The College Football Playoff Championship Game will be played on Monday night when LSU takes on Clemson. Current Yankees that might have a special interest in the game include DJ LeMahieu who played at LSU, helping them win a national championship in 2009.
Of course, he played baseball while at the school. However, there is one Yankee from history who also suited up on the football field in Baton Rouge.
In December 1987, the Yankees and Mariners made an, in retrospect, fairly inconsequential trade. Former disasterous trade acquisition Steve Trout and Henry Cotto were sent to Seattle for three players, one of whom was pitcher Clay Parker.
Parker had appeared in three games with the Mariners back in 1987 when the Yankees picked him up before 1989. He made his debut for the team on May 16th, allowing two runs in seven innings in a win. Five days later, he threw a complete game against his former Seattle teammates. He was quite impressive early on, putting up a 2.49 ERA in 47 innings across his first seven starts.
His next appearance came out of the bullpen, and following that one Parker started to struggle. He gave up six, five, two, and six runs in his next four starts, not making it into the seventh inning in any of them. The rest of the season was up and down for him, and he eventually finished with a slightly better than league average 3.68 ERA.
However in 1990, Parker struggled out of the gate. He allowed 11 runs in five games, only two of which were starts, to begin the season. In June, he and Lance McCullers were traded to the Tigers in exchange for Matt Nokes, and that was that for his Yankee career.
Now that you know the story of his Yankee career, let’s go back. Parker was drafted by the Mariners in the 15th round of the 1985 draft. Prior to that, he played at LSU for soon to be legendary coach Skip Bertman. However, that wasn’t the only sport he played at the school.
He didn’t go to LSU on a baseball scholarship, he was actually there on a football one. From 1981 to 1984, Parker was the Tigers’ punter, helping the team to an Orange Bowl and Sugar Bowl appearance, which brings us to something that happened in that Orange Bowl.
In the fourth quarter with LSU leading by three against third-ranked Nebraska, Parker was sent in to punt on 4th & 19. In the face of a heavy rush, Parker managed to elude one defender and decided to take off and try and run for the first down despite still having some time to get a kick away. He was tackled seven yards short, allowing Nebraska to take over in LSU territory. They scored on the ensuing possession and never trailed.
After his college career, he reportedly had NFL offers, but went for baseball and would play parts of four seasons in the majors.
Considering that no Clemson football player has been a Yankee (at least that I can find), I say that gives LSU a clear advantage tomorrow night.