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J.T. Realmuto could have been a pro athlete in many sports, according to his former coaches

J.T. Realmuto has spent the last three seasons with the Phillies. (Cheryl Pursell)

When Oklahoma State wrestling coach John Smith went to his nephew J.T. Realmuto’s games growing up, he knew he was watching a future star.

Here’s the kicker, though: Smith rarely saw him play baseball. He believed the Philadelphia Phillies All-Star catcher would be a world-famous wrestler.

“If he would have chose wrestling, he would have been really good,” Smith said. “I think he would have wrestled at Oklahoma State someday. I think he would have been a national champion.”

Realmuto’s baseball superstardom started because of this choice. He was always an incredible baseball player –– probably the best in Oklahoma –– but he was also elite at three other sports: football, basketball and wrestling.

Realmuto was the starting quarterback, power forward and shortstop for Carl Albert High School in the late 2000s. During this time, he led both the football team and baseball team to state championships. According to his high school baseball coach, wrestling isn’t the only non-baseball sport Realmuto could have gone pro in. 

“He could have gone on to play Division I football if that was his desire,” former Carl Albert baseball coach Wayne Dozier said.

While basketball wasn’t his top sport, Dozier said Realmuto excelled purely because of his strength.

“In basketball, he’d be outmatched skill-wise, but he’d hold his own because of his physicality and athletic ability,” Dozier said.

J.T. Realmuto is a three-time All-Star. (Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire)

Ultimately Realmuto chose the sport he loved the most and set the most records in.

As a senior in 2010, he set the high school baseball record by recording 119 RBIs in 42 games played during one season. Like Smith, Dozier knew Realmuto would be a star the first minute he saw him play.

“The first moment we saw him, which was the summer after his eighth grade year, he fit right in with our really good team,” Dozier said. “His freshman year, he hit safely in like 22 straight games to begin his career, so we knew we had something special.”

Where did Realmuto get his athleticism from? His locally-famous family roots.

His father, David, played baseball at Southwest Missouri State and his two sisters, Ryan and Amanda, played softball for Oklahoma State and Northwestern State, respectively. Smith is also a legend in the wrestling community, winning five national championships during his time as OSU’s coach. 

Many of these family members are proud of what Realmuto has accomplished.

“He comes to Stillwater a few times a year. I see him often during the holidays. He’s a busy guy, but our family is so proud of him,” Smith said.


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