Tom Brady, drafted by Montreal Expos, 'could've been one of the greatest catchers ever'

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady greeted New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge in the tunnel of Raymond James Stadium ahead of a December game.

"Do you want to play tight end for us tonight?" Brady jokingly asked Judge at the time.

But some think it could have been the other way around. Brady retired on Wednesday as the greatest football player of all time. But could Brady have been a baseball great?

Kevin Malone, a former baseball general manager for the Montreal Expos and Los Angeles Dodgers, told Bleacher Report that Brady "could have been one of the greatest catchers ever." There was one catch. "His first love was football," Malone said.

That didn't stop Malone from drafting the left-handed hitting catcher out of Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, California with the 507th overall pick of the MLB draft in 1995.

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Tom Brady throws the ceremonial first pitch as Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches before the Boston Red Sox's 2015 home opener.
Tom Brady throws the ceremonial first pitch as Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches before the Boston Red Sox's 2015 home opener.

Brady went to Michigan for football and the rest is history, but let's play a game of “What If?” Could he have dominated baseball like he did football?

Did Tom Brady play baseball in high school?

Brady was a three-sport athlete at Junipero Serra High, playing football, baseball and basketball.

Brady made the "difficult transition" from first baseman to catcher his senior year,  according to a San Francisco Examiner article published in 1995. He used his left-hitting power to work his way up to No. 5 in the batting order.

"You've got to give Tommy a lot of credit," coach Pete Jensen told the Examiner at the time. "He really struggled in the first half of the season. He just couldn't buy a hit. He was below .200 for a while. But he's really come back."

Brady played on the varsity baseball team for two years and hit .311 with eight homers, according to MLB. It was enough to get noticed.

Did Brady get drafted in the MLB?

Yes. Brady was drafted in the 18th round of the 1995 MLB Draft by the Montreal Expos. Former Expos scout John Hughes says the club offered Brady in the "neighborhood of bottom of the second (round), top of the third type money" to lure him to the baseball diamond.

“If we were going to offer him that type of money, we felt he was going to be a future big-leaguer," Hughes told Sports Illustrated in 2017.

Could Tom Brady have succeeded in MLB?

Scouts seem to think so.

"He was a very athletic young man. A big kid who had a great face, a major league face. Yes, we looked at the face," Malone told Bleacher Report. "He had an athletic, strong body, but there was room for development. As a scout, one of the first things you look at is just the body — the type of body, the athleticism and what kind of face does he have. I know that sounds a little strange."

Hughes said Brady "had all the intangibles" to be a pro: "He could throw, left-handed power. There is no reason to think this guy couldn't have been a big-league catcher."

Is Tom Brady glad he selected football over baseball?

If his soon-to-be Hall of Fame career isn't enough to convince you he made the right choice, take his word for it. He shared a throwback baseball card on Facebook in 2016.

"I was fortunate to be selected by the Expos in the 1995 MLB Draft," Brady captioned the photo. "But ... I'm so happy I stuck with football!"

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tom Brady was drafted by Expos. How good was TB12 at baseball?