Mahomes Thanks Tigers For 'Giving Me That Chance' In MLB Draft

Stories abound of his excellence on the diamond.

97.1 The Ticket
September 25, 2019 - 6:37 pm

© Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

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Before he was the best quarterback in the NFL, Patrick Mahomes, whose Chiefs will face the Lions on Sunday, was a draft pick of the Tigers. 

Detroit selected him in the 37th round in 2014 when Mahomes was playing both baseball and football at Texas Tech. The Tigers knew Mahomes' heart was set on the NFL, but they decided to take a flier on him in case football didn't pan out. 

(Narrator: It panned out.)

"He was one of the better athletes I've covered in East Texas in my 15 years," the Tigers' area scout who watched Mahomes told MLB.com in 2017. "If he had just focused on the mound, we'd be talking about somebody throwing 94-95. How he throws a football is a lot like how he throws a baseball."

Stories abound of Mahomes' exploits on the diamond. The son of longtime MLB pitcher Pat Mahomes, he started at every position but catcher at Whitehouse High School in Texas. In a doubleheader his senior year, Mahomes threw a no-hitter with 16 strikeouts in the first game, then went 3-4 with a homer and three RBI in the second. 

If not for his clear preference for football, scouts said Mahomes likely would have been a third- or fourth-round pick as a pitcher out of high school. He still landed a dual-scholarship to Texas Tech, where he played baseball for one season before switching full-time to football as a sophomore. 

With the Chiefs coming to Detroit this week, Mahomes was asked Wednesday about his brief affiliation with the Tigers. 

"They knew I was going to play football, but it was still a cool opportunity to get that accomplishment of having that and I appreciate them for giving me that chance," he said. 

Now it falls on the team across from Comerica Park to try and stop him. It's no small task for Matt Patricia and the Lions. Mahomes, who's already thrown 10 touchdowns (and zero interceptions) this season, will come to Ford Field guns blazing. 

Asked Wednesday whether he'd prefer to see Mahomes in the pocket or out of it, Patricia said, "Probably neither. On the sideline is probably where I’d like to see him the most. He’s just really good, he’s a really good young player. This guy, every single play is extremely dangerous."