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Best available athlete

Rockies draft Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick

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Posted: Tuesday June 06, 2000 09:16 PM

  Michael Vick Michael Vick has until the first day of the fall semester to decide if he wants to take a shot at playing pro baseball. Matthew Stockman/Allsport

DENVER (AP) -- After he's done chasing the Heisman Trophy, the Colorado Rockies are hoping Michael Vick might want to chase down some fly balls.

Vick, the Virginia Tech quarterback who finished third in last year's Heisman Trophy voting, was Colorado's 30th round selection Tuesday in the second day of baseball's amateur draft.

Vick has not played organized baseball since about the eighth grade, but Rockies scouting director Bill Schmidt said his speed and athletic ability was too tempting to pass up in baseball's unpredictable talent search.

"When you can run like him, our feeling was he could cover some ground for us in the outfield," Schmidt said. "I didn't think it was a major investment at that point (30th pick). If it didn't work out, we could take a chance. Michael Jordan tried (baseball). Maybe he might want to make a run at it."

As a freshman last year, Vick threw for 1,840 yards and 12 touchdowns and ran for 585 yards and eight TDs in the regular season. He led No. 2 Virginia Tech to an improbable second-half comeback in the national title game against top-ranked Florida State before the Hokies fell to the Seminoles.

The Rockies have until the first day of the fall semester to sign Vick to a contract, and Schmidt said Colorado scouts hope to contact the sophomore-to-be in the next couple of days. The team had not talked to him before the draft.

"I imagine (Tuesday) was a surprise to him," Schmidt said.

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