This story on Yahoo! got me looking through BA’s draft archives. We now have 10 years of draft coverage in our archives after finding our ’99 stuff, which also is mostly free content. (There are some dead links as some files have been lost to the ages due to server moves and other technical issues.)
Yes, BA did have Troy Polamalu ranked in our draft preview issue in 1999 (subscribers only), which is pretty awesome. It also got me thinking about other baseball ties to the Arizona Cardinals and Pittsburgh Steelers.The biggest baseball ties to this Super Bowl are on the Steelers. Reserve running back Mewelde Moore played three seasons in the Padres farm system and ranked as San Diego’s No. 29 prospect in our first Prospect Handbook, the 2001 edition. The Padres drafted him in the fourth round in 2000, gave him a $250,000 bonus and allowed him to split time between the minors and college football at Tulane. However, he hit just .210 in 176 at-bats over three years before turning to football full-time.
The Steelers’ third-string quarterback, Dennis Dixon, was the Braves’ fifth-round pick in 2007, signing for $137,000, then hurt his knee that fall while quarterbacking Oregon and didn’t play for the Braves in 2008. Dixon didn’t play college baseball for the Ducks (whose program returns this spring), but he was a highly-ranked prospect in 2003 (subscriber-only link), No. 59 on our preseason Top 100, coming out of a Northern California high school. He went 13-for-74 (.176) in two Rookie-ball stops in ’07. He threw one pass for Steelers this year, in the last regular-season game against the Browns.
Here was our scouting report on Dixon heading into the 2003 draft: OF Dennis Dixon has more tools and upside than any high school player but hasn’t made a full commitment to baseball. An outstanding high school quarterback, he signed to play football at Oregon, which doesn’t have a baseball program. Scouts say he could have been a second- or third-rounder if he concentrated on the diamond. His arm, speed and raw power all rate above-average, but he doesn’t produce consistently enough with the bat. He needs a lot of repetitions in all phases and likely would be a two-year Rookie-ball player if he chose baseball.
Cardinals cornerback Matt Ware, out for the Super Bowl with facial fractures, spent two years in Rookie ball with the Mariners after being a 21st-round pick in 2001 out of high school. Ware played football at UCLA while playing minor league baseball and was the Philadelphia Eagles’ third-round pick in the 2004 NFL draft.
Lastly, Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward was drafted in the 73rd round by the Marlins in 1994 out of high school. One round earlier, the Marlins took future Boston College quarterback Glenn Foley, who played in the NFL for the Jets and Seahawks, and 72 rounds earlier, the Marlins started their draft with a quarterback—Josh Booty, who recieved a then-record $1.6 million signing bonus.
Ward of course chose football, attending Georgia before becoming Jim Callis’ favorite current Steeler.
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