49ers' Kaepernick was once wanted for baseball talent
BY JANIE MCCAULEY Associated Press
Thursday, January 24, 2013
1/24/13 at 4:52 AM
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Chicago Cubs scout Sam Hughes watches Colin Kaepernick nowadays and still wonders what the strong-armed NFL quarterback might look like on a pitching mound, as a power arm in the pros.
The Cubs never even watched Kaepernick throw a baseball before drafting him in the 43rd round almost four years ago. They did watch him throw a football for Nevada and decided the college game told them more than enough.
Ultimately, the Cubs just couldn't lure Kaepernick away from his first love: football. Now, he's headed to the Super Bowl to lead the 49ers against Baltimore on Feb. 3.
Hughes, the longtime national cross-checker in the Cubs' scouting department, and several others, including then-general manager Jim Hendry, figured they should give it a shot and hope Kaepernick might reconsider. Hughes tried for two weeks to convince Kaepernick, who had made it all but clear he would not sign. He was surprised anybody drafted him at all given he had been so upfront about sticking with football.
But Chicago's NFL sources - Hughes said three different teams - figured Kaepernick would be a late-round pick or even someone who might have to go the route of the Canadian Football League.
That seems so laughable now. The Niners picked Kaepernick in the second round of the 2011 draft, made him the starter midseason this year and now will ask him to carry them all the way to the franchise's sixth championship in what will be just his 10th career NFL start.
"I was looking at this tall, kind of gangly at the time quarterback that was super athletic and had this really long throwing motion," Hughes said. "I was talking to some of my buddies at Reno and said, 'Boy, I wonder if this kid's ever played baseball. He's got an arm stroke like a pitcher.' "
That sent Hughes on a research project. Kaepernick regularly threw 90 mph in high school, but was now some 40 pounds heavier as a college football player.
"So, I was definitely intrigued, bigger, stronger, more athletic," Hughes said. "Colin had no idea we were even considering drafting him. I kind of caught him off guard when I called him after we drafted him "
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh can appreciate the Cubs' attempt to recruit Kaepernick to baseball.
"He's a man for all seasons," Harbaugh said. "Tremendous football player, basketball player, baseball player, a tremendous athlete with a lot of gifts of God. And a tremendous competitive fire, readiness and willingness to compete, to be able to make cool-headed decisions under fire. Who wouldn't want a player like that in baseball or football?"
Or basketball. He was a three-sport star at John H. Pitman High in Turlock, Calif., a couple of hours east in California's Central Valley, averaging 15.4 points per game.
Original Print Headline: Cubs liked Kaepernick for his baseball potential
Super Bowl XLVII
Baltimore vs. San Francisco
At New Orleans 5:30 p.m. Feb. 3
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San Francisco's Colin Kaepernick decided to play pro football after the Chicago Cubs drafted him four years ago. DAVE MARTIN/Associated Press