Versatility is Shaq Thompson's speciality. The former football star for the University of Washington played three positions in his senior year, putting up big numbers as a safety, linebacker and running back. After being drafted as a linebacker by the Carolina Panthers, Thompson is one game away from playing in the Super Bowl as a rookie. All he and his Panthers need to do is take care of the Arizona Cardinals this Sunday in the NFC Championship game.
Thompson is so versatile, it turns out, that he was drafted out of high school by the Boston Red Sox in 2012. He played in 13 games for the Gulf Coast League Red Sox, a rookie-level minor league affiliate of the MLB club.
He didn't do so hot.
In 39 total at-bats, Thompson registered exactly zero hits. Not one. Of those 39 trips to the plate, he struck out a ridiculous 37 times. According to Deadspin, he got the ball out of the infield just once on a line drive to right field. He walked eight times.
To be fair, Thompson stopped playing baseball from sixth grade through his senior year of high school, knowing full well that football would be the sport he'd play in college. But he and his family were wary about the injuries, especially concussions, that come with playing football, and they wanted to give the uber-athletic Thompson a shot to excel at another sport. The Red Sox drafted him knowing he would need a lot of development. They were willing to take a chance because of how athletically talented he was.
So yeah, Thompson struggled big time, and choosing football over baseball turned out to be a great move. Then again, how many of us can say we had a chance to be a dual-sport athlete in two professional leagues?
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