The NFL draft has now concluded, 253 players chosen by the 32 teams, all hopeful to have professional careers.
One of those who is likely to have a good NFL career is quarterback Patrick Mahomes, chosen by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round, 10th overall.
If the name sounds familiar to you as a Cubs fan, it should, because Mahomes’ father, also named Patrick (though known during his baseball career as “Pat”), pitched for the Cubs through much of the 2002 season.
That was a lost year for the Cubs in which manager Don Baylor was fired midseason and the team lost 95 games, so if you were paying little attention that year, you might have missed Pat Mahomes’ 16 appearances in the blue pinstripes. Above, he’s pictured at Wrigley Field in a game against the Astros on June 1, 2002, one of his better appearances for the Cubs. He threw three scoreless relief innings that afternoon after Houston had pounded Mark Prior for seven runs in 3⅔ innings. Here’s my scorecard from that game (link opens .pdf).
The Cubs signed Pat Mahomes as a free agent January 31, 2002 and he began the year at Triple-A Iowa. He was called up May 13 when shortstop Alex Gonzalez was placed on the disabled list, and made eight appearances through that June 1 game, then was outrighted to Iowa when Carlos Zambrano, who had been on the DL, was activated.
He was recalled again September 1 when rosters expanded and made eight more appearances, including two starts against the Pirates. One of those was decent, the other not so much.
Mahomes was a free agent again after the 2002 season and signed with the Pirates, for whom he made nine appearances during the 2003 season, his last in the big leagues. He hung around in the minor-league systems of the Pirates, Marlins, Expos, Dodgers, Royals and Blue Jays as late as 2007.
Truth be told, Pat Mahomes wasn’t a very good pitcher, although he managed to stick around for 11 big-league seasons. His best year by bWAR was strike-shortened 1994, when he made 21 starts for the Twins and posted a 4.73 ERA and 1.9 bWAR. He had a decent year in relief for the 1999 Mets (3.68 ERA, 0.9 bWAR), pitching in four postseason games for them that year.
Pat Mahomes is now 46, and his son Patrick now has at least a chance to be a successful NFL quarterback. At least that’s what the Chiefs are hoping. If you thought the name “Mahomes” sounded familiar to you but you couldn’t quite place it, there’s a little slice of Cubs history connected with this year’s NFL draft.