Talk about “Angels in the Outfield.” What if Tebowmania had struck the baseball diamond instead of the University of Florida and then the NFL?
It almost happened, as Boston Red Sox scout Tom Kotchman told WEEI beat writer Rob Bradford. Kotchman was scouting for the Los Angeles Angels when Tim Tebow was a senior at Nease High School in Jacksonville, Fla., and he was wowed at a batting practice all those years ago.
That tends to happen when a high schooler belts 12 of 15 batting practice balls out of the park.
“We wanted to draft him,” Kotchman remembered, “but he never sent back his information card. Either it never got to him, or … It’s Tim Tebow. Who knows if it got to him, and if it did we just never got it back. Otherwise were were going to take him.”
Tebow did not play baseball as a senior, but he batted .494 while earning all-state honors as a junior.
“I believe he could have played in the big leagues,” said Nease coach Greg “Boo” Mullins, who called Tebow a “six-tool player” and a potential Round 7 to 12 draft pick.
Pundits may knock Tebow’s arm, but the truth is that it is good enough to make passes in the NFL. Combine that with his legs that made him a Heisman Trophy winner, and it’s safe to assume Tebow could at least handle his own in any athletic sphere.
But what if he had dedicated himself to baseball full-time?
“He had a strong arm and had a lot of power,” said Red Sox Florida scout Stephen Hargett, who worked with Kotchman with the Angels. “He had leverage to his swing. He had some natural loft. He had some good power. He was a good athlete. He had had enough arm for that position. He was a left-handed hitter with strength and some size. He stood out. He was bigger and stronger than everybody. … It was just easy for him. You thought, if this guy dedicated everything to baseball like he did to football, how good could he be?”
The world will never know — but we’re pretty sure Florida fans are just fine with how it all played out.