State of Ohio Careers
It’s hard to believe now, but one of college football’s coaching legends could’ve been part of the Atlanta Braves during the franchise’s glory years.
Ohio State coach Urban Meyer was selected out of high school by the Braves in the 13th round of the 1982 MLB Draft and played two years in the minors.
Meyer, who won two national championship at Florida, is coaching spring ball at Ohio State this week.
In an interview with the AJC on Thursday, Meyer was asked, in the back of his mind, does he ever wonder how his life might’ve been different if things had worked out with the Braves?
“Sure, sure I think about it, ” Meyer said with a laugh. “I don’t spend much time on it. But yes, 25 years ago about this time, I was in spring practice in West Palm Beach with the Braves.”
Meyer was a slick-fielding infielder with the Braves but struggled at the plate with a .182 batting average. It was an injury to his throwing arm that finally convinced Meyer to hang up the cleats and pursue his now-legendary football coaching career. You can read more HERE.
“I just wasn’t good enough, ” Meyer said. “I was a really good high school football player. I was doing OK my second year (with the Braves), and then I had an injury to my arm. But I had already probably maximized my ability.
“I played with Ron Gant, Mark Lemke and those guys. And I still keep in touch with Mark Lemke and Fred McGriff.”
The most memorable part of Meyer’s baseball experience – and the one he often shares with Ohio State’s football recruits from Georgia – is about his release papers from the Braves. They were signed by team’s Director of Player Development at the time, Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.
“That is a great story, ” Meyer said. “I have those papers in a scrapbook somewhere at the house.”
Here’s the rest of the Q&A with Ohio State coach Urban Meyer:
In your opinion, how much of an impact does weather have on recruiting, especially when you’re pursing kids from warmer climates like Georgia? I guess there’s a perception that it’s a really big negative factor, and I’m not so sure. “The weather in Ohio is also a bonus. I’ve been in the heat in the South in August, September and October. Meanwhile, it’s gorgeous up here in Ohio. It does get cold but we very rarely play in really cold weather because the season’s over by then. By the time it’s bowl season, we’ve moved indoors. So that’s a little bit of a perception. It’s not real. You might play a game or two in the cold, but very rarely do you play in real frigid temperatures. But I know one thing: In August and September, if I’m a player wearing 30 pounds of equipment in that kind of heat (in the South), I’ve seen that before, too. There are pluses and minuses. That’s when you’ve got to have an honest conversation with a player.”
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