On June 6th, 1979 the Kansas City Royals drafted Dan Marino in the 4th round of the Major League Baseball draft. And Dan Marino was very close to signing with the Royals to play major league baseball before his college football coach stepped in and stopped it. On a side note the Royals this same year also drafted John Elway in the 17th round. 

From Max Rieper of RoyalsReview.com: “Apparently, quarterback Dan Marino was all set to play minor league baseball with the Royals until his football coach at Pitt stepped in.

Marino was listed at 6 feet 4, 200 pounds as a senior at Central Catholic. The day Marino was drafted, he said, “I’d like to play both. But for now, I’m going to take things slowly. I’m going to see what the Royals have to offer.”

It seemed by mid-June Marino was ready to sign with the Royals. The plan was to play minor-league baseball in the summer — and then return to Pitt for the start of football training camp.

Then Sherrill came across an obscure NCAA rule — and Marino ended up not signing with the Royals because of the rule. But not before some controversy.”

In an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “It seemed by mid-June Marino was ready to sign with the Royals. The plan was to play minor-league baseball in the summer — and then return to Pitt for the start of football training camp.

Then Sherrill came across an obscure NCAA rule — and Marino ended up not signing with the Royals because of the rule. But not before some controversy.

Sherrill informed Marino and his father, Dan Sr., about Rule 3-4-B that was added to the NCAA bylaws in 1977. The rule said an athlete could receive a college scholarship, provided he is not under contract or receiving compensation from a pro sports organization. In other words, if Marino signed with the Royals, he would lose his football scholarship to Pitt and have to pay his own way.”

Some might wonder how good Marino was as a baseball player, here are his high school numbers his senior year: By the way, in Marino’s senior year at Central Catholic, he was 12-0 as a pitcher and hit .513 for a team that made it to the WPIAL Class 3A championship before losing to Hopewell. Central Catholic also made it to the PIAA semifinals before losing to State College.

Dan Marino has stated the Royals didn’t plan to use him as a pitcher but to play shortstop or third base.