Bo Jackson started his baseball career 28 years ago, so here's a look at his greatest plays
Twenty-eight years ago, Bo Jackson chose baseball over football ... or at least he chose baseball and football over just football. The 1985 Heisman Trophy winner signed a contract to play professional baseball for the Kansas City Royals on June 20, 1986. He donned a Royals cap and announced his decision the following day, joking, "I've had my share of football. Not to brag, but I've got my trophy."
Bo still had work to do on the gridiron but his baseball career provided plenty of its own highlights. Let's use this anniversary as an excuse to remember a few:
His 40-yard Dash in College - Bo was late for track practice, so he says he ran a 4.13 40 literally straight out of the gym.
His First HR - Jackson spent all of 53 games in the Royals system before getting the call to the bigs in September of 1987. He promptly announced his arrival with a 475-foot home run (see video above) that still stands as the record for longest homer at Kauffman Stadium. Oh, and he did it with someone else's bat.
Guns Out Barrett - Red Sox third baseman Wade Boggs singles to Jackson and Marty Barrett decides it's a good idea to test Bo's arm. *Dikembe Mutombo finger wag goes here*
"Watch His Leaping Ability" - In 1988, Jack "The Ripper" played his only full season with the Yankees. On July 10 of that year, Clark thought he had himself a home run ... until Jackson tracked it to the wall and offered a perfectly timed jump to pull it back.
It's Just One of Those Days - Jackson was known for breaking bats after strikeouts, sometimes over his knee and other times ... well ... you'll see. If breaking bats is cool, consider Bo Jackson Miles Davis.
The Throw - On June 5, 1989, pinch-hitter Scott Bradley doubled for the Seattle Mariners in the bottom of the 10th inning. With the speedy Harold Reynolds on first base, it was surely a walk-off hit for the M's ... until Bo Jackson fired a strike from the warning track to nail Reynolds at the plate. Still one of the greatest throws of the modern era.
ASG MVP - Bo's performance in the 1989 All-Star Game was nothing short of spectacular. He flashed the leather with a running grab in the gap in the top of the first inning and followed it up by going yard to lead-off the bottom of the frame. Later, he beat out a double play to drive in the eventual winning run and stole a base. Bo could do it all.
Bo Jackson, Ninja Warrior - Jackson and the Royals were playing the Orioles in 1990 when a deep fly ball sent Bo sprinting toward the wall. He made the catch running full speed, but instead of crashing into the wall and risking injury (see Harper, Bryce), Bo decided he'd just use his Ra's a Ghul training and run up the wall.
Three Home Runs in Five Innings - On July 17, 1990, Bo Jackson went 3-for-3 with three home runs and seven RBIs in the first five innings of a game at Yankee Stadium.
"There's a Pile of Bodies at the Plate" - As great as Bo was, his mortality is what helped give us this beauty from the archives. In Bo's three-HR game against the Yanks, Deion Sanders lines a ball to left-center just out of the reach of a completely horizontal Bo Jackson. Sanders rounds the bases for an inside-the-park home run in the most football-related play to ever happen in baseball, probably. Jackson left the game after the dive, erasing a shot at a fourth dinger.
The Mr. T Throw - Bo had to bow out of football early after a bad hip injury, but was able to return to baseball, where he played into the mid '90s with the White Sox and Angels. During his 1993 season with the Sox, Jackson was playing left field against the Brewers and threw a runner out at the plate while Mr. T was in the broadcast booth. Mr. T was more than a little impressed.