Peter King may have moved to Pro Football Talk but he’s still unearthing nuggets. Like this one, on Pat Mahomes the elder, who spent the first four years of his 11-year Major League Baseball career pitching for the Minnesota Twins. And how different athletes deal with the awkward environment when a young buck comes to town to supplant the wily veteran.
Dads understand and appreciate help given to their children. So Pat Mahomes told Smith several times last year how much he appreciated what he did for his boy. Unspoken was the fact that they both knew Patrick was there to take Smith’s job.
“That’s what’s so admirable about what Alex did all season for him,” Pat Mahomes said. “I know how it was when I came up [to the Minnesota Twins, in 1992]. I remember one time that year asking Jack Morris how he threw his split-finger fastball. He said, ‘Get away from me, you little MF. You’ll be trying to take my job next year.’ ”
First off, that’s sort of a weird question. Even a non-professional pitcher could figure out how to throw a split-finger fastball just by using context clues. Second, this type of dismissive response sounds like the Morris we all know and writers somehow loved.
Also, Mahomes made his debut in 1992. Morris was playing for the Toronto Blue Jays that year, meaning this interaction must have taken place during spring training while Mahomes was a minor leaguer. Morris seems a little overly concerned that his spot would be taken by a low-level guy.
Mahomes went 5-9 and posted a 5.92 ERA in his first two seasons. Morris won the World Series MVP in 1991, then led the American League in wins in 1992. There are also five starting pitchers on a staff compared to one starting quarterback.
So, in short, the situations are not analogous and Alex Smith seems like a pretty cool guy.
But here’s the question no one is asking today because it’s a painful stretch: will Patrick Mahomes have a better career than Morris?
The latter was inducted into the Hall of Fame this summer. He was a five-time All-Star and ace of two championship-winning staffs. Somewhat shocking to me is the fact he only struck out 200-plus batters twice and had a career K/9 of 5.58.
Mahomes, by comparison, has thrown 10 touchdown passes in the first two games this year. He’s on pace for 80 this season, which would shatter the single-season record of 55. At 23 years old, he’s just getting started and we all now NFL defenses never adapt to young superstars.
In order to have a better career, Mahomes will have to be a more surefire Hall of Famer than Morris. He’ll also need two Super Bowls to match. Print this out and save it, folks, because I’m saying it’s going to happen.
Can’t wait to trumpet this prediction in 20 years. Or never address it because everyone forgot.