Most Kansas Citians know by now of the name Patrick Mahomes, the long-armed quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs who dazzled his way to the 2018 NFL Most Valuable Player award.
But not as many know of the person of the same name, one who has played a big role behind the signal-caller’s superstardom, and how this other Mahomes has some professional sports pedigree of his own.
Kansas City T-Bones fans on Friday night got to see this other Mahomes first hand, as the quarterback’s father, Patrick Sr., threw out the ceremonial first pitch before the T-Bones game against the Winnipeg Goldeyes at T-Bones Stadium.
Being on the mound was a throwback of sorts for the older Mahomes: He had a 21-year career in baseball as a pitcher for six different Major League Baseball teams plus a short stint in Japan, retiring with an overall MLB record of 42-39 with a 5.47 earned run average.
After his last appearance in the majors in 2003, Mahomes Sr. went on to have a distinguished six-year period in the minors and independent baseball with numerous organizations before his retirement from baseball in 2009. An independent league team, the Sioux Falls Canaries, even inducted him into their hall of fame and retired his number last month.
There was a time when Mahomes Sr. was the most famous sportsperson in his family, but thanks to his son setting the NFL alight with no-look passes and a half-century of touchdowns, that’s no longer the case. But seeing his offspring succeed has given Mahomes Sr. a better feeling than any moment on the mound did.
“He makes me extremely proud,” Mahomes Sr. said of Patrick Mahomes II. “I always taught him to stay grounded and stay humble no matter what he did ... once this stardom or whatever you want to call it happened, he’s still my son, he’s still the same little kid. That type of thing is going to continue throughout his career.”
Mahomes Sr. said that his son watched him pitch professionally “until he was about 12 or 13 years old,” and at first began to follow in his father’s footsteps as a baseball player. Mahomes II was a three-sport athlete at Whitehouse High School in Texas, including in baseball where many, including Dad, thought he could’ve played in the majors if he stuck to it.
A top prospect in the 2014 MLB Draft, Mahomes II was picked in the 37th round by the Detroit Tigers, his late selection largely influenced by the fact he stated pre-draft that he was going to honor his commitment to play football for Texas Tech.
Mahomes Sr. recalled moments of working on the game with his son growing up, knowing that he was an athletic talent at a young age, and doesn’t regret letting him focus solely on football.
“If I was a betting man back then, I would’ve made a bet that he was going to do baseball,” Mahomes Sr. said. “I know that he could’ve made it to the big leagues. Some of the guys he played with in high school, they made it to the big leagues and he was every bit as good as they were. I think he had a chance, but I think now he made a good choice.”
Mahomes II was in attendance for the game, watching briefly with his Dad inside a suite in the press box. He declined an interview request, but Mahomes Sr. offered his take on what he thinks about this year’s expectations for the Chiefs.
“I’m excited. Hopefully we can go to the next level,” Mahomes Sr. said. “His goal always from day one was to have a chance to win a Super Bowl. He didn’t quite make it last year, so I know he’s going to be hungrier this year. Everybody looks healthy ... and they added some things on defense, so hopefully it all goes together.”
Mahomes Sr. also offered his respect and advice to baseball players like those at the T-Bones who are attempting to work their way onto a major-league roster. With over a decade spent in the minors and independent baseball, he knows all about the long bus rides, the travel hours and plenty of other tribulations in being a player trying to make it to stardom.
“I know how hard it is. It’s hard to get on the bus, eat hot dogs and peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches. It’s not glamorous,” Mahomes Sr. said. “I was fortunate enough to make it (to the majors) quick, but then I had some times where I had to go back and start over again. I have much respect for these guys who come out here and play every day and try to play at a high level.”