Two-time NBA scoring champion Tracy McGrady, who hasn’t played organized baseball since his junior year in high school, has made the cut as a pitcher for the Sugar Land Skeeters, an unaffiliated minor league team.
“It’s an honor to be a part of this club,” McGrady said in a statement. “To be a part of the team means everything to me and it’s a dream come true. I look forward to coming to the ballpark not only to play the game, but to be in the clubhouse building camaraderie with these guys. I am excited to start the journey we’re going to take this season.”
Team manager Gary Gaetti, a former player who competed in the major leagues for 20 seasons with Minnesota Twins and various other teams, made the decision a day before the season opener.
“He showed enough progress. He showed enough ability and we’re going to see where this goes,” Gaetti said. Explaining why he waited so long to make the call, Gaetti said, “I had to ride it out. There was no reason to make that decision until I absolutely had to.”
The 6-foot-8 right hander had announced in February that he intended to re-invent himself as a pitcher and began working with seven-time Cy Young Award winner Roger Clemens with the goal of signing on with the Texas team. The Skeeters are part of the independent Atlantic League.
McGrady, 34, a seven-time NBA All-Star during his 16-year basketball career, played on the Raptors, Magic, Rockets, and four other teams in the league. He also played for year with the Qingdao Eagles, part of the Chinese Basketball Association.
The former NBA star is part owner of a new minor league baseball team in Biloxi, Mississippi, set to debut in 2015.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org