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An extremely brief history of MLB teams drafting football players just for fun

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(2006 photo) Three generations of Griffey men have now gone in the MLB Draft ... but only two actually played baseball past middle school.
(2006 photo) Three generations of Griffey men have now gone in the MLB Draft ... but only two actually played baseball past middle school.
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The lineage of football-and-not-baseball players being picked in the MLB Draft extended this year, with the Mariners picking Arizona WR Trey Griffey in the 24th round. This happened entirely in honor of his father, who wore No. 24, because Trey hasn’t played baseball in almost a decade.

In 2014, the Padres drafted Johnny Manziel in the 28th round just to look cool online. Unlike Griffey, Manziel did play baseball in high school and considered it in college, but still, San Diego had no actual plans on the diamond here.

I think that’s about it, as far as ceremonial picks of big-name, football-only players by bored baseball GMs go. But the MLB Draft lasts roughly 2,927 rounds every year, so who could say for sure?

The Angels sort of did the same thing as the Mariners in this year’s 23rd round, picking Notre Dame WR Torii Hunter Jr. One very key difference: The younger Hunter still plays baseball. He has told the Angels he’d like to give it a shot, according to the team’s scouting director. Expect the Irish’s likely No. 1 WR to remain football-first, though. (Here’s the youngster stunting like his daddy with a one-handed catch.)

The list of football players who, like Hunter, did play baseball and were picked by MLB teams? Longer than I’d realized. NFL.com’s roundup includes the ones you know, along with new-to-me baseball names like Daunte Culpepper, Colin Kaepernick, Jack Del Rio and Ricky Williams.

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