When a young Mahomes took field with '99 Mets, 'You already knew'

February 8th, 2024

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the man on the gridiron. His accomplishments are many, but the bottom line is he is a winner. Mahomes, 28, will be playing in his fourth Super Bowl on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas -- this time against the San Francisco 49ers. He already has two Super Bowl MVPs in his man cave.

But before he made his mark on the football field, Mahomes had a love for baseball that was undeniable. It started in 1999, when his father -- Mets reliever Pat Mahomes -- allowed him to tag along at Shea Stadium.

At first, the Mets balked at Little Patrick going on the field during batting practice. After all, he was 4 years old, but his father assured the organization he would protect himself and avoid injury, which he did. By the next year, Junior was catching fly balls off the bat of big leaguers and could make contact in the batter’s box.

It didn’t take long for Patrick to make friends. He was tight with outfielders Benny Agbayani and Rickey Henderson and pitcher Mike Hampton. Patrick was intrigued by how first basemen played the game and had friendships with John Olerud and Todd Zeile.

“Patrick was one of those kids that came during the summer. He just followed me all around, and when I was done hitting, he went to the outfield with me,” Agbayani remembered. “He wanted to use my glove and started to catch fly balls. He was running all the balls down. He was picking them up. I just looked at him and said, ‘Wow, this kid is going to be a tremendous athlete.’ You already knew.”

Former Mets reliever Turk Wendell remembers Patrick as a “wired kid.”

“His dad would always come in and say, ‘I don’t know what to do with my kid. He doesn’t sleep at night. He is always staying up real late,’” Wendell said. “When I reconnected with Pat at a Mets fantasy camp [a couple of years ago], I go, ‘Hell, now I know what he was doing; he was watching game film all night long.’”

As he grew up, Mahomes Jr. was good enough on the diamond that the Tigers selected him in the 37th round of the 2014 MLB Draft. But he didn’t sign because of his love for football, clearly making a wise decision.

“When Little Pat was coming through the stadium shagging fly balls and wanting to be on the field, I thought he was going to be an MLB superstar,” Agbayani said. “Come to find out, he is an NFL quarterback that is a superstar. That’s an amazing story. He went to another sport. I always pinch myself because this is the kid that actually stood by me. I watch him on TV all the time. He is going to the Hall of Fame. He is always in the Super Bowl. He is one of those kids that knows how to win.”

Patrick Mahomes shags fly balls in the outfield at Shea Stadium on Oct. 23, 2000.AP

Mahomes didn’t totally abandon baseball once his NFL career skyrocketed. In 2020, he became part owner of the Royals. It shows that baseball is still in his blood.

“He [grew up] in baseball. That’s where he learned everything,” Pat Mahomes said about his son. “He is always going to pay homage to baseball. Him being a part of the Royals just keeps him closer to the game. You never know: When he gets a little older, he might want to play a game or two.”