The Chicago Cubs did everything they could to talk Colin Kaepernick into playing baseball in 2009, but the then-University of Nevada quarterback had a different dream that he wasn’t prepared to relinquish.
Regardless of being drafted by the Chicago in the 43rd round of the ‘09 amateur draft, Kaepernick wished to be an NFL quarterback. And as he gets ready to lead the San Francisco 49ers into Super Bowl XLVII against the Ravens, it’s obvious he made the right choice.
Kaepernick was an all-state baseball player in California, a right-handed pitcher who reportedly had thrown his fastball over 90 mph on occasion. He passed on baseball scholarships to play football in college, yet the Cubs still saw enough.
“I looked at his arm action in several [football] games and talked to people who saw him play baseball in high school,” Cubs crosschecker Sam Hughes announced. “The way he competed as the Reno quarterback and his athleticism led us to the belief he could be a good pro pitcher.” Basketball scores
The Chicago Cubs had drafted another college football star when they took Notre dame All-America receiver Jeff Samardzija in the 5th round of the 2006 draft. Samardzija is now part of the Cubs’ starting rotation.
Hughes offered Kaepernick despite never having seen him pitch.
“I saw him in still pictures only,” he claimed.
Kaepernick had 2 years of football eligibility left, and he told Hughes he was flattered by the offer.
“He was totally surprised by our draft of him,” Hughes recounted. “I had 4 phone conversations with him and his dad. He told me that he had a vision of playing in the NFL. He also had a commitment to his university and teammates to stay the course that he started on.”
Hughes attempted to persuade Kaepernick to sign with the Chicago Cubs and play a short-season rookie ball schedule before going back to college for his junior year.
“We would have waited for him to finish university and also would have paid for the rest of his education,” Hughes expounded. “He was very direct and honest about his target of becoming an NFL quarterback.
“From the people who saw him play at that time that looked like a little bit of a reach. That shows you what a lot of determination and a little talent can do for a driven guy like Colin. He never asked us about the money or asked to barter a deal.”
Kaepernick’s route to stardom on the football field wasn’t direct. He was drafted in the 2nd round and appeared in only 3 games in his rookie season last year. He was riding the bench this season until Alex Smith was hurt. The run-pass dual-threat QB took over and kept the job even after Smith got healthy.
He made the record books in the divisional round of the playoffs against Green Bay Packers, rushing for a QB-record 181 yards with 2 touchdowns, and passing for another 263 yards and 2 more TDs.
Kaepernick wasn’t quite as flashy against the Falcons in the NFC title game, but he has his team in the Super Bowl.