Home Run Derby. Wilson is also the only guy on this team that actually has some experience in the pros. He was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles out of high school, but then actually was drafted again after his junior season at North Carolina State by the Colorado Rockies in the 4th round! He posted a modest .229 average with 5 home runs and 19 stolen bases in two seasons with the Rockies’ minor league system. The fall of 2011 happened to be a magical one for Wilson, in which he took over quarterback duties for Wisconsin and the rest, as they say, is history. Wilson has only thrown one interception this season for the Seattle Seahawks, who play the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday Night Football this week.
7. Tom Brady – C
The Golden Boy who almost wasn’t. As a Jets fan, I can’t say I enjoy speaking too highly of Tom Brady, but nobody can dispute that Brady is one of, if not the, all-time greatest quarterbacks the game has ever seen. However, Brady almost didn’t even make it to the collegiate level. As a high school senior, Brady hit for a .311 average with 8 bombs and was drafted by the Montreal Expos (Uhm, who?) in 1995. Even though it was quite obvious Brady was going to go to the University of Michigan for football, it’s always fun to imagine a life of watching football without Tom Brady. Brady has been exceptional since coming back from his suspension, throwing for 782 yards and 6 touchdowns in just the two games that he’s played. The Patriots take on the Steelers this week.
8. Toby Gerhart – LF
Did Gerhart pick the wrong sport? Looking back, it’s hard to decide, since Gerhart has the single season rushing record at Stanford, but he was a force to be reckoned with on the diamond as well. Gerhart posted a career average of .264 with 9 home runs in 86 games for Stanford. Amazingly enough, Gerhart never made an error in any of his collegiate games as an outfielder. Gerhart stopped playing after his sophomore year to focus on his football career. Who knows how life could have been different for Gerhart had he continued playing. Gerhart is currently a free agent in the NFL. He ran for 44 yards on 20 carries for the Jacksonville Jaguars last year.
9. Johnny Manziel – SS
Who can forget. Johnny Football has been rumored by many to be even better at baseball. Manziel hasn’t played baseball since his junior year in high school, but happened to be good enough to get drafted by the San Diego Padres. Who knows what the future holds for Manziel? I hope he can clean his act up and get back onto a field sometime soon. Who knows, maybe it should be a baseball field? Manziel is currently a free agent, or retired from football, or in rehab. Can you ever really be sure of where Manziel is or what he is doing?