Chicago Cubs: Professional sports stars that were almost Cubs

Chicago Cubs (Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs (Photo by Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images) /
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In another universe, these sports stars may have played for the Chicago Cubs.

If you’re good at one sport, you’re probably good at others and just maybe good enough to play for the Chicago Cubs.

MLB.com released a list of top NFL and NBA stars who were drafted by MLB teams. The list is long and obviously doesn’t encompass every single person drafted by an MLB team and then ended up playing another professional sport.

Highlights from the list include some of the guys you probably knew about (Kyler Murray, Russell Wilson, and Patrick Mahomes) and the guys you kind of do a double take when you see them on the list (Tom Brady and John Elway).

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The Chicago Cubs had some representation on there too.

First, was former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Here’s the blurb from the story:

"Colin Kaepernick, RHPDrafted by: Cubs, 43rd round, 2009Kaepernick was a bigger baseball prospect than football coming out of high school, and though the gridiron eventually won him over at the University of Nevada, his arm strength made him an imposing pitcher — as evidenced by the 87-mph first pitch he threw before a Giants game in 2013."

According to a 2010 New York Times article, Kaepernick threw a 94 MPH fastball, threw two no-hitters in high school and received a baseball scholarship from Notre Dame, Tennessee and Arizona State. He batted .318 as a junior and senior at Pittman High School in Turlock, California. He also had a 1.27 ERA as a senior.

A 2012 NBC Sports Chicago article, details how Cubs former director of scouting Tim Wilken viewed Kaepernick as a baseball player.

"There were reports that Kaepernick had an easy delivery and threw 92 mph at Pitman High School in Turlock, Calif., which is about two hours inland from San Francisco. He was listed at 6-foot-6, 180 pounds on MLB.coms draft database, while the NFLs website now has him at 6-foot-4, 230 pounds. Whatever the frame, the Cubs saw upside as a potential pitcher, not a franchise quarterback."

Another Cubs draftee showed up on the list besides Kaepernick.

The Cubs drafted former star NFL wide receiver Antwaan Randle El in the 14th round of the 1997 MLB draft. The Riverdale, Ill. native who went to school at Thornton Township High School in one of Chicago’s south suburbs said to Forbes.com that if he could do it all over again, he would have chosen to pursue baseball instead of football. He also could have maybe been one of baseball’s most memorable names.

"“If I could go back, I wouldn’t,” he said. “I would play baseball. I got drafted by the Cubs in the 14th round, but I didn’t play baseball because of my parents. They made me go to school. Don’t get me wrong, I love the game of football. But, right now, I could still be playing baseball.”"

Of course, for both Kaepernick and Randle El football worked out. But in a different lifetime or in an alternative universe, maybe they could have been playing at Wrigley instead of on the gridiron.

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Either way, both guys have pages on Baseball Reference because they did get drafted, so they’ll forever hold a small slice in baseball history.

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