Jan 24, 2013, 2:40 PM EDT
This week’s event in CAA Football history is a more recent one and certainly serves as one that I remember fondly given that I’m a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan… and apologist. On January 20, 2011, Villanova WR Matt Szczur (pronounced like Julius Caesar, or Little Caesar’s for you pizza lovers) announced that he had reached an agreement with the Cubs under which he fully committed to baseball and thus shelved any potential professional football ambitions.
“I am very happy to have made my decision,” said Szczur. “The Cubs are a great organization and I am happy to be with them. My situation couldn’t be any better right now. I got to play two sports in college at a great academic school. I expect to receive my degree soon and now I get the chance to become a major league baseball player.”
“We’ve had the great fortune to get to know Matt the last seven-plus months and are excited by his decision to devote himself completely to baseball and the Cubs,” added then-Cubs General Manager Jim Hendry. “We’ve come to know Matt not only as a talented athlete but also as an exceptional person. He had a fantastic pro debut with us last summer and we look forward to supporting and fostering his continued development as a baseball player.”
A four-year football star and two-year baseball standout as a center fielder at Nova, Szczur was chosen by the Cubs in the fifth round of the 2010 draft and began playing in the organization under a minor league contract that summer. He would have a highly productive year on both sides of the ball, mostly playing for Single-A Boise before getting the call to Single-A Peoria to cap his rookie campaign.
Szczur then returned to campus for his fourth and final season with the Wildcats that fall, helping lead the team to the 2010 FCS Championship Semifinals. A versatile wide receiver and utility man of sorts, he was selected as the 2009 CAA Offensive Player of the Year and Special Team Player of the Year following the 2009 season, which was highlighted by Nova’s national championship title and the Erma, N.J., native being named the game’s MVP.
After committing to the Cubs in January 2011, Szczur continued to play under contract for the Cubs and forewent the Senior Bowl in order to report to Spring Training in February. He was most recently playing for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League this past fall.
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