Tyler is a city of 100,000 people and the seat of Smith County in East Texas. Anyone dropping the name of Pat Mahomes in that area should be ready to answer the question: “Which one?”
Pat Mahomes is the sophomore quarterback for Texas Tech and its “Air Raid” offense. The Red Raiders have overwhelmed Sam Houston State and UTEP to be 2-0. Mahomes has totaled 786 passing yards and eight touchdowns before leaving early in the blowouts.
Mahomes played at Whitehouse High School and was voted by the Associated Press as Texas’ Player of the Year for the 2013 season. The passing numbers on his winning résumé were 3,587 yards with 41 touchdowns and four interceptions.
“I tell Pat all the time that if they had let me throw, I would’ve had numbers like that, too,’ ” his father said. “He says, ‘Keep telling yourself that, Dad.’ ”
His father is also Pat Mahomes, the righthanded pitcher who was in the big leagues for parts or all of 11 seasons. The first five of those (1992-96) were with the Twins.
The names are the same but the son goes by Patrick II and leaves Pat for his father. Pat lives in Tyler, gives pitching lessons and doesn’t miss a Tech football game.
What the Mahomes men have in common were tremendous abilities in three sports — football, basketball and baseball — and notoriety as high school athletes in East Texas. Pat went to Lindale, a Smith County rival to his son’s Whitehouse High.
Phil Hicks, sports editor at the Tyler Morning Telegraph, said: “Pat is a legend around here and his son is held in the same regard. Patrick was All-East Texas MVP in football and basketball. He led his team to second place in the Big League World Series [ages 15-18] in Bangor, Maine.
“He’s also fine young man and an excellent student.”
Patrick considered giving up football to concentrate on baseball and basketball after his sophomore year. He was persuaded to return to fire passes for Whitehouse. His last game was a 65-60 loss to Mesquite Poteet in the state playoffs.
That’s the kind of score that can get a quarterback ready for Texas Tech.
“Once he met [Tech coach] Kliff Kingsbury, the recruiting was pretty much over,” his father said. “He knew Kingsbury was the coach he wanted to play for.”
Or in this case, throw for.
Patrick took over as quarterback in the final weeks of 2014 as a true freshman. In the last three games vs. Oklahoma (L), Iowa State (W) and Baylor (L), he threw for 14 touchdowns and 1,319 yards, completing 80 of 141 passes with two interceptions.
Patrick is a larger replica of his father, at 6-foot-3 and 228 pounds. He also did something out of high school that his father could not resist: He said no to baseball.
Arizona called Patrick early in the draft. “The Diamondbacks asked if $1.6 million would get it done,” his father said. “He politely declined, the other teams backed off, and Patrick went to Tech to play football and baseball.”
A quarter-century earlier, Pat Mahomes was an all-state quarterback in 3A and running the veer for Lindale. He was a hard-hitting outfielder, then went to the mound one day and started throwing 93 miles per hour.
Yet, what he’s best recalled for in East Texas as a high school athlete is basketball.
“Pat was an amazing basketball player,” Hicks said. “He had several 50-point games and averaged over 35. He had a basketball scholarship to Arkansas when he was drafted by the Twins [in 1988].”
Mahomes was set to enter with the same Arkansas class that would have Lee Mayberry, Todd Day and Oliver Miller. The deal was, money was tight for the family back then, and Pat always saw himself as a baseball player.
He took the sixth-round signing bonus from the Twins: $47,500.
He made it to Minnesota as a 21-year-old starter in 1992, and the Twins were thinking phenom. “Man, Pat had good stuff,” said George Tsamis, briefly a teammate and now the Saints manager.
The phenom angle didn’t work out. He had a good career. And his oldest child, Patrick II, got an interesting godfather out of the deal.
“LaTroy Hawkins is Patrick’s godfather,” Mahomes said. “Good role model for Patrick. LaTroy has pitched for over 20 years in the big leagues because he did it the right way. I would get mad at things; LaTroy just keeps rolling along, throwing that fastball.”