Former New York State Governor Mario Cuomo played baseball in Queens as a youngster, and he was fast and powerful. Cuomo was an all-star at every level of play through high school, then moved on to St John’s University where he was one of the best players on the team. He was a bright and articulate student as well. Major league scouts were watching Cuomo, who played the game with great passion. Branch Rickey of the Pittsburgh Pirates offered him a signing bonus of $2,000. It was twice the signing bonus of the great Mickey Mantle. Cuomo had made a promise to his father that he would graduate from St. John’s. A promise that he kept. Cuomo began his pro baseball career, but knew that he probably would prefer becoming a public servant. He finally came to the decision to leave the playing field behind when he was hit in the head by a pitch. In those days, batters did not wear helmets. He later became Governor of New York state, but kept rooting for his favorite childhood team, the New York Yankees.