When the great basketball star Tracy McGrady recently concluded his NBA career by sitting deep on the Spurs bench and hoping to earn his first NBA ring, little did we suspect that less than one year later T-Mac would be attempting to begin a baseball career in an independent league by pitching for Sugar Land Skeeters of the independent Atlantic League.
If you have heard of that team, it’s because Roger Clemens made a pitching appearance for them and McGrady has been working with Clemens in Texas. While so far, McGrady has not shown the immediate skills to achieve the next professional level, the journey will be fun to watch. At age 34, he’s not really a ‘prospect’ but he’d certainly be a gate attraction if he can get professional hitters out at any level.
Like some other former major league pitchers such as Jim Bouton and Bill Lee who continued to find a place to pitch for decades after their major league career ended, McGrady is truly doing it because he likes the idea of seeing if he is good enough to succeed. He admits baseball is his first love. He certainly isn’t in it for the money.
We do know the odds against McGrady even approaching his basketball success are way beyond long but wouldn't it be wild to see him make it in professional baseball and continue his dream of a second career?
It’s his incredible athletic ability from the NBA that we’ll remember best, though. He’s a seven-time All-Star who knew how to bring the crowd to its feet.
His rookie year was a long time ago and long before the onslaught of autograph relic cards. However, this one is attracting the attention of eBay bidders. It’s the 1997-98 E-X2001 Basketball #79 McGrady rookie card, numbered to 97.
If you want to check out the entire McGrady marketplace, click here.
One of the great bits of NBA trivia is that McGrady is a cousin of Vince Carter, who is also a future Naismith Hall of Famer.
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Rich Klein can be reached at [email protected]