The first time F.P. Santangelo met Tom Brady, he wasn’t Tom Brady, Super Bowl MVP. He was Tom Brady, teenager standing at an athletic crossroads.
Twenty-four years ago, the Expos took Brady in the 18th round of the 1995 MLB draft out of Junipero Serra High, and the former Expos utilityman had been tapped to serve as Brady’s chaperone for an afternoon at Candlestick. Draft picks didn’t usually get the call to hang out with major leaguers, but Montreal was trying to woo him away from football, and the thinking was taking BP on the field might be the sort of thing to sway Brady.
Brady was a legit baseball prospect — Expos scout John Hughes told me a few years ago Brady was an “above-average player with a good bat who could hit for power. Coupled with his makeup, those types of guys aren’t easy to find. That made him a nice prospect.” Here’s some video of Brady as a high-school ballplayer — he’s wearing No. 21.
Santangelo, who is now the TV analyst for the Washington Nationals, recalls Brady making an impression as a ballplayer. But when he found out Brady was ticketed to play quarterback at Michigan, things changed pretty dramatically.