These major athletes have all excelled in their individual events or sports. But did you know none of these 20 stars were drafted originally? Read on to learn how these undrafted players became superstars.
Frank Herrmann went undrafted due to his low college performance, but that isn’t how it should have been. In his first season, he did relatively okay. The problem with baseball, though, is that since the draft is so extensive, it’s really HARD not to get drafted, meaning there must have been a good reason he went unchosen.
His Career Is Good
Even though he wasn’t the first pick, or a pick at all, Frank Herrmann’s performance is relatively okay. During his first season in the MLB in 2010, the pitcher pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, which helped his team (the Cleveland Indians) beat the White Sox.
For most baseball players, it is extremely hard to get drafted right away. That’s why there are so many tiers and levels of minor league baseball. Like many other straight-out-of-college players, George Sherill decided to play and pitch for an independent minor league in the late 1990s.
He Got That Call Though
In the year of 2004, George Sherill got the call and was asked to move up into the big leagues. Obviously he jumped at the chance, and he has had a mediocre career playing for over five teams. His career average is an ERA of 3.77. Not too shabby, but he definitely needed those minor league years.
As a standout player for Boston College, Herzlich was one of the guys that many people were surprised went undrafted. Unfortunately, he contracted a rare form of bone cancer that forced him to spend some time off from the game.
After a recovery year of playing college ball, Herzlich was able to wait out his chances and he tried to be picked up by the NFL. This was a smart move because he turned down UFL offers, but was eventually offered a chance to play for the New York Giants in 2012 and won himself a Super Bowl Ring.
He Was A Standout
During his years at junior college, this guy was able to bat an outstanding .455. After scouts began to notice him, he was immediately hounded down and offered positions. He has played for the Expos, the Rangers, and the Red Sox. He has even played internationally in Japan.
Even though this guy is one of the loudest and most obnoxious players in the NBA right now, we all have to remember that he did have humble beginnings as a player in the D leagues. The league loved his spirit and now he’s a world champion.
He’s Crazy, Though
With his wacky hair cut and his body covered with tattoos, Chris Andersen is definitely one of the biggest characters out there on the court. However, during his 2008-2009 season, this guy really proved that he was meant to be called one of the most talented players in the NBA.
Even though he was unpicked in the 2006 NBA draft, this player has a reputation for being one of the best. Even Kobe Bryant has proclaimed that he is top tier: “J.J. Barea has kicked our butt.” Barea was another player who truly did excel in the D league.
He’s A Maverick
After making it big time in the D league, scouts had their eye out for this dynamic player. The Dallas Mavericks have gone on to many semi-finals and finals with him, and he is now currently a Minnesota Timberwolf. Barea is the second Puerto Rican man to ever play in the NBA.
LINSANITY most definitely had some very humble beginnings. But this player is also one of the smartest people on our list! Jeremy Lin attended Harvard University for his education, and was one of the best in the Ivy League. However, even though it is a good school, Harvard isn’t exactly a basketball powerhouse.
Jeremy Lin is now one of basketball’s most well-known names around the world. Not only is extremely talented, but he is also one of the most charismatic humans as well. During the 2012 season, he led the New York Knicks to an unexpected turn-around, giving him his nick name “linsanity.”
He’s One Of Hockey’s Best
Even though he led the University of North Dakota to win the NCAA tournament during the year of 1987, this player went undrafted after he graduated from college. Later, he was signed as a free agent with the Chicago Blackhawks and is now considered one of the best goaltenders of all time.
According to sports analysts, many people believe that the scouts simply messed up when it came to Dan Girardi. Even though he wasn’t drafted in the NHL in 2002, Girardi didn’t take the blow to much to heart. This player was picked up by the New York Rangers.
He’s A Huge Play Maker
Even though he wasn’t originally drafted, Girardi is now one of hockey’s elite. Girardi actually leads the NHL in playing time, and plays for over 27 minutes per game. He also was one of the only undrafted players to actually be invited to the all-star game.
It seems that the MLB has many players that are actually not directly picked out of the draft. This was definitely the case with Matt Stairs, who went undrafted during the 1988 season, even though he was already on the Canadian Olympic baseball team.
His Career Is Extremely Impressive
Even though he was undrafted, that really doesn’t mean a thing. Stairs actually became the player with the most pinch hit home runs in the history of the MLB, and he is also a member of the 2008 Phillies World Series Team. This player sure makes his homeland country of Canada proud.
Priest Holmes actually played an outstanding 11 seasons with the National Football league, even though he wasn’t one of the lucky few to get drafted. He attended the University of Texas, which in itself is a huge accomplishment. Holmes was taken on as an undrafted free agent in 1997.
He’s A Super Bowl Winner
Priest Holmes was signed as a free agent by the Baltimore Ravens, even though he wasn’t viewed as good enough to be drafted. However, this player actually one a Super Bowl with the Ravens over the Giants. Holmes later achieved great success with the Chiefs when he became a Pro Bowl selection and the NFL Offensive Player of the Year in 2002.
Most of the people on our list had their talent completely overlooked by not getting drafted. This wasn’t the case when it came to John Starks. Not only was this guy undrafted to the NBA in the 1988, but never really found a home after being signed.
His Career Wasn’t That Great
This guy’s career wasn’t that great to begin with. After signing with the Golden State Warriors, Starks was later dropped due to bad performance. This was also the case when he signed with the Knicks, but played most of his games on the bench. His college days were really when this guy peaked.
There haven’t been any MLS players on our list, however there is definitely a first time for everything. Bobby Boswell was undrafted in the MLS draft straight out of college, but he never let it stop him. This guy is one of the greatest players in the American league.
He’s Just A Great Guy
Bobby Boswell was undrafted after college, however he made his rounds during his career in the MLS. This player has served on many different teams, but is currently playing for the dominant D.C. United. The player has also won the MLS Defender of the Year award and multiple playoff championships.
This guy is arguably one of the greatest defensive centers in all of NBA history, but was totally overlooked during the 1996 NBA draft. Many analysts blame the scouts for overlooking him because of his relatively small frame. However, he ended up with a career that put those scouts in their place.
He’s A Legend
Wallace was able to sign with the Washington Bullets as an unsigned agent, meaning that he was bottom of the barrel during the time. During his career, though, he has won the Defensive Player of the Year award four times, and won a championship with the Pistons in 2004.
Many people always forget about women athletes, even though they are just as competitive and talented. Becky Hammon is considered one of the best female athletes — and just plain athletes — out there. Unfortunately, many scouts just didn’t and couldn’t believe it at first.
She’s A Powerhouse
Even though she had a tremendous career, she was snubbed pretty badly when she went undrafted by the WNBA. Luckily, the New York Liberty decided to take a chance on her and boy, was that a good idea! In July of 2011, Hammon was named one of the WNBA’s top 15 players in their history.
Now we all know that this guy was drafted for basketball, but did you know that he was actually undrafted for baseball? That’s right! MJ played some minor league ball before deciding that his efforts were better spent on the basketball court than the mound.
His Career Wasn’t Really Baseball
We have to imagine that Michael Jordan was simply bored on the basketball court because the competition simply couldn’t compare to him. However, he did play with the Birmingham Barons, a minor league affiliation of the Chicago White Sox in 1994. We’re glad he stuck to Basketball.
Although he was overlooked in the 1990 draft, John Randle is a more decorated athlete than most people on this list. He also flubbed and messed up a tryout with the Falcons, before he found a home as a free agent with the Vikings. His first pay check was for the measly amount of $55,000.
He Got His Money Back
John Randle went on to achieve NFL superstardom and success. During his 14-season career, he was able to attend seven Pro Bowls and was also named to the NFL’s All Decade Team of the 1990s. He has a career best sack record of 137.5 sacks in his lifetime, and was on the same team as Adrian Peterson.
Tony Romo is either loved or hated, but you can’t just “kind of” love him. He has had some personal dramas, but at the end of the day he is also one of the best quarterbacks in recent years. However, during the 2o03 draft, it appeared that no one really wanted him.
He Has Cowboy Glory
Tony Romo has led the Cowboys to greatness and has given them some intense wins. However, he also has never led to them to Super Bowl Glory, always seeming to lose to the Patriots or the New York Giants. Romo is also ALWAYS getting hurt, which has put a strain on his career.
As the amazingly talented quarterback for the college football team at University of Washington, Moon led his team to a Rose Bowl win over the Michigan Wolverines. Moon went undrafted even though his college career was so successful, and ended up playing in the Canadian Football League to get some exposure.
Ed Belfour is one of the most well-known Canadian players to ever play the game. Belfour is from a little town in Manitoba called Carman and truly grew up playing the sport. But he still wasn’t drafted right away after playing for the University of North Dakota.
He Found His Footing
After playing in the CFL and impressing everyone, a bidding war happened. While in the NFL, Moon was able to play for four different football franchises and ended up being selected for the Pro Bowl a whopping nine times. He is in both the CFL and NFL hall of fames.
Wes Welker is now one of the most talked-about football players out there, but it wasn’t always like that. After going undrafted in 2004, Welker was picked up and then let go of by the San Diego Chargers. He was eventually picked up by his current team The New England Patriots and he has been shining ever since.
He’s A Dominating Player
Wes Welker is one of the main reasons that The New England Patriots are such a prominent and successful team in the NFL. He has currently racked up 8,580 running yards while wearing the blue, and also averages around 11.2 yards per reception. He owns quite a few shiny Super Bowl Rings.
It’s a rule that you can go directly to the major leagues if you are a player right out of college for the professional sport of baseball. However, the wasn’t the case with Larry Parrish, who ended up playing a couple years of junior college to make the scouts chase after him.