Sunday, February 19, 2012

DAHOF Top 100 -- #43 Rick Leach

One of my favorite sports trivia questions ever:
Q: Who caught the last touchdown ever thrown by Michigan QB Rick Leach?
A: Michigan State WR Kirk Gibson, in the 1979 College All-Star Hula Bowl.

Best remembered as a gifted dual-threat option college quarterback, Rick Leach was an "All American" in both football and baseball. He ranks as one of the best athletes in history of the University of Michigan.

Coached in football by the legendary Bo Schembechler, Leach was the first ever Michigan quarterback to start as a true freshman. He started every game but one during his four year Michigan football career. Three times he was named as the All-Big Ten quarterback and three times he led his Wolverines to the Rose Bowl as conference champions. As a senior he was voted the Big Ten's Most Valuable Player and placed third for the Heisman Trophy. He was also named MVP of the 1979 Rose Bowl. By the time he graduated, he held all Michigan's career passing, total offense and touchdown records. Additionally, he set the NCAA record for most touchdowns accounted for (82) and broke Big Ten records for total offense (6,460) total plays (1,034) and touchdown passes (48).

As a baseball player he was twice drafted by the Phillies, but chose not to sign to continue playing football. He led the Wolverines in hitting three seasons, and won the Big Ten batting title when hit .404 in 1978. He was selected in the first round by the Detroit Tigers in the 1979 amateur draft. Leach was also drafted in the NFL and the CFL, but he opted for a career in baseball. In a 10-year big league career, Leach played for the Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, and San Francisco Giants, mainly as a part-time outfielder and DH. His best season came in 1986, when he hit .309 in 110 games.


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