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Post Georgia football’s top baseball players

Friday May 14, 2010

The site Lost Letterman has a list up of the top 10 football players in Major League Baseball. None of them were Bulldogs, but it did make me think of the relationship between Georgia football and the game of baseball.

When you mention the nexus of baseball and Bulldog football, the name George Lombard probably comes to mind first – at least for fans of my generation. Lombard was a top tailback prospect out of Lovett in 1994 but opted for baseball when the Braves took him in the second round. The Bulldogs ended up turning to freshman Hines Ward at tailback in 1994 before Robert Edwards emerged at the start of the next year. Lombard eventually made it to the majors and played for four big league clubs between 1998 and 2006. His best year was probably 2002 where he played in 72 games for the Detroit Tigers. Lombard has been out of the majors since the end of 2006 and was released by the Cleveland Indians organization in 2009. He’s currently the hitting coach for the class-A Lowell Spinners of the Boston Red Sox organization.

Older fans of course remember Buck Belue who himself was a second round pick in 1978. Buck is most famous for his role on the 1980 national championship football team, but he was also an All-SEC baseball player who initially chose baseball after leaving Georgia.

The most recent Bulldog football player to choose baseball was Xavier Avery. He signed with the Dawgs in 2008 but opted for baseball after the Baltimore Orioles drafted him in the – wait for it – second round. Avery hasn’t made it to the majors yet, but he’s working his way through the Orioles organization in the two years since being drafted. He’s currently playing in the outfield for class-A Frederick.

Georgia’s even seen a baseball player come back to football. We’ll leave it for you to debate how that worked out.

Any others?

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