Sometimes in life you think you have your future planned, and everything falls into place and then, suddenly, life throws you the inevitable curve ball. Below is a list of celebrities who almost became professional baseball players before fate intervened.
Harold Lloyd Jenkins (aka Conway Twitty): Although he demonstrated a talent for music at age 4, Jenkins' first passion was baseball. While in high school, the future country megastar was drafted to play for the Philadelphia Phillies. Upon graduation from high school, Jenkins was preparing for his move to the majors when war erupted in Korea, and young Jenkins was drafted into the U.S. Army.
Kurt Russell: Russell was drafted by the California Angels and spent the early 1970's playing 2nd base for their Double A team the El Paso Sun Kings. During a 1973 game, a runner collided into his right arm, tearing his rotator cuff and ending his potentially spectacular career. Prior to the injury, Russell was leading the Texas League with an impressive batting average of .563.
Billy Bob Thornton: In an interview with Sport's Illustrated back in 2005, Thornton revealed that it was his dream to pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals. In that interview, he described himself as a "junk pitcher" who threw mostly tricky pitches, without much speed. He claims he developed a curve ball at the age of 12, and attracted the Kansas City Royals in high school. So what happened?
"I was probably there for a half hour. They had us all out in the field throwing, so I had warmed up with a guy. Then they were taking some infield practice and I was standing behind the first baseman, and the third baseman threw over and the first baseman wasn't looking and the ball me right in the collarbone." Thornton's collarbone was broken, ending his Major League ambitions.
Cornell Iral Haynes Jr. (aka Nelly): Nelly used baseball as a way to keep himself out of trouble, and off the streets of St. Louis. In the early '90s, he was a star shortstop for the St. Louis Amateur Baseball Association, once earning an MVP award. He was good enough to attract the attention of scouts for the Braves and Pirates. However, he had other plans. Together with several of his friends, Nelly had formed a rap group, the St. Lunatics and released their first successful album "Gimme What Ya Got." The shortstop decided to focus on his music career, and is now one of the top-selling rappers in the world.
Other Star Starters
-Billy Ray Cyrus, Billy Crystal, and Robert Redford had baseball scholarships to colleges and universities.
-Charlie Sheen pitched 90 mph fastballs in high school.
-Kevin Costner was a successful Little League pitcher, who had pitched 2 no-hitters, and had once struck out 16 batters in one game. He was also a star pitcher in high school. So why didn't he pursue baseball as a career? Upon graduation, Costner was only 5' 2" tall.
-President George H.W. Bush was a star first baseman for Yale University. In 1947 his team went on to play in the College World Series where they lost to California. Interestingly enough, 1958 AL MVP winner and 3-time Boston Red Sox All-Star, Jackie Jensen played against Bush in that series.
-George W. Bush is currently the only President to have played in the Little Leagues.