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Montreal Expos were willing to pay 17-year-old Tom Brady like a second round pick

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Brady could have been a “major league All Star,” according to one baseball general manager, instead of football’s GOAT.

Monday Morning Quarterback’s Tim Rohan wrote an interesting piece on New England Patriots QB Tom Brady and the quarterback’s potential as a baseball star. Rohan shares a story of how a young Brady wore Ken Griffey Jr.’s actual jersey in the clubhouse, but I thought it was interesting to learn about Brady’s actual ability on the baseball diamond.

Most Patriots fans know that Brady was also a baseball player in high school and that he was drafted by the Montreal Expos. Brady was a star catcher that Expos GM Kevin Malone claims “had everything that would warrant him being projected as a major league all-star.”

But “Brady had indicated that football was his true love and that he intended on attending Michigan in the fall,” according to Rohan, which led Brady to slip to the 18th round of the MLB Draft.

Rohan spoke with John Hughes, the Expos scout responsible for Brady, to learn more about the team’s actual opinion of Brady had he not been destined to play football at the University of Michigan.

The Expos had authorized Hughes to offer Brady a contract much more lucrative than what an 18th-rounder typically made. It was “in the neighborhood of bottom of the second [round], top of the third type money,” Hughes says. “If we were going to offer him that type of money, we felt he was going to be a future big-leaguer.”

In other words, the Expos were willing to pay Brady like one of their top draft picks in order to get him in their farm system. It’s not uncommon for baseball teams to pay more for a player than their draft slot would indicate, but it takes a unique situation for an 18th round pick to be paid like a second rounder.

Fortunately for the Patriots, the Expos asked the wrong people to give Brady a tour around the clubhouse. When Brady came up for a visit, he actually met with the son of a University of Michigan alumnus, Expos outfielder FP Santangelo.

“We were telling him,” Santangelo says, “ ‘Why would you make $800 a month in the minor leagues when you can be the quarterback at the University of Michigan? You’re a good-looking guy, you can probably have a lot of fun off the field, too.’ … We told him: ‘Go play football at Michigan! Are you kidding me?’ ”

Thank goodness for that oversight.

Everything ultimately worked out in the end as Brady went on to play quarterback for the University of Michigan before becoming the greatest NFL player of all time for the New England Patriots, while the Montreal Expos entered a steep decline and almost shut down but were ultimately purchased by the other owners in the league and relocated to Washington D.C.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m pretty sure that Brady would have saved the Expos.