Josh Booty should be in consideration for most interesting man in the world. Booty, now 37-years old, has played professionally in baseball and football. Now he is also a contest winner, with another shot at trying to make the MLB as a pitcher. Booty is in camp with the Arizona Diamondbacks after winning MLB Network’s “Next Knuckler” reality competition.
Even though he is in camp with the Diamondbacks, if he were to put up an impressive performance this spring and have a shot at making the team out of camp, he would never have a chance to wear a D-Backs jersey. That is according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Apparently, Booty’s rights technically still belong to the Miami Marlins.
Booty was extended an invite to Arizona’s Spring Training after learning to throw the best knuckleball in the reality series. Neither the Diamondbacks nor Major League Baseball realized that Booty was still under contract with the Marlins, as he had voluntarily retired from the team, while still under contract.
No one was aware of this until Booty reported to camp last week. According to Rosenthal, both teams and league reached an agreement, permitting Booty to remain in camp with the Diamondbacks. However, if Arizona considers adding him to their roster at the end of Spring Training, the Marlins have the right to reclaim him. Miami would also have the right claim him if he accepts an assignment the Diamondbacks.
The Marlins took Josh Booty fifth overall in the 1994 draft and awarded him $1.6 Million signing bonus. While Booty never lived up to the potential that made the Marlins draft him so high, Booty appeared in 13 games as an infielder for the Marlins between 1996 and ’98. Booty was actually part of the team’s World Series championship club in 1997 and earned a World Series ring.
In 1999, when Booty realized his MLB career was going nowhere, he decided to return to football. He spent two seasons playing quarterback for Louisiana State Tigers before the Seattle Seahawks selected him in the sixth round of the 2001 draft.
Booty spent three years in the NFL as a back-up quarterback with the Seahawks, Cleveland Browns, and Oakland Raiders, before stepping away from the NFL as well. Booty never got into a game in his pro football career.
In winning the reality show, “The Next Knuckler,” Booty beat out former Buffalo Bills star quarterback Doug Flutie as well as his brother John David Booty, who was quarterbacked at USC and also made it to the NFL.
Although Booty becoming a successful knuckerballer at the age of 37 are pretty slim, it should be noted that knuckerballers do age better than a regular pitcher (ie. R.A. Dickey, Tim Wakefield, former Marlins Charlie Hough, etc.)
For the Marlins sake, let’s hope he can morph into one of those aforementioned pitchers. Like when the Marlins were able to steal Dan Uggla, it would be at the Diamondbacks expense.