By Scott Lockwood, GateHouse Media Services
Cord Sandberg has decided to chase another dream.
Sandberg, a former two-sport star at Manatee High, is retiring from professional baseball after six seasons with an eye on college football.
“I want to thank the Phillies for allowing me to chase a dream of mine for the last six seasons, but it’s time to chase another one,” Sandberg wrote in a Twitter post that featured a photo of Sandberg playing quarterback at Manatee.
Sandberg, who collected a $775,000 bonus after being picked 89th overall by the Phillies in the 2013 MLB draft, posted a .243 average, .298 on-base and .348 slugging percentage in 496 career minor league games. He advanced to Double-A level last year and has spent this season with the Double-A Reading Fightin’ Phils. Sandberg was hitting .231 with three home runs and 11 RBI in 54 games this year.
“I knew coming into this baseball season it would be a big year for me,” Sandberg said. “I kind of figured I might have to make some decisions after the season. Midway through the season evaluating myself as a baseball player and kind of what the future held with that, I started weighing my football options and when I wanted to go back.”
Sandberg was the HTPreps Football Player of the Year and Class 7A State Player of the Year in 2012 passing for 2,735 yards and 35 touchdowns with 1 interception in 264 attempts. The dual-threat quarterback also ran for 600 yards on 96 carries, a 6.25 average, with 10 touchdowns.
For his three-year football career, Sandberg was 572-for-786 (73 percent) for 7,829 touchdowns with 79 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He ran for 1,991 yards and 31 touchdowns. Sandberg committed to play for Mississippi State coached by Dan Mullen before the Phillies made him a third-round pick out of high school. Mullen now coaches Florida.
“While I was playing I was talking to some (football) coaches,” Sandberg said. “What I found out was enrolling for this fall semester was a possibility. After talking with my family and praying on it, I didn’t want to waste any more time. I figured at this point next year, I would be in the same situation. I just didn’t want to waste any more time moving forward on college and football.”
According to a story in the Reading (Pa.) Eagle, Sandberg has already received an offer from Auburn. He also has been given an opportunity to be a preferred walk-on at LSU and Florida.
Scott Lockwood is a writer for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.