There's something about quarterbacks that appeals to the White Sox, who are taking a flier on Mitch Mustain. The former USC and Arkansas QB did not play baseball in college but after he touched 90 mph in a tryout, the Sox signed him to a minor-league contract.
Mustain, a former national college football player of the year, is something of a fallen star. After going 8-0 as a freshman starting QB at Arkansas, Mustain transferred to USC but got stuck behind Mark Sanchez and Matt Barkley. Things got worse when he was arrested (but not charged) for selling prescription medication. He had been taking medication for ADHD and stopped taking it, a mistake he now regrets for obvious reasons.
Mustain was preparing to play Arena League Football but took the opportunity in baseball instead.
"I haven't played in eight years, which, my age, it's going to be a little bit harder to get back into this," said Mustain, who is reporting to Glendale, Ariz., on March 8. "As time goes I figured this would be my one shot at it, and why not?
"The sky is really the limit as to where I can go, and what I can do. So that's exciting for me, and I look forward to getting out and just going for it."
Mustain joins a Sox list of former QBs that includes Joe Borchard (Stanford), Josh Fields (Oklahoma State) Clayton Richard (Michigan) and current Sox Adam Dunn, who was redshirted as a freshman behind Major Applewhite at Texas. Dunn decided to focus on baseball after he was asked to play tight end.
And let's not forget former strong-armed Bears lefty Bobby Douglass, whom Bill Veeck signed in 1979. Douglass pitched four games for the Iowa Oaks, allowing eight runs, walking 13 and striking out none over seven innings. Veeck, never one to let a publicity opportunity slip away, was impressed by Douglass' football arm and figured he was worth a try.