Andrew Luck's Ceremonial Pitch and Stanford Football-Baseball Stars
Stanford's spring football practice is over and the grades are in. So now we turn to baseball.
Andrew Luck (pictured) threw the ceremonial first pitch at a Stanford baseball game earlier this year. But he’s never played an inning of baseball for the Cardinal.
In contrast, last month, we featured John Elway and other former Stanford football stars who also wore the baseball uniform at Sunken Diamond.
Elway was perhaps the best known QB to have played baseball on The Farm. Now he’s better known as the NFL executive who signed Eli Manning's brother last month.
Turn the page for four other former Card QBs, all of whom starred at Sunken Diamond and later played professional baseball.
Steve Cottrell (1981-84)
In life, timing is almost everything, and Steve Cottrell had the terribly unfortunate timing of being a contemporary of one John Elway.
At QB, he backed up Elway in 1981-82, and after Elway graduated in 1983, Cottrell played in seven games in Stanford’s ill-fated 1-10 season. He completed 60-of-122 passes for 831 yards and five touchdowns.
As a durable RHP for the baseball team, he won the team’s Most Valuable Freshman award in 1981 while leading the team in innings pitched.
In 1982, he helped lead the Cardinal to its first College World Series appearance since 1967, and he was the winning pitcher over James Madison in the 1983 CWS.
He was drafted by the Giants in 1984 and played in their farm system that year. With 319 career innings pitched, Cottrell still ranks in the Cardinal’s all-time top 15.
Brian Johnson (1987-89)
Brian Johnson was one of three QBs for the Cardinal in 1987-89 under coaches Jack Elway and Denny Green.
While the Cardinal did not have a winning record in those years, Johnson led the team in passing and total offense in 1987. He still ranks in the all-time top 10 for career completion percentage and owns two of the 10 longest pass plays in school history.
Johnson enjoyed even greater success at Sunken Diamond, where he starred on Stanford's NCAA championship teams in 1987 and 1988, playing every position other than catcher and second base.
In the 1988 CWS title game, Johnson's two-run double against ASU gave the Cardinal a 5-0 lead that it never relinquished.
Ironically, after Johnson was drafted by the Yankees in 1989, he spent much of his eight-year MLB career at catcher, for six teams.
His moment of immortality came for the San Francisco Giants.
Johnson's heroics pulled the Gigantes even with the Dodgers in the NL West, and the Giants went on to win the West.
1997 was Johnson's best year in MLB, as he hit .261 for San Francisco, with 13 HR and 45 RBI. He added another homer in the postseason against the Marlins.
Chad Hutchinson (1996-98)
Along with legendary Hall of Famer Ernie Nevers, Chad Hutchinson is the only Stanford athlete ever to play in both MLB and the NFL.
After a storied high school career in both baseball and football in Del Mar, Calif., Hutchinson played QB on The Farm in 1996-97 for Coach Ty Willingham.
In 1996, he led the Cardinal to a 7-5 record and a 38-0 victory over Michigan State in the Sun Bowl, where he was named MVP.
He ranks 10th all time among Cardinal QBs in career completions. His career completion percentage of 60.4 percent is sixth of all time, trailing only the likes of Luck, Elway and a few others.
Once named the top baseball prospect nationally by Baseball America, Hutchinson was one of the staff's aces from 1996-98. A freshman All-American, Hutchinson’s career numbers included 25 wins and 299 Ks.
The Cardinal went to the CWS in 1997, as Hutchinson went 8-4 and fanned 114. In 1998, Hutchinson threw a no-hitter against Fresno State—the last time that's been done by a Stanford pitcher.
Hutchinson was a second-round pick of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1997 and pitched in three games at the MLB level in 2001.
He then turned to the NFL, where he started for the Dallas Cowboys for part of 2002 and for the Bears for several games in 2004. He threw for over 2,400 yards in his three-year NFL career.
That was pretty easy to write. But think about the degree of difficulty of actually being both an MLB pitcher and an NFL QB.
Joe Borchard (1998-2000)
Joe Borchard was the Cardinal’s backup QB in 1998-99. His football highlight came in 1999, when he replaced injured starter Todd Husak against UCLA and proceeded to torch the Bruins’ secondary for 324 yards and five touchdown passes, including the longest pass play in Stanford history, a 98-yard TD to Troy Walters.
That 1999 season ended with the Cardinal’s first Rose Bowl appearance in nearly 30 years, and Borchard played a few downs late in the bowl game.
For his career, he threw for 1,064 yards and 10 touchdowns, with only one interception in 119 attempts.
In baseball, Borchard was one of the greatest power hitters ever at Sunken Diamond. He hit .346 in his Stanford career, with 40 homers, 187 RBI and 170 runs.
In three postseason appearances, he was even more dominating with a .353 average, seven homers and 18 RBI in just 85 ABs. Stanford was a bracket finalist in the 1999 CWS and runner-up in the 2000 CWS, where Borchard was named to the All-CWS team.
Borchard made the freshman All-American team in 1998 and was second-team All-American in 2000. He still ranks among Stanford’s all-time top 10 in single-season homers, career homers and RBI.
Borchard was a first-round pick in the 2000 MLB draft and played for the White Sox, Mariners and Marlins. While his MLB career was disappointing by comparison, he remains one of Stanford's greatest ballplayers.