Despite falling short in Super Bowl XLIX on Sunday night, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has accomplished a lot for a 26-year old.
He’s already a Super Bowl champion, a two-time Pro Bowler and later this month he will be reporting to Spring Training with the Texas Rangers for the second year in a row. Wilson did report to Spring Training with the Rangers last year, where he took part in infield drills and spoke to the team, but he did not see action in any of the games. It seems like the same activities are in store for the two-time reigning NFC champion this year as well.
The 5’11” Wilson is built more like a middle infielder than your typical NFL quarterback and it’s been hard to keep him away from the sport of baseball despite much success on the gridiron.
Wilson was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 41st round in 2007, but he opted not to sign and attended North Carolina State, where he played both football and baseball. He was selected in the fourth round by the Colorado Rockies three years later and this time Wilson signed and spent his summer playing for the Asheville Tourists (Class A), where he hit three home runs but only batted .228. The next fall, Wilson transferred to Wisconsin for his senior season and had a breakout year with Badgers, throwing 33 touchdowns to just four interceptions and helping Wisconsin win the Big Ten crown. This led him to inform the Rockies that he would not report to Spring Training and that he was going to pursue a career in the NFL.
In a bit of a surprise, the Rangers selected Wilson in the Triple-A round of the Rule 5 draft in 2013 after the Rockies left him unprotected.
Looking at all of Wilson’s accolades as a professional quarterback, it’s easy to say he made the right decision. This still hasn’t stopped any debates regarding how Wilson would have fared if he turned his attention fully towards baseball.
Even though his short stint in Minor League Baseball didn’t produce eye-popping numbers, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports has found a few baseball evaluators who believe that Wilson would have made it to the big leagues, mostly because he possess a drive and determination greater than most players they have scouted.
A countless number of other NFL quarterbacks have also been selected in the MLB Draft. The list includes Hall of Fame quarterbacks John Elway and Dan Marino as well as active starters such as Tom Brady and Colin Kaepernick.