Aside from being a standout linebacker for the USC Trojans, Oakland Raiders coach Jack Del Rio played behind-the-plate as a catcher for the Cardinal and Gold.
Del Rio, who was drafted in 1981 out of Hayward High in the Bay Area by the Toronto Blue Jays, was a multi-sport athlete during his collegiate days at USC.
Given his linebacker size and strength, Del Rio definitely had the brains and brawns to be a catcher behind-the-plate willing to take on any runner at the plate.
Even if it were the all-time hits leader in MLB, Pete Rose, coming in hard to try to score a run, Del Rio would embrace it and said “it would be one heck of a collision,” via his Twitter feed.
The conversation started when ESPN’s baseball writer Pedro Gomez posted a picture of Del Rio on the diamond, responding to an earlier discussion about getting kids to play multiple sports.
Then, Pro Football Talk chimed in and brought up the possibility of Rose, who belted then Cleveland Indians catcher Ray Fosse at the plate during the 1970 All Star game.
Rose, who shined during his run with the Cincinnati Reds, recorded 4,256 career hits during his 24-year career. Whether Del Rio or Rose would come out on top after a collision, we will never know.
But given his size and football career, my money is on Del Rio.
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