For the past few years, baseball and football fans alike have wondered: Why is Tim Tebow still playing baseball?
Despite his inability to hit proficiently above the AA level, Tim Tebow was committed to being an addition to the New York Mets organization.
Now, three years later, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner has announced his retirement from professional baseball.
I never want to be partially in on anything. I always want to be 100% in on whatever I choose. Thank you again for everyone’s support of this awesome journey in baseball, I’ll always cherish my time as a Met! #LGM
— Tim Tebow (@TimTebow) February 18, 2021
Tebow was a long shot to succeed on the diamond. He put his bat and glove away to pursue football at the University of Florida and, later, the NFL. He was away from the game for almost a decade when he decided to give it another run.
The likelihood of him making to the majors was slim at best. Indeed, it seems appropriate that Tebow retires on the birthday of another athlete who tried to dust off his baseball dreams after years away; Michael Jordan turns 58 on Wednesday.
While he might be a terrific person, it was time for Tebow to move on from his career(s) as a professional athlete.
Two Sport… Star?
Let’s take a look at two very different athletes who started out in similar situations.
Both of these athletes played professional football and baseball, yet player A played throughout high school and college and had been drafted several times for both. Player B played both sports in high school, yet ultimately chose football in college.
Player A played six years in the MLB with three years of playing in the NFL mixed in, having a season-high of hitting .272, 32 home runs the following season, and a career batting average of .250, being the only athlete in history to be an all-star in both the NFL and MLB.
Player B decided on a whim at 28 years old that he wanted to play pro baseball after having a disappointing end to his NFL career. He has spent about three seasons in the minors, with his career-high batting average standing at .250 in double-A ball, unable to hit above the Mendoza line in triple-A.
If you haven’t figured it out by now, player A is Bo Jackson and player B is Tim Tebow.
There is a very small sample size of players who have successfully played multiple professional sports.
Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders are genetic anomalies, with baseball being Jackson’s true love and Sanders having had the potential to be an even better baseball player if he focused more on the sport.
Just Not Working
Taking a further look into Tebow’s stats they’re not all bad, they’re just all intangible aspects of defense that become arbitrary for a player who can’t hit.
It isn’t Tebow’s fault for trying, if anything him trying was very admirable. At the same time, his offense was never going to match up against Major League pitchers and the Mets never really expected it to.
With the way that pitching has been changing over the past 10 years, it made it almost impossible for players to walk on anymore if they haven’t played at that level.
Tim Tebow is a fantastic athlete, no one can negate that. He has one of the fastest 60 yards seen in a while and can throw 90 mph from the outfield.
Taking into account that Tebow hadn’t played in about 10 years, and the K/9 and swing and miss percentage keep getting higher, it made the chances of him doing well minuscule.
The fact that even he made it this far, is more impressive than people give him credit for.
Despite this, he can’t hit or grow as a baseball player, and if he isn’t adding any value to the Mets farm whether it’s knowledge, morale, or talent, he was not going to last any longer with the team.
Someone could be the strongest, fastest athlete in history, but that won’t translate to the ability to hit a baseball.
Don’t get me wrong, I see why the Mets jumped at the chance to have a champion quarterback in their farm system at the time. It filled seats and raised morale, especially during a time where the fans’ hope of a winning team was diminishing greatly.
Nonetheless, after four years, Tebow had very little chance of improving, using his age alone as the main variable considering that he is now 33 years old.
Having Tebow in the Mets organization was cool for a little, but the media spectacle has run its course.
The Mets franchise is turning a new page as Cohen makes more changes to the team.
If Tebow stayed within the organization, it would be sending a message that the franchise has the room to spare within the farm. That isn’t the message a team wants to be sending in order to be considered tough competition.
Hopefully, this means that the Mets have plans to build up the farm again with young, talented guys, to help shape the next generation of Mets players.