F.P. Santangelo was a career .245 hitter who totaled 21 homers in his seven seasons playing mostly outfield and a little infield with four major league teams.
But he changed the fortunes of the NFL, the New England Patriots and a certain 18th-round Montreal Expos’ draft pick from Serra High School in San Mateo, Calif., forever.
Brady’s baseball days as a catcher at Serra are well-documented. MMQB takes another spin through it in a story that recalls Brady visiting both the Kingdome in Seattle and Candlestick Park in San Francisco for baseball workouts while he was being scouted.
Santangelo, now a broadcaster for the Washington Nationals, was then a 27-year-old outfielder who was assigned to be the 17-year-old Brady’s chaperone for his day at Candlestick before the Expos played a game there.
In the clubhouse, Santangelo and other Expos were talking to the catching prospect about the other sport he played.
“We were telling him. ‘Why would you make $800 a month in the minor leagues when you can be the quarterback at the University of Michigan?" Santangelo told MMQB. "You’re a good-looking guy, you can probably have a lot of fun off the field, too.’
“We told him: ‘Go play football at Michigan! Are you kidding me?’”
The rest, of course, is football history. Goodbye, 507th overall pick in the MLB draft. Hello, 199th pick in the NFL draft.
The last quote in the MMQB story is from Expos scout John Hughes, who recalled what he told his friends years later as he watched a Super Bowl.
“If I could’ve signed this guy, I would’ve changed the entire history of the NFL,” Hughes said. “The NFL would’ve never been the same. Who would’ve known?”