The odds of becoming a professional athlete are often stacked against aspiring talents. The odds of excelling at multiple sports against elite competition are astronomical. But do you know who is the only professional athlete in history to be named all-star in both baseball and football?
Bo Jackson is the only professional athlete in history to have been named an All-Star in baseball and football, and his inclusion in the Tecmo Bowl is actually cheating.
The Two-Sport All-Star, Bo Jackson
Others have included Jim Thorpe and Deion Sanders. Even now, nearly a decade after his last football game and six years after his last baseball game, many consider Bo Jackson, the man in multi-sport athletes.
He never played for a world champion, but Jackson was the first athlete to be named to the all-star games of two major sports. Not bad for a guy who won a Heisman Trophy and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1998 for a sport he described as a hobby.
Maybe in one of the sports. From the fall of 1987 to the winter of 1991, however, Bo was unrivaled among paid athletes who took less than two months off.
In eight seasons as an outfielder and designated hitter with the Kansas City Royals, Chicago White Sox, and California Angels, he hit.250 with 141 home runs and 415 RBI in 2,393 at-bats. He hit 107 home runs for the Royals while playing pro football from 1987 to 1990.
He ran for 2,782 yards on 515 carries, an impressive 5.4 average, and scored 18 touchdowns running and receiving as a part-time running back, making full-time money with the Los Angeles Raiders. He is the only player in NFL history to have two rushing touchdowns of 90 yards or more, with a 91-yarder coming in his fifth pro game when he ran for a Raiders record of 221 yards against Seattle.
His final Raiders play signaled the end of his football and baseball careers. Even though the 1991 injury required hip replacement surgery in April 1992, Jackson returned triumphantly to baseball before retiring for good. (Source: ESPN)
Why Did Bo Jackson Decide to Join Major League Baseball?
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Jackson first overall in the 1986 NFL Draft. But Jackson turned down their five-year, $7.6 million offer, which would have made him the NFL’s highest-paid rookie.
My first love is baseball, and it has always been a dream of mine to play in the major leagues.Bo Jackson, All-Star Athlete
Jackson, who hit 401 with 17 homers and 43 RBI in 42 games as a junior for Auburn, waited until the Royals selected him in the fourth round of the 1986 baseball draft before signing his first pro sports contract. Jackson made his major league debut on September 2, 1986, after only 53 games in the minors, and got an infield single off Steve Carlton in his first at-bat.
He wouldn’t be long before he moonlighted. Because he did not sign with the Buccaneers, his name was re-entered in the 1987 draft, and the Raiders selected him in the seventh round. In contrast to the Bucs, Raiders owner Al Davis supported Jackson’s baseball career. Jackson signed a four-year contract after Davis offered him full-time money to pursue part-time football work after each baseball season.
Jackson was a baseball all-star by 1989. His massive homer to center field off Rick Reuschel leading off for the American League earned him the All-Star Game MVP award. (Source: ESPN)
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