Washington Nationals: Tom Brady almost played here


The Washington Nationals, not the New England Patriots, might have been Tom Brady’s pro sports home as a catcher. DC’s loss is Boston’s gain.

In an alternate universe this weekend, Matt Wieters is quarterbacking the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII while we remember Washington Nationals catcher Tom Brady’s recent retirement.

Far-fetched? Sure. We have no idea if Wieters is capable of quarterbacking in the National Football League. However, we know the Montreal Expos thought highly of Brady.

To the point they drafted him straight out of Junipero Serra High in San Mateo in the 18th round of the 1995 MLB Draft. The catcher was the 507th overall selection. Michael Barrett and Brian Schneider, in case you are wondering, were two players selected by the Expos that year who played in over 1000 MLB games.

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Brady chose to enroll at the University of Michigan where he eventually replaced Brian Griese as starting quarterback. Griese led the Wolverines to a split national championship in 1998. Brady earned the job the spring of 1999 and paid the price of not being Griese.

Times have changed.

Brady’s draft stock was so low after his 20-5 stint as the Michigan starter, the Pats took him in the sixth-round in 2000. He sat behind Drew Bledsoe his entire rookie year.

The spirit and intestinal fortitude we see from Brady now was not how most thought of him 18 years ago. There might have been a few thoughts of him returning to baseball where there is always the need for good catchers.

Five years before, the Expos liked what they saw. If Brady thought his better chance of starting every day came from baseball over football, Montreal might re-draft him. It is not uncommon for players to get drafted out of high school and choose college. Brady fits that mold.

If he chose baseball, assuming the talent and ability to hit a curve were there, Brady would earn a cup of coffee with the Expos in either late 2003 or 2004. Which means, if he had a real MLB career, he would have been an original Washington National. Imagine Livan Hernandez tossing to Brady at RFK on Opening Day 2005 in front of a packed house.

Kismet for the California kid with posters of Joe Montana plastered on his bedroom walls. Do you think Brazilian supermodels dig catchers?

As you know, Brady’s decision to play football was the correct one. This is his eighth trip to the Super Bowl. A win over the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday would give him six Vince Lombardi trophies. Not too shabby.

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But, it is fun to think of what might have been. Instead of a legendary quarterback, a decent catcher in Washington, maybe?