If you are putting together a list of famous Michigan (the school and the state) athletes Rick Leach is certainly going to be on it. Born at the U of M hospital and raised in flint, Leach was the Michigan quarterback from 1975-78. He was the first true freshman QB in program history to start a season opener; Chad Henne and Tate Forcier are the only other two to earn that distinction. Under the direction of Bo Schembechler Leach would rewrite the Michigan record books. When he left he held almost every passing and total offense record at the school. Forty years later Leach still holds the NCAA record for highest percentage of passes for touchdowns.
So what does an All American, three time All Big Ten QB do in the offseason? Play baseball of course! Leach won a Big Ten batting title at Michigan and holds the elite distinction of being an All American in two sports. After graduating in 1979 Leach was drafted by both the Detroit Tigers (1st round) and the Denver Broncos (5th round). He had already been drafted by the Phillies in both 1975 and ’78, but opted not to sign. Leach did sign in 1979 with the Tigers and played parts of 10 MLB seasons from 1981 to ’90. Last week Real Sports on HBO aired a piece on Jim Harbaugh that mentioned his adoration of Leach growing up. Harbaugh does a great impression of Leach, who clearly shares his love of sweet potato sourdough loaves.