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The Path to NFL Greatness for Patrick Mahomes Began with Baseball

March 16, 2020

The Path to NFL Greatness for Patrick Mahomes Began with Baseball



Patrick Mahomes recently visited Disney World.

It’s a traditional journey taken by the Super Bowl’s winning quarterback. Giving a football player a trip to see Mickey and the gang is a clever marketing ploy, but it’s also symbolic.

Mahomes is a world champion. He arrived on the NFL’s elite stage in just his second season as a starter.

Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs bested the San Francisco 49ers to grab the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LIV on February 2. At 24 years, 138 days old, he became the youngest player to win the Super Bowl MVP.

 

Sports stars come in all shapes and sizes, attitudes and behaviours. If Mahomes seems calm and composed beyond his years, it’s because he’s been around pro athletes his entire life. And it’s a story that features a diamond far more than a gridiron.

Old Man on the Mound

Patrick’s father, Pat Mahomes, spent parts of 11 seasons as a big league pitcher between 1992 and 2003. During that time, the journeyman rightly saw stints with the Twins, Red Sox, Mets, Rangers, Cubs, and Pirates.

Midway through his MLB career, Pat played a season with the Yokohama BayStars of the Japanese pro league in 1998. He continued pitching in independent leagues until 2009.

The elder Mahomes, like his son, played multiple sports during his formative years in Texas. He didn’t take the mound until his senior year--Pat was called upon to pitch after the team’s starter suffered an injury.

The ad hoc opportunity led Pat to a storied career. He was selected by the Twins in the sixth round of the 1988 MLB Draft after opting out of scholarship offers to play college baseball, basketball, and football.

Incredibly, Pat was taking the mound with the Elizabethton Twins, Minnesota’s rookie-level farm club, within a year of his amateur pitching debut.

Following in His Father’s Footsteps

Pat’s baseball career made an indelible impression on Patrick.
The younger Mahomes often accompanied his father to the ballpark, where he learned about commitment from big leaguers. Patrick recalls being amazed by the work ethic he would see from Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter when Pat’s club played the Yankees.

“I watched how hard [Rodriguez and Jeter] worked. I got to see it every day, how they were the first people there,” Patrick told Peter King on the Football Morning in America show. “It told me that if I wanted to be great, I had to put the work in.”

Patrick took the hard work message to heart as he endeavored on his own career on the diamond. He was scouted by MLB teams as a pitcher and outfielder while playing amateur baseball in Tyler, Texas.

Scouts noted his six-foot, six-inch frame and physical strength boded well for a pitcher. Evaluators also noticed a powerful outfield arm and a pitcher with a 94-mph fastball and improving curveball.

The future NFL MVP entered the 2014 MLB Draft as the 419th ranked prospect in the country. The Tigers pounced and selected Patrick in the 37th round of the draft.

Unfortunately for Detroit, Patrick never walked through the door to a life in pro baseball. He opted instead to play quarterback at Texas Tech, where he achieved even greater heights on the gridiron.

The Chiefs selected Patrick with the 10th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Football was the Right Decision

Patrick made the right call when he decided to focus exclusively on football. He’s emerged as the new generational talent at quarterback in an era when Tom Brady and Drew Brees are winding down their careers.

Kansas City’s Super Bowl run in February reinvigorated the big game. Super Bowl LIV  was the most popular NFL championship with viewers and sports bettors in several years. One hundred million Americans watched the telecast, while a record amount was wagered on the Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers point spreads, and total points.


However, it wasn't for baseball, Kansas City may not have claimed their first Super Bowl title in 50 years. And Mickey would likely be shaking another quarterback’s hand.
 


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