In his 11-season NFL career, wide receiver Golden Tate had 695 catches for 8,278 yards and 46 touchdowns. Almost two years after he played his last game on the gridiron, Tate is taking his talents out to the diamond.
The former two-sport star at Notre Dame signed with the Port Angeles Lefties of the West Coast League, a collegiate summer baseball league in the Pacific Northwest. Port Angeles is located in Washington – a couple of hours outside of Seattle – across the Salish Sea from Victoria, British Columbia.
“I am extremely thankful to the West Coast League and the Port Angeles Lefties for allowing me to join their league,” Tate said in a press release. “As a child, my first love was baseball. So I’m excited about the opportunity to compete against some of the best young players in the league. I look forward to having a lot of fun and exploring baseball more.”
The 33-year-old Tate signed on Tuesday and made his WCL debut in the Lefties’ game later that night. He started in center field and batted second. He went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and a run batted in, as Port Angeles defeated the Bend Elks by a score of 5-2.
Considering he is playing against college kids a dozen years younger, this might be more of a case of Tate being bored and/or a publicity stunt by the WCL. In terms of NFL-turned-baseball players, he is obviously not yet to be considered among the likes of Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders or even Tim Tebow. We will see if this ends up translating to a pro contract.
From the Gridiron to the Diamond
Golden Tate is actually a two-time MLB Draft pick, but did not sign either time. First, it was by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 42nd round in 2007 out of Pope John Paul II High School in Tennessee, then by the San Francisco Giants in the 50th round in 2010 from Notre Dame.
With the Fighting Irish baseball team, Tate played in 55 games as a sophomore and batted .329. He had 13 extra-base hits, 45 runs scored, 21 runs batted in and 13 stolen bases.
But that would be his last baseball season. In the fall of 2009, Tate had 93 receptions for 1,496 yards and 15 touchdowns. He earned unanimous First Team All-American status and won the Biletnikoff Award as college football’s best receiver. Tate declared for the 2010 NFL Draft chosen in the second round – 60th overall – by the Seattle Seahawks.