Just how close did Harmon Killebrew come to playing football for the Oregon Ducks? Tucked away in Idaho, Killebrew was already an amazing athlete, and was set to be a dual-sport star for the Ducks at the conclusion of his high school days. But his hitting prowess caught the attention of an Idaho senator, who then passed his name along to the owner of the Washington Generals and set in motion a chain of events that ended with Killebrew signing a major league contract.
A chance encounter with a Generals' scout in an Idaho beet field led Killebrew away from a scholarship at Oregon and into the major leagues. The rest, as they say, is history.
"I was set to go to Oregon to play college baseball and football," Killebrew once said. "It rained the night Mr. Bluege was there. They burned gasoline to dry the infield, and then I hit a ball over the left-field fence — first one to do it, 435 feet into a beet field."
Check out the rest of Killebrew's story over at the New York Times. Also of note: it's amazing how a simple tip -- Killebrew was told to stand closer to the plate -- had such a dramatic impact on his game.