Notre Dame's record-setting receiver Jeff Samardzija chose to sign a 5-year deal with the Chicago Cubs organization instead of opting to play pro football. While I won't question his decision to choose baseball over football -- it's his decision to make -- I do wonder how long his name will ring a bell to us.
Don't think you'll see the former receiver pitching on television anytime soon. According to the ESPN article, he's got a good fastball, but what young pitching prospect doesn't? There was no mention of any other good pitches he has; however, that doesn't mean he can't develop them. The point is, he'll be spending a good year or two in the minors, probably starting with Single A, before getting called up, if he ever does.
Fans of the Fighting Irish will obviously remember Samardzija for a long time. However, how long will his name stick in our head, whether it's pronounced correctly or not? There are way too many teams to follow in college football, and as teams turn over their rosters season after season, there are so many good players that most seem to fade in our minds. The ones that make it as pros in the NFL will stick in our head because we have more than three or four years of exposure. The players on great college championship teams will stick in our heads for longer. Samardzija, with all his talent, is neither of these and outside South Bend, could easily be forgotten.
If Samardzija does turn out to be a beast of a pitcher and is called up within the next few years, thorough fans of both sports will remember the new pitcher as the record setting receiver from Notre Dame -- he holds the records for receiving yards and touchdowns in a season. However, with all the meaningless stats and facts that float around in baseball, that will be lost in the fray as well.
It's not Samardzija's job and it shouldn't be his priority to try to be remembered. I posed this question because it was interesting to look at how sports fans remember players. With so many players in all the sports, so many are forgotten. Now only time will tell if Jeff Samardzija will suffer that fate as well, or if he will be one of the few multi-sports players to really be remembered.