Former baseball players heading back to the gridiron is becoming an increasingly common theme in the recent history of college football. Chris Weinke of Florida State and Brandon Weeden at Oklahoma State are two big-time names that played football after attempts at making it big in professional baseball.
And that is generally the problem: Very rarely have those baseball players actually made it all way the to the Big Leagues before heading back to school on a football scholarship. If a player has already played professional baseball, why go back to college football?
However, such is precisely the case for Jai Miller, a former three-sport star out of Selma, Alabama. Miller was set to play football at Stanford out of high school but chose instead to enter the Florida Marlins farm system after the organization selected him in the fourth round (113th overall) of the 2003 Major League Draft.
According to The Baltimore Sun, Miller, now 27 years old, has hung up his glove and enrolled at the University of Alabama, where he will play football for coach Nick Saban’s Tide.
Alabama goes for its third national title in a four-year span as it plays Notre Dame in the BCS Championship game in Miami.
Once the game is all wrapped up, win or lose, the program begins gearing up for spring practices, when Miller will join as most likely a safety.
After being selected by the Marlins, Miller steadily rose through the ranks as a power hitter who could play all three outfield positions. From 2004-2007 he played Single-A ball, before finally putting it all together with the Double-A Carolina Mudcats. There, he hit .261 with 14 home runs, 26 doubles and 58 RBIs.
Miller made his debut for the Marlins in 2008, going 0-1 in his only ballgame in the Bigs before being designated for assignment in 2010.
He was claimed off of waivers by the Oakland Athletics but eventually made his way to Kansas City. He posted his first Major League hit with the Royals and in total, played in 20 games in Kansas City, hitting a home run and collecting four RBIs.
He was once again signed be Oakland the following season, spending the majority of his time in Triple-A, but hitting a home run and two RBIs in seven games with the Athletics.
His final stop was with the Baltimore Orioles. He posted a strong Spring Training (his 10 RBIs were second on the team) but his propensity to strike out sent him back to Triple-A. He spent the year there before leaving as a free agent.
Now, at 27 years old, Miller takes a swing at a different sport — and a shot at playing professional ball in an entirely different field of play.
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