How good was colin kaepernick at baseball? Kaepernick details his pivot from baseball to footbal

How good was colin kaepernick at baseball? It’s not uncommon for professional athletes to have been standouts in numerous sports in high school — or even college in some instances.

Allen Iverson and LeBron James were both phenomenal football players before focusing on basketball.

But what some might not know is that before Colin Kaepernick became a big-time quarterback, he was a highly sought-after baseball prospect and was once drafted by the Chicago Cubs.

Colin Kaepernick was an all-state pitching prospect in high school

While most might think Colin Kaepernick had a ton of scholarship offers to play college football, that’s actually not the case. The University of Nevada was the only school to offer the three-sport star (he was all-state in basketball as well) a football scholarship, as most schools were interested in him for his talents on the baseball field, which they certainly had reason to be.

In his final two years at John H. Pitman High School in Turlock, California, Colin Kaepernick had a .318 batting average, a .398 on-base percentage, and one home run with 24 runs batted in. Sure, that may not sound all that impressive over 59 games, but his hitting was simply an added bonus as he was a menace on the mound.

With a fastball in the low-to-mid 90s, Kaepernick had a microscopic 1.38 ERA in 146 2/3 innings between his junior and senior seasons while posting a 15-6 record. He had 179 strikeouts against 67 walks, and opponents hit just .167 against him.

how good was colin kaepernick at baseball

He obviously chose football over baseball

While he had more offers to play college baseball, Colin Kaepernick was adamant that he wanted to play college football. He accepted that lone scholarship offer to Nevada, where he had a phenomenal career.

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In his four years with the Wolf Pack, Kaepernick threw for 10,098 yards and 82 touchdowns against just 24 interceptions. He also rushed for 4,118 yards and 59 touchdowns (he also had one receiving TD), making him the first player in Division I history to throw for 10,000 yards and rush for 4,000 yards in a career. He was twice named the WAC Offensive Player of the Year and became one of the most talked-about quarterbacks in college football.

But the Chicago Cubs were still wanting him to give baseball a shot.

The Chicago Cubs selected Colin Kaepernick in the 43rd round of the 2009 MLB Draft

As Colin Kaepernick was becoming a star football player at Nevada, the Chicago Cubs were still keeping an eye on him as a baseball player. They saw the big arm and the long release and still felt he was more of a pitcher than a quarterback.

The Cubs’ former director of scouting, Tim Wilken, once told NBC Sports that he truly thought the North Siders had a chance of converting him back to the diamond based on what he’d heard about Kaepernick’s chances in the NFL.

So even knowing that Colin Kaepernick might not sign, the Cubs took a chance and drafted him in the 43rd round of the 2009 MLB draft. This was just before his junior year at Nevada, and the Cubs went out and made their pitch (pardon the pun) to Kaepernick and his father.

They were prepared to offer him between $30,000 and $50,000 to play in the Arizona rookie league as kind of a summer job. But Kaepernick wasn’t having it, citing his desire to remain with his Wolf Pack teammates as he’d become the leader of the team, which the Cubs certainly respected.

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Obviously, we know that Colin Kaepernick never signed with the Cubs and was later drafted into the NFL, leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl.

But hey, Kaepernick is still in shape and obviously isn’t wanted by the NFL anymore. We once saw him throw an 87 mph fastball when tossing out a ceremonial first pitch at a San Francisco Giants game, so perhaps we’ll still see him put that strong right arm to use someday.

how good was colin kaepernick at baseball

Kaepernick details his pivot from baseball to football in ‘Change the Game’

Before he was the face of a protest movement, before he was a starting quarterback in the Super Bowl, Colin Kaepernick was a teenager who, like many teenagers, was trying to figure out who he was and where he was going.

COLIN KAEPERNICK: Navigating the difficulties of family, community, school and major life decisions.

SUMMERS: Like whether to pursue baseball, where he had lots of offers from colleges and pro teams, or football, which in his heart he loved more, and what it meant that his adoptive parents were white but the world saw him as Black.

KAEPERNICK: So I was trying to navigate that while having a white family and being in a predominantly white community and trying to find ways to make sure that my identity and my Blackness isn’t stripped from me along that journey.

SUMMERS: His new graphic novel, written with Eve Ewing and illustrated by Orlando Caicedo, is about that time in his life. It’s called “Change The Game.” At one point, young Colin Kaepernick decides to get his hair braided in cornrows. When we spoke, he said he’d been inspired by an athlete who played neither baseball nor football, the NBA superstar Allen Iverson.

KAEPERNICK: He was someone that I looked up to, and I saw him be so unapologetically Black and unapologetically himself. It was something that I aspired to, and I looked at that as an opportunity for me to be able to really take hold of my Blackness and do it in a way that I was proud of and I was excited about. And the difficulty with that is being in white culture with Eurocentric beauty standards, navigating what their response to that was. At 15 years old, it took me, I think, about 14 years before I grew my hair back out.

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KAEPERNICK: So it’s really to show the impact those moments can have on a young man, on a young woman, and how that carries with them through life.

SUMMERS: This is not the first book that you’ve published that’s aimed at younger audiences. You also, along with illustrator Eric Wilkerson, published a children’s book called “I Color Myself Different” that charts a really pivotal moment in your younger life. And this book, “Change The Game,” of course, is a graphic novel. What made you want to put out a graphic novel?

KAEPERNICK: There were a few reasons. One of the reasons – growing up, I wasn’t an avid reader because I didn’t have stories or I wasn’t introduced to books that had characters that I related to. It wasn’t until I read “We’ll Never Forget You, Roberto Clemente” that I saw another Black person as the lead of a book. It was game-changing for me.

KAEPERNICK: I knew there were other books out there and other opportunities to be able to find stories, to find narratives that I identified with. So what we’re looking to do now is, for younger audiences, give them, hopefully, characters and stories that they relate to but also give them pieces of knowledge and situations and try to help them navigate those in ways that I didn’t have access to growing up and, based upon conversations that I’ve had, a lot of other people didn’t as well.

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