Former NFL wide receiver Golden Tate may be done making plays on a football field, but he’s looking to extend his athletic career within our national pastime. Earlier this week, Golden signed a contract with the Port Angeles Lefties of the West Coast League.
Former MLB pitcher Jeff Samardzija is normally the name that people mention when referencing recent two-way athletes from the University of Notre Dame, but Tate was another member of the fighting Irish who made a name for himself on the diamond as well as the gridiron.
After only appearing in 18 games his freshman year, Golden racked up 73 hits in 55 games as a sophomore. He hit .329 with eight doubles and 4 triples while driving in 21 for Notre Dame and was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 50th round of the 2010 MLB draft, his second time coming off the draft board (He was taken in the 42nd round out of high school in 2007).
Tate will start in centerfield for the Lefties and is excited about the opportunity to revive his baseball career.
“I am extremely thankful to the West Coast League and the Port Angeles Lefties for allowing me to join their league,” Tate said in a statement. “As some might know, I was drafted twice in baseball. As a child, my first love was baseball, so I’m excited about the opportunity to compete against some of the best young players in the league. I look forward to having a lot of fun and exploring baseball more.”
Tate is probably the most notable football player to take baseball seriously since Tim Tebow, and we all remember how that turned out. Only time will tell if Golden’s long-shot MLB dreams are legit, but if he’s able to dust off the cleats and eventually make it to The Show, he’ll join a special group of elite athletes who have played both professional football and baseball.
Tate is highly unlikely to join the ranks of Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders or Brian Jordan, but he’s already accomplished something special by being drafted in both leagues. Here are a few other recent Black NFL players who hold this distinction. Unfortunately, each player mentioned chose football over baseball, something that we’ve seen far too often over the past 30 years.
Russell was drafted in the 41st round out of high school in 2007 by Baltimore, and again in 2010 when the Colorado Rockies made him a 4th round selection.
Kap was selected in the 43rd round by the Chicago Cubs in 2009.
Winston was a 15th round pick out of high school by the Texas Rangers in 2012.
Shaq was drafted in the 18th round by the Boston Red Sox in 2012.
Turned down $9M bonus from Oakland A’s to chase Heisman dreams at Oklahoma.