Ex-Seahawks WR Golden Tate to play baseball for WCL’s Port Angeles Lefties

Jun 14, 2022, 11:01 AM | Updated: 11:22 am
Seahawks Golden Tate...
Then-Seahawks WR Golden Tate throws out the first pitch before a Mariners game on July 22, 2013. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Former Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate is returning to Washington state to play sports, but it’s not in Seattle, nor is it even football.

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Tate, 33, has signed with the West Coast League’s Port Angeles Lefties to be an outfielder in the wood bat summer collegiate baseball league. He will make his debut Tuesday night in Port Angeles, Wash., which is about 2 1/2 hours from Seattle by way of ferry and driving, as the Lefties’ center fielder against the Bend Elks in a 6:35 p.m. game.

It’s not entirely out of the blue that Tate would turn to baseball. He was twice selected in the MLB Draft – first by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 42nd round of the 2007 draft out of Pope John Paul II High School in Tennessee, then in the 50th round of the 2010 draft by the San Francisco Giants out of Notre Dame. He went the route of pro football, of course, after being selected 60th overall in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Seahawks.

Left-handed both at the plate and in the field, Tate played two seasons for the Notre Dame baseball team, including 2009 when he posted a slash line of .329/.388/.414 with a home run, eight doubles, four triples and 13 stolen bases on 14 attempts in 55 games as a sophomore.

“I am extremely thankful to the West Coast League and the Port Angeles Lefties for allowing me to join their league,” Tate said in a press release. “As some might know, I was drafted twice in baseball. As a child, my first love was baseball, so I’m excited about the opportunity to compete against some of the best young players in the league. I look forward to having a lot of fun and exploring baseball more.”

The WCL has a history of football players trying their hand on the diamond. Former UW Huskies quarterback Jake Locker spent time with the Bellingham Bells in 2008 before embarking on a four-year NFL career with the Tennessee Titans, and Buffalo Bills All-Pro safety Jordan Poyer played for the Corvallis Knights in 2010.

Tate, who last played in the NFL in 2020, will be the first former NFL player to play in the WCL.

“We’re all excited to see Golden wearing a Lefties uniform,” WCL commissioner Rob Neyer said. “Considering his ties to the Pacific Northwest and his tremendous NFL career, we know our fans will love watching him. And his teammates will certainly benefit from seeing how hard a world-class athlete works toward the same thing they’re all working toward: a professional baseball career.”

Added Lefties owner Matt Acker: “We’re looking forward to Golden joining the Lefties. Having an elite athlete around, one who’s competed on the world’s biggest sports stage, is special. His passion for this sport, plus his competitiveness, work ethic, humility, and desire will be contagious to our players and opponents. We see this as a unique opportunity for the Port Angeles Lefties, the West Coast League, and for Golden.”

Tate played four seasons with the Seahawks, the last being their 2013 Super Bowl-winning campaign, then 4 1/2 with Detroit, another half-season with Philadelphia, and two with the New York Giants. He had three seasons of 1,000 yards receiving or more with the Lions, including 2014 when he caught 99 passes for 1,331 yards – both career-high marks – on his way to a Pro Bowl selection.

The WCL is a summer showcase league for college baseball players similar to the Cape Cod League, with teams located throughout Washington, Oregon and western Canada. Among notable alumni of the league are Mariners players Mitch Haniger and Marco Gonzales, 2019 No. 1 overall MLB Draft pick Adley Rutschman, 2020 American League Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber, and retired former MLB All-Stars Jacoby Ellsbury and Chris Davis.

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