This is truly one of the coolest stories I’ve heard about recently. Listening to Clemson fan David Stein’s show on Sporting News Radio Sunday evening, I learned that Clemson quarterback Kyle Parker is also a baseball player. There have been plenty of football-baseball crossover athletes in the past but not many are as accomplished as Parker in both sports. Parker enrolled at Clemson in January of 2008 to get a head start on the football season. That also meant that Parker played for Clemson’s baseball team in the same Spring he was supposed to be a high school senior. He still dominated competition by clubbing 14 home runs and 50 RBIs. Parker later red-shirted during the fall of 2008 for the football team.
In 2009, Parker had a slight dropoff from his freshman year stats in baseball as he hit 12 home runs and drove in 52 runs with his OPS falling from .959 to .794. Later that fall (this past college football season), Parker became the starting quarterback for the Clemson football team. Parker led the Tigers to a 9-5 season in which he threw for 2,526 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He was named the first-team freshman All-ACC quarterback by Sporting News.
Now in his third season with the Clemson baseball team, Parker leads the 25-16 Tigers in batting average (.386), on-base percentage (.506), slugging percentage (.764), home runs (16), runs (50), hits (54), and total bases (107). Clemson still has 15 games left on its regular season schedule, not to mention the ACC tournament and the NCAA Regionals. Parker’s already the first collegiate athlete to go 20-15 in touchdown passes and home runs but he’s looking to go 20-20. Clemson’s SID office says Rodney Peete and Josh Fields are the only other players to go 20-10.
Despite all this great news, someone could stand to lose here — Clemson’s football team. With three awesome seasons under his belt, Parker could be a high selection in the MLB draft and choose to focus on pro baseball. It would be detrimental for his football career but it could mark the beginning of what may be an outstanding baseball career. Here’s hoping Parker nails his 20-20 mark.Google+